Thermalright IFX-14 CPU Cooler Review

Cooling/CPU Cooling by jmke @ 2008-02-11

CPU coolers keep growing in size, this monster from Thermalright is proof of that. The Inferno Fire eXtinguisher is a heatsink large enough to accommodate up to three 140mm fans! Furthermore it comes with a separate smaller heatsink which sole purpose is to keep the backside of the CPU socket cool. Will this powerhouse CPU cooler grab first spot in our performance charts? Time to find out!

  • prev
  • next

Test Setup and Fan Options

It’s all about the fans

The performance of the Thermalright IFX-14 will be decided on how much airflow you can provide to keep the large surface area of fins cooled down. While we did not test with a 140mm fan, we did mount different 120mm fans to gauge the performance of this huge heatsink.

We’re using a mid-sized ATX tower case from Antec, the Sonata 2 is by no means big, and the IFX-14 only fits with little room to spare:

Madshrimps (c)

Especially the smaller IFX-10 unit can provide compatibility issues depending on your case and PSU. While the IFX-10 can be fitted with a fan, we decided not to, there are not a lot of small fans which offer good airflow at low noise;

Preliminary performance tests were done with a high speed Delta fan, provided by Sidewinder Computers, a US based company.

Delta FFB1212VHE 120x38mm Very High Speed
Madshrimps (c)
151CFM – 3200RPM – 12V fan

We installed the Delta in two different locations:

Madshrimps (c)

And next:

Madshrimps (c)

We measured the maximum CPU temperature under load, with and without the case side panel installed; our findings did not show large a noticeable difference between the two fan locations. If you install the heatsink outside an ATX case you might get other results.

Test Setup and Competition

We build a S775 system with parts from, the CPU is one hot running Pentium 4 524, 3.06Ghz. It is mounted on a Swiss-army knife equivalent of motherboards: an Asrock 775Dual-VSTA.

Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)

The mounting system on S775 is quite straight forward and well thought out, 4 holes around the socket serve as mounting points for the push pins on the standard Intel cooler. Installation is a snap, and removal is very easy too.

Madshrimps (c)

With the stock cooling and at stock voltage the 3Ghz P4 was running stable at 3.68Ghz, quite a nice improvement from default speeds.

A Watt Meter recorded peak power consumption under heavy CPU load at 138W, which is less than our previous Athlon 64 setup which consumed up to 165W. The Asrock bios lacks CPU voltage manipulation, so at default voltage is seems this Prescott setup is more power friendly then the over-volted AMD system.

We’re using a compact Antec Sonata II mid tower case, swapped out the PSU for a passive model from FSP rated at 400W, the outside of the PSU case never went past 40°C during our stress tests,

Intel S775 Setup

Madshrimps (c)
CPU Pentium 4 524 @ 3628Mhz - 1.36v vcore
Mainboard Asrock 775Dual-VSTA
Memory 1 * 512Mb Mushkin PC3200 LVLII V2
  • Antec Sonata II with AcoustiFan DustPROOF 120mm @ 5v in the rear as outtake (mounted with soft-mounts)
  • ATI R9000 Passive Cooling
  • FSP ZEN 400W Passive Cooled PSU
  • Seagate 7200.8 200Gb HDD in Scythe Quiet Drive

  • in-take temperature was measured at 22°C for all tests, but temp fluctuations, different mounting and user error can account up to 1-3°C of inaccuracy in the obtained results. Please keep this in mind when looking at the results. Each heatsink was tested repeatedly; if we got questionable results the test was restarted.

    Madshrimps (c)
    example: dBA meter is placed right at the edge of the case - with side panel removed

  • Noise level of each HSF combo was recorded with SmartSensor SL4001A, the sensor was placed ~5cm away from the side of the case with panel removed. The lowest dBA reading in the test room was 36dBA! with system running without HSF fan.

  • System was stressed by running K7 CPU Burn for 30min (after Thermal Compound's burn-in); this application pushes the temperature higher than any other application or game we've yet encountered. Speedfan was used to log maximum obtained temperatures.
  • Arctic Silver kindly send us their “Lumière” thermal testing compound which has the same colour as Ceramique, but only a break in time of 30min!
  • Arctic Silver's ArctiClean was used to clean off thermal paste of the CPU and heatsink between tests

    Fans used for comparison

    To eliminate as much variables in the tests we test each heatsink with a "reference" fan if it can be mounted.

  • GlobalWin NCB 120x120x25mm fan with 41.7CFM rating.
  • Delta NFB0912L 92x92x25mm fan with 42CFM rating.
  • Delta FFB1212VHE 120x120x38mm with 151CFM rating.

    The Competition

    These are the heatsinks we have tested so far on this platform and will compare the IFX-14 to:

  • Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
  • Auras CTC-868
  • Auras GTO-990
  • Auras LPT-709
  • Coolermaster Vortex 752
  • Coolermaster Sphere
  • Coolermaster Hyper 212
  • Coolink Silentator
  • Coolermaster Eclipse
  • Coolermaster Hyper TX
  • Coolermaster GeminII
  • Coolermaster Mars
  • Evercool Buffalo
  • OCZ Vendetta
  • Rosewill RCX-Z5-Ultra
  • Rosewill RCX-Z775-EX
  • Scythe ANDY Samurai Master
  • Scythe Kama Cross
  • Scythe Katana 2
  • Scythe Ninja
  • Thermalright SI-128
  • Thermalright Ultra-120 A
  • Titan Amanda TEC
  • TTIC NPH-1000
  • Tuniq Tower 120
  • Ultra ChillTec Thermo Electric CPU Cooler
  • ZEROTherm BTF90
  • Zalman CNPS9700LED
  • Zalman CNPS8700

    and three Intel stock heatsinks:

  • Intel Reference Alu (included with older Pentium 4 S775 and Intel E2xxx)
  • Intel Reference Alu/Cu (included with Core 2 Duo models)
  • Intel Reference Alu/Cu Big (included with Core 2 Quad models)

    Onto the results ->
    • prev
    • next
    Comment from Rutar @ 2008/02/11
    A Q6600 at 1.6V above 3 Ghz would be bette to test, 138W isn't that much for todays quadcore standards. I like those passive results tought.
    Comment from geoffrey @ 2008/02/11
    Jmke has been using Prescott all the way, it's not easy repeating every test, again and again, whenever a new generation of CPU's hit your local retailer. The Prescott is off the older generation Prescott CPU's and does produce quite an amount of heat for heatsinks to deal with, heck the high differences in our chart. Why would you want to use 1,6V with your air cooled Q6600, do you really want that extra clock in favor of such high voltage?
    Comment from jmke @ 2008/02/11
    what's the TDP of Intel's highest end Quad Core?
    Comment from Rutar @ 2008/02/11
    Originally Posted by jmke View Post
    what's the TDP of Intel's highest end Quad Core?
    125W stock, Overclocked and overvoltet, a lot more is possible.
    Comment from jmke @ 2008/02/11
    125W for Q6600? the QX6750 scores lower? what about QX9750 and QX9770 ?
    Comment from Rutar @ 2008/02/11
    Originally Posted by jmke View Post
    125W for Q6600? the QX6750 scores lower? what about QX9750 and QX9770 ?

    Comment from Faiakes @ 2008/02/11
    But I think if one has the Ultra 120 Extreme there is no real need to upgrade to the IFX, is there?
    Comment from jmke @ 2008/02/11
    will be testing the Ultra-120 eXtreme soon, not sure if the IFX-14 is an upgrade
    Comment from Kougar @ 2008/02/12
    Argh, was thinking that was the Extreme in those results. Was a shocking difference between the regular and the Extreme versions, so I suspect the IFX-14 isn't going to last very long at the top of those results....