Dual tower coolers and self-contained liquid coolers seem to be the “me too!” items of the last couple of years. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with this, but too many of them have been just that; “me too” items that are exactly the same as what we have seen before, or simply inferior items trying to cash in on a fad. Few and far between are the items that actually make any technology or performance progress. The claims have been there for years, and many tried but, until the Phanteks PH-TC14PE, no one was able to match the performance of the vaunted Noctua NH-D14. The heart of the matter, however, is that the concept worked in the first place.
Self-contained liquid coolers have been a bit worse in the “me too” aspect. It seems that the same two coolers are running rampant in the market with different names stamped on the pump. Changing the name on the pump or adding an LED is certainly not going to give some type of innovative performance boost. Nor is it going to change the fact that serious overclocks push the self-contained liquid units to needing to move ungodly amounts of air to keep up, and that is going to bring with it ungodly amounts of noise. Manufacturers have tried to sell reduced noise as a benefit with these coolers but, truth be told, the loudest coolers I have ever tested were dual fan liquids. Mind you, it was the same cooler, just with a couple of different names on it. This has not been the case with dual tower coolers. Each new piece that has rolled onto my test bench, has been just that - a new and unique cooler.
The Frio Extreme is a dual tower CPU cooler that has some decidedly Thermaltake earmarks. The Thermaltake Frio Extreme builds off of Thermaltake’s basic fundamentals of excellent build quality and engineering, clean and attractive styling and offers up impressive cooling potential. With six 6mm heatpipes running through a plated copper base and up through two towers, it is obvious that the Frio Extreme means business in the cooling department. Two 140mm blue bladed fans provide a massive 106.2 cfm of air movement, while variable 1200-1800rpm speeds keep the noise levels down. Unlike most coolers, the fans utilized on the Frio Extreme are both VR and PWM capable, with an included remote for VR adjustment and switching modes. The Frio Extreme is naturally a larger cooler, but a height of 160mm assures that it will fit in almost any mid or full tower, while weight comes in at 1250g with both fans attached. Thermaltake’s excellent mounting kit is utilized for installation, with all of the necessary components for installation on LGA775/1155/1156/1366/2011, as well as AMD FM1 and AM2/3.