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Thermaltake CL-P0114 Big Typhoon Thermaltake Big Typhoon: Looking for an air cooler that can actually get the job done? If you have the space, you'll want to checkout the Big Typhoon.
Date: July 12, 2005
Provided By:
Written By:
Price:

Air cooling is something many enthusiasts are moving away from, especially with the latest Prescott CPUs from Intel. While you can still get decent cooling as well as overclocking results using air on AMD processors, the Prescott CPUs are simply too difficult to manage if you have any aspirations of overclocking them.

Water-cooling is another choice, but for some people, the budget and difficulty in setting up a liquid cooled system may not be worth their while. As for phase change, that may not even be an option as these kits are even harder to setup and as much as three times more expensive than water.

In between air and water, heat-pipes have become very popular in heatsink designs as they borrow some water-cooling principles, yet are no more difficult to install than traditional heatsinks. While in theory, heat-pipes should provide good cooling, as past experiences have shown, they aren't anything special when paired with a Prescott CPU. Will the we'll be looking at today change our opinion? Read on to find out.

Features
" Copper base with heat-pipe design
"
6 heat-pipes for better heat dissipation
"
High-density aluminum thin-fins with high surface area for superior heat dissipation
"
Quiet 120mm Cooling Fan only 16dBA!
"
Supports AMD K7 Socket A/462, K8 Socket 754/939/940, Intel P4 LGA775, Intel 478

The Thermaltake CL-P0114 Big Typhoon

We received the Thermaltake CL-P0114 Big Typhoon from our buds at in a large brown box, much larger than the boxes we typically get heatsinks in. Opening the box up revealed what could possibly be one of the largest heatsinks we've laid eyes on.

Measuring 122 x 122 x 103 mm and 813 grams for the heatsink alone, we had some problems with the installation into our Cooler Master Wave Master as the fan would not let the motherboard tray slide into the case. Removing the 120mm fan temporarily fixed this, but those of you with SFF PCs, or anything smaller than a midtower ATX case should forget about this cooler as it will probably not fit.

Why so big? The Big Typhoon requires a 120mm fan, and there are no screw holes for anything smaller. I suppose you can use a low profile 120mm fan, but considering Thermaltake includes one with the package, we see no need for replacing it. It performs quite well, rated 54.4 CFM at a mere 16dBA. In terms of stock heatsink fans, the fan included with the Big Typhoon is the quietest we've received recently.

There are a total of six heat pipes running from the base to the aluminum fins. The heatpipes are broken into two sets of three, each of them with a dedicated block of fins for cooling. This design (along with the small base) should allow ample clearance on most motherboards. We did not have any problems with our EPoX 925XE board with the Big Typhoon.

While the cooling fins are aluminum, the base is made of copper. It's not polished to a mirror shine, a feature I find overrated anyhow, but it is machined quite well and it's unlikely any lapping will be required to flatten it. The Big Typhoon includes instructions and parts for all of Intel's and AMD's CPUs post-2002.

Installation and Performance

We'll only be covering LGA775 installation as AMD installation mirrors Intel's the same way, with the exception of the different support brackets. The first thing you'll want to do is peel the tape off the pressure foam and stick it on the back of the board. This foam also serves to shield the main support bracket from shorting out the motherboard.

Place the support bracket on top of the foam and insert four screws through the bottom. As you can see in the middle image, there are four screws that need to be fastened by nuts (last image on right). This is where we had a lot of difficulty as we had two nuts that were out of spec. Installation of these last two nuts required a wrench and screwdriver and plenty of elbow grease. Hopefully Thermaltake's QA takes note of this, as this was far more difficult than it should have been.

Once that is done, place the heatsink retention plate over the base, thread it through the four screws and use four more nuts to secure it. Unfortunently, there's way to really know if the kit has ample force on the CPU as none of the nuts are pressure mounted, but we installed the nuts until they were thumb tight.

Ed. Note: In regards to compatibility, we got the following from a reader which some of you may want to take note of:

This cooler will not work with an Abit AV8 using the stock screws provided (they are too short). I found this out the hard way.

EPoX 925XE: Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz, 2 x 512MB Corsair TWINX DDR2, ASUS Extreme X800XT, 120GB SATA Seagate, Cooler Master Wave Master.

All tests were done with the Cooler Master Wave Master Case opened and stock 80mm fans configured at full speed. The comparison coolers will be the Cooler Master Hyper 48, the Cooler Master Vortex TX (both with their stock cooling), the stock Intel cooler, and the Koolance EXOS-Al (Mode 3). Arctic Silver 5 is the thermal compound used for all the coolers, and ambient room temperature was maintained at 23°C/74°F.

Prime95 was run for six hours, with Folding @ Home running in the background everyday for seven days to allow the thermal paste to even out. During the actual tests, we ran Prime95 run for 20 minutes, with Folding @ Home running in the background.

Intel Performance

Coolers
Idle
Load
Thermaltake Big Typhoon
38
52
Vortex TX
40
60
Hyper 48 w/Stock
39
58
Intel Stock
44
68
Koolance EXOS-Al (Full Speed)
36
51

All the coolers are major improvements over the stock Intel cooler, but the Big Typhoon's numbers are simply amazing. It wasn't enough to beat the Koolance, but we're seeing near water-cooling performance, and this was with the EXOS-Al running at full speed. Running the EXOS at mode 1 (the lowest setting) saw temperatures around 53°C, thus losing to the just as silent Big Typhoon.

Sadly, overclocking was not quite as good with the Big Typhoon as it was with the EXOS. The EXOS allowed us to kick our 3.73GHz CPU to 325FSB quite easily, whereas the Big Typhoon reached ~315FSB. This is still an improvement over the other coolers which barely reached 300FSB.

Final Words

It's been a long time since an air cooler has impressed us, and the Thermaltake Big Typhoon delivers in a big (no pun intended) way. We've seen massive coolers before, but in the past, not even the biggest coolers were able to power past the Koolance EXOS. While the EXOS still has the advantage at its highest speeds, the noise levels are much louder than the Big Typhoon which is near silent.

Being as big as it is has a few disadvantages. For one thing, the cooler will not fit in smaller cases. While it did fit in the Wave Master, it's likely any case that uses a slide-in removable motherboard will require the user to remove the Big Typhoon's fan prior to sliding the tray back in. Furthermore, for those of you who do not have removable motherboard trays, installing the heatsink with the motherboard installed (after installing the support bracket and screws) will be difficult, especially with the screws closest to the rear IO as getting to them won't be easy. Even if you install everything prior to putting the motherboard in (our recommended procedure), it will be tricky getting to a couple motherboard screws unless you have a thin screwdriver.

On the topic of installation, that is the only real issue we have with the Big Typhoon. Hopefully it was only with our sample, but a couple of the nuts provided were slightly out of spec, making installation more tedious than it should have been. Finally, the reason we only did Intel tests today is the foam insulation pad is a one shot deal. Once it's stuck on, it's not coming off without being torn. This can be a problem if you switch motherboards or CPU platforms. In hindsight, we suggest just placing this pad without the sticker so you can reuse it.

Pros: Great performer, universal installation, quiet.

Cons: Lot of elbow work needed for installation.

Bottom Line: Despite the installation problems, Thermaltake designed a helluva heatsink in the Big Typhoon. It does allow decent overclocking (best for an air cooler), includes everything you need for almost every CPU on the market, and runs damn near silent. The installation issues kept it from receiving our Editor's Choice award, but the Big Typhoon still comes in highly recommended.

If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.

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