Weight: 755g Size (without fan): 127 x 63 x 160mm (W x D x H) Warranty: 3 Years Supported Sockets: Intel: LGA775, LGA1156, LGA1366 (AMD Socket AM2/AM2+/AM3 via AMD Socket AM2/AM3 Bolt-Thru-Kit Rev. 2)
Reputations can be hard to live with, whether they be excessively negative or glowingly positive. So it is with Thermalright, with previous coolers from the company achieving legendary status – the Ultra 120 Extreme (dubbed the TRUE) CPU cooler has long dominated the world of enthusiast CPU cooling, which puts a fair bit of pressure on any update or replacement. While the Titan Fenrir has been taking some of the limelight lately, Thermalright is back for its crown with an update to the TRUE, dubbed the Venomous-X.
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Despite sounding like a new bad guy in G.I. Joe, (no, that was MASK - Ed), the Venomous-X isn’t too far away from the TRUE it hopes to replace, to the point where cynics could accuse the Venomous-X of being only a cosmetic refresh. The basic design of the heatsink is the same, packing in six nickel-plated copper heatpipes running the height of the formidable stack of fifty aluminium cooling fins. These heatpipes run between a copper base plate and an aluminium mounting block at the base of the cooler.
This thermal transfer point is the most crucial part of any CPU cooler, and we’re happy to report the Venomous-X possesses the same superb build quality we’ve come to expect from Thermalright. The heatpipes are soldered tightly into place against the nickel plated copper base plate and mount block above. With no visible gaps, we’re confident that Thermalright has acheived the maximum thermal efficiency. The base itself is also superbly finished, and while it at least appears to be extremely flat, Thermalright claims it’s actually slightly concave to help maximise thermal performance.
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One area where the Venomous-X does differ from the TRUE is its fin design. The flatter fins have more lateral cuts and pointed edges, supposedly to cause air turbulence and ensure that every part of the cooling stack gets airflow. You’ll need to provide your own fan, as the Venomous-X, like the original TRUE, doesn’t ship with one of its own.
The cooler does at least come with mounting wires, but these are as fiddly to use as ever. There are two sets of mounting wire, allowing you to use just one fan, or use two in a push-pull configuration for improved cooling.
By far the biggest difference between the TRUE and the Venomous-X is the new cooler’s mounting bracket, which has been completely redesigned. While on the face of things a new mounting mechanism might sound a bit mundane, a secure mount onto a CPU can be the difference between humdrum and world-beating cooling performance.
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The new bracket is still reliant on a backplate; a wise decision considering the cooler’s 775g weight, even before fans are added. The mount is now adjustable to suit LGA775, LGA1156 or LGA1366 motherboards. The backplate is then screwed into place by hand with chromed risers, before a top-side mounting plate is fitted (again, this single component fits all modern Intel sockets). The top-side mounting plate is then secured into place, again with thumb screws. There’s an excellent flash animation on Thermalright’s website which explains the process very well.
With the mounting bracket firmly in place, the cooler can then be installed in either vertically or horizontally via an adjustable tension plate, which is secured by two Phillips-head screws on either side. While the new mount should be commended for its universal approach, it’s a little over-complicated and the profusion of headless thumbscrews means that achieving a tight and firm fit is tricky. We’d have preferred to have a screw head on these thumbscrews to tighten them. Then again, the Titan Fenrir largely use haedless thumbscrews for its bracket too, so hopefully this won't be a problem.