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Maximum PC Staff

Nov 11, 2008

Thermalright IFX-14

At A Glance

Colossus

Wonderful cooling performance; unique rear cooler for the motherboard.

the blob

Gigantic, difficult to install, no fans included.

Installing Thermalright’s beefy IFX-14 CPU cooler is incredibly complex. Assembling the troublesome amalgam of parts, pieces, screws, and brackets made us long for the snap-lock mechanism of standard Intel coolers. That said, the IFX-14 delivers massive cooling when it’s up and running. But there’s a caveat: It doesn’t include any fans. Thus, its performance depends on the type of fan you attach to one or two sides of the device. Our benchmarks are based on the use of two generic 12cm fans we pulled from a box in the Lab.

Installing Thermalright’s beefy IFX-14 CPU cooler is incredibly complex. Assembling the troublesome amalgam of parts, pieces, screws, and brackets made us long for the snap-lock mechanism of standard Intel coolers. That said, the IFX-14 delivers massive cooling when it’s up and running. But there’s a caveat: It doesn’t include any fans. Thus, its performance depends on the type of fan you attach to one or two sides of the device. Our benchmarks are based on the use of two generic 12cm fans we pulled from a box in the Lab.


You’ll want to plan out the cooler’s (and your motherboard’s) installation before you actually attach the IFX-14, as it can block a good chunk of your motherboard’s cabling routes and standoff holes.

Even getting two fans to work with the IFX-14 can be troublesome. This cooler’s immense size—two towers of heatsink fins connected to four 0.8cm heat pipes—caused the device to push right against our RAM, making it difficult to attach the fan-mounting clips. The IFX-14 also nudged up against the north bridge on our EVGA 680i motherboard. This forced us to rest a southern cooling fan in the split between the cooler’s heat pipes. It’s hardly an ideal location, as we were unable to secure the fan to either of the cooler’s fins.

The IFX-14’s cooling performance is better than our champion’s, Thermaltake’s DuOrb, by a few degrees in both our idle and burn tests. But the cooler’s usability issues make us long to trade in these degrees for a more painless installation process—or one that doesn’t constrain our case options. For example, if you incorporate the IFX-14’s optional back-side heat-pipe cooler into your installation, you won’t be able to use a top-mounted power supply. There’s simply not enough room.  Likewise, we made the mistake of screwing the cooler into place before testing how its size would affect our motherboard installation. The cooler blocked two standoff screws and taxed our ability to connect power supply cables.

Bigger is often better in the world of CPU cooling, but the IFX-14 pushes the limit too far.

Benchmarks

IFX-14
(no fans)
IFX-14
(two fans)
Thermaltake DuOrb Stock Cooler
Idle (C) 51.3 29.8 
31.0  41.8
100% Burn (C) 96.0 
44.0 49.5 69.3
Best scores are bolded. Idle temperatures were measured after an hour of inactivity; load temperatures were measured after an hour’s worth of CPU Burn-In (four instances). Test system consists of a stock-clock Q6700 processor on an EVGA 680i motherboard.
THE VERDICT

Thermalright IFX-14

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