Asus Triton 81

Manufacturer: Asus
UK Price (as reviewed): £45.99 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $60.60 (ex. Tax)

Weight: 695g
Size (with fan): 120.5(W)x 117.6(D)x144.7(H)
Fan Speed: 800 – 2,500 RPM
Stated Noise Level: 18 dB(A)
Warranty: Two Year Standard Warranty
Supported Sockets: Intel LGA 1366, LGA775, AMD 754, 939, 940, AM2

While Asus might be one of the biggest hardware manufacturers in the world, it hasn’t always delivered when it comes to aftermarket CPU coolers, with coolers often compromising on noise levels to deliver improved cooling and vice versa. Let’s hope the Triton 81, the first LGA 1366 compatible heatsink from the Taiwanese giant, is better equipped to handle Intel’s toasty Core i7 CPUs without too many concessions.

LGA 1366 CPU Cooler Group Test Asus Triton 81 LGA 1366 CPU Cooler Group Test Asus Triton 81
Click to enlarge

The Triton 81, unlike the Nero, uses a more conventional contact system, with a moulded block used as the thermal interface with the CPU. Through this block run a healthy four separate U shaped bi-directional, nickel coated, copper heat-pipes, taking heat away from the cooler's base and out to the cooling fins for dissipation. In a rather nice touch, Asus has chosen to cap the end of the heat-pipes that emerge from the top of the stack of cooling fins with rounded ends – while this doesn’t improve performance, it does lend a feeling of polish.

However, we can’t help but wonder why the Triton 81’s nickel coated copper base has such a small surface for transferring heat. In comparison to the other LGA 1366 coolers we’re testing today, it’s teeny and looks to have been designed for LGA 775 CPUs rather than LGA 1366. It’s not able to cover the full surface of a Core i7 processor by any means, and means thermal performance will likely suffer as a result.

LGA 1366 CPU Cooler Group Test Asus Triton 81 LGA 1366 CPU Cooler Group Test Asus Triton 81
Click to enlarge

The four heat-pipes run through the cooler’s central tightly packed stack of aluminium X-shaped cooling fins. While the fin design might seem odd, the logic behind it is clear, with air given the opportunity to circulate from all four sides of the cooler. Placed on either side of the stack is a blue LED lit 92mm cooling fan, fitted into a removal metal housing creating a push/pull effect through the fin stack, maximising cooling performance. It seems a little strange that Asus has chosen to opt for 92mm fans rather than the usual 120mm variety used on high end coolers though and the fan mountings, while secured by screws to the fin stack, aren’t secured at the bottom and can rattle a little.

LGA 1366 CPU Cooler Group Test Asus Triton 81 LGA 1366 CPU Cooler Group Test Asus Triton 81
Click to enlarge

Nevertheless, the visual effect is a positive one, and we’d argue that the Triton 81 is the best looking cooler on test, especially when powered up and subtly lit by the blue LEDs – it really does look great inside an assembled system.

Sadly the same can’t be said for the noise levels produced by the twin cooling fans, which have been neatly wired together into a single 4-pin PWM fan connector. At full speed the Triton 81 is unbelievably noisy – more so than any cooler we’ve tested in the last year, and is comfortably louder than the LGA 1366 stock cooler at full speed too. This is not what you’d expect for close to £45, which even for a premium cooler is pretty pricey, especially one that lacks extras like a fan controller or voltage step down cables.

So How is it to Mount?

Not good. While it uses the same standard push pin mounting system as the Nero, the Triton 81’s larger girth and fixed fans means getting your fingers beneath the cooler inside an assembled system is very tricky, even more so when there are PWM and Northbridge coolers to contend with. While we did manage to fit the cooler without removing the motherboard from the chassis, we had to use a flat head screw driver to reach underneath the cooler to secure it.
Discuss this in the forums