overview combine thumb LGA1366 FAN tastic

Are the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme and the Asus Triton 81 cool enough for Intel’s latest Core i7 (LGA1366) processors? Will overclocking take its toll on these two heatpipe designs? Chill and read our comparison review.


The introduction of Core i7 and the X58 chipset has seen the transition to a new socket – the LGA1366. The older LGA775 will soon take a back seat like the many others before; Socket 478, Socket 423 and Socket 370. Each new socket brings a new generation of coolers.

socket closeup LGA1366 FAN tastic

The pin count of the new socket is much higher, standing at 1366 pins. Because of the increased pin count, a side effect is that it prevents people from mistakenly or accidentally using older incompatible Core 2 CPUs.

The primary reason for this switch, however, is due to the introduction of the QuickPath Interconnect (QPI), which not only carries data from other parts of the system (e.g. PCI-Express, NIC) but also transfers triple-channel DDR memory data between the CPU and the memory. In order for this progression in technology a radical change was required because the older LGA775 would not have been able to accommodate this new path.

The new socket features a metal backplate by default, whereas LGA775 did not. Intel appears to be anticipating hotter processors in the future and thus heavier heatsinks, which would explain the appearance of the backplate even though the Thermal Design Power (TDP) of the current Core i7 models is similar to that of Core 2 Extreme CPUs. (Editors Note: I believe enough users saw motherboard warping with the LGA775 and the super big heatsinks being used and that is probably one of the reasons why a backplate was introduced by default.)

Manufacturers of CPU cooling systems are no doubt rubbing their hands in glee at this change as well, and have wasted no time in bringing new solutions to the market that support this new socket. We got our hands on two LGA1366 heatsinks, in addition to the default Intel heatsink and went to work testing with our itchy fingers.

On a side note, Intel isn’t necessarily going to be using the LGA1366 on all its CPUs in the near future. We’re hearing rumors of a LGA1156 socket destined for mainstream and value processors, but it’s still not known whether the mounting system for that will be compatible with LGA1366’s.

Back on topic however, the Asus Triton 81 is targeted at casual overclockers, whereas the Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme 1366 RT is quite obviously (“Oh my gawd, it’s so BIG”) intended for those who want the best temperatures without having to mess with more advanced forms of cooling.

Even though the default cooler is sufficient for operation at stock settings, many will certainly want to push their brand new Core i7 further. How much more will these aftermarket coolers enable you to overclock? Read on to see our findings.

overview combine LGA1366 FAN tastic