Asus Triton 75 CPU Cooler

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Asus makes not only motherboards and laptops, but also… just about every type of consumer IT product. They have a couple dozen heatsinks in their thermal solutions range; the Triton 75 is the first Asus heatsink to survive SPCR’s torture chamber.

Dec 17, 2007 by Mike Chin

Product
Asus Triton 75
Socket 775 / K8 / AM2 CPU Heatsink
Manufacturer
Market Price
$32~40 in the US

Asus has become one of the biggest companies in the computer industry, a fact that gained some widspead exposure when it recently entered the Fortune 500 list for the first time. The company offers just about every type of computer product, from tiny handheld multifunction phone/GPS/computing devices to massive server boards. It’s not clear that Asus actually makes all the products that bears its brand; it’s likely many products are made for them by OEMs. No matter.

Not long ago, Asus began offering heatsinks for DIY enthusiasts. Their thermal solutions range is quite large, with over two dozen models listed on their web sites. The Triton 75 is the first Asus cooling product to be tested by SPCR.

Our Triton 75 sample came in a sturdy retail box with full color graphics notable for its lack of plastic, which is laudable, environmentally. The heatsink is billed as a fanless design and comes without a fan; this is a surprise for a mainstream brand with a reputation for overclocking friendliness in its motherboards.


No plastic at all used in the packaging.



Contents: Installation sheet, heatsink, and mounting hardware.

Just the quickest of glances shows that the Triton 75 is no innovative leap in electronic cooling design. It bears a striking resemblance to… any number of other designs that have been around for some time. (More on this later.) It’s quite a big heatsink, although there are so many huge models these days, that the Triton 75’s size doesn’t impress as it once might have.

The "manual" unfolds into a big sheet of well-illustrated instructions printed on both sides in 14 languages, which makes it obvious that Asus intends worldwide distribution. The drawing below from the instruction sheet shows all the parts.



Simple, secure lever clip for AMD CPUs; the usual nasty push-pins for Intel socket 775 CPUs.

Triton 75: Feature
Highlights
(from the product web page)
Feature & Brief Our Comment
Mutiple Application
Supports processors for Intel LGA 775 socket and AMD processors for 939/940/AM2 socket.
Wide
compatibility looks likely, given the design.
Fan-less Design to Satisfy All Your Requirements & DIY Fun
ASUS´ first fan-less designed model is compatible with all 12 cm fans. Gamers can choose any 12cm fan freely to satisfy their requirements and enjoy DIY fun.
*Recommend fan size: 120x120x25mm
*Recommend air flow : >45CFM
The wording suggests strongly that it is not meant for fanless use; it’s not supplied with a fan so the user can choose his/her own. The recommended >45CFM airflow is a dead giveaway.
Fast Heat Transfer
The copper base, fins and four copper heatpipes can efficiently transfer the heat to maintain temperature for high-performance computing and stable operation.
We’ll see; this is what our review will be checking.
Easy Installation
Innovation in assembly with push pins and clip makes fastening easier than ever for both Intel and AMD users. No need to remove motherboard.
"Innovation in assembly"… with Intel’s stock heatsink pushpins?! That’s funny. No need to remove motherboard is good.
Lightweight
Only 395g, less stress on MB
Lighter is good, but contradicts 350g in specifications.
Triton 75:
Specifications
(from the product web page)
Dimensions 137 (L) x 120 (W) x 90 (H) mm
Fan
Dimensions
120 x 120
x 38mm (L x B x H)
Heatsink Material Cu. Base + Al. Fins + 4 Heat Pipes
Weight 350 g
CPU Support *Intel Core 2 Extreme / Core 2 Quad
*Intel Core 2 Duo / Pentium Extreme / Pentium 4 / Pentium D / Celeron D
*AMD 64 FX / 64 X2 / 64 Sempron


PHYSICAL DETAILS

The photos below show that the Triton 75 is a straightforward design that combines a minimalist base, copper heatpipes that loop in a C-profile into many thin, large aluminum fins. It strongly resembles various Thermalright designs (SI-128 and SI-120) which have been emulated by many others (Spire Fourier IV and Thermaltake Big Typhoon, to name a couple). You could say the Triton 75 is in good company, as most of those designs have been good performers.


Sown here with secure, user-friendly clip with locking lever for AMD processor sockets.


Fin spacing is about 2.5mm, which is good for effective cooling with low airflow.


Note the even spacing of the four heatpipes and the odd "claw" at the bottom of each corner.

The image below shows the push-pins for the 775 socket installed on the base. There are two push-pins on each of two steel bars that attach via screws. It’s the metal bars that are threaded, and they are quite thin, so you need to take care not to overtighten, as the threads are probably easy to strip.


Set up for socket 775 of our heatsink test platform. Note claws again.


The copper bases is flat, but has fine machining grooves that can be seen and felt; nothing that TIM won’t fill. Note yet again, the claws… or are they fangs?

INSTALLATION

The push-to-lock pins employed for this heatsink were designed originally by Intel for use on their stock heatsink, whose dimensions remain inside the perimeter set by the pins. This means the pins are easily accessible from the top on almost any motherboard. Not so if the pins are used with heatsinks that have fins extending over the pins. The Asus Triton 75 is such a design, as all the photos have clearly shown. You have to reach under the fins to get to the pins.


Locking pins were made originally for this heatsink design.

It was not until this phase of the testing that the fangs or claws mentioned on the previous page were noticed. What function could that little protrusion from the fins in each corner possibly serve? Certainly the effect on cooling with the extra bit of fin surface would be utterly trivial, so better thermal performance is not the goal. No, we can verify without a doubt that the sole intended function of those fangs or claws are to draw blood from the fingers or hand of the DIY enthusiast whose satisfaction will surely increase from doing battle with the Triton 75… especially the fangs closest to the heatpipes where they emerge from the base. The result of our bloody battle is shown below, with the heatsink securely mounted on the heatsink testing platform.


Installed on standard test motherboard.

Clearance around the CPU socket is not an issue; the bulk of the heatsink sits
well above the motherboard. The overall size of the fins could be an issue, however, depending on the layout of your motherboard. On ours, the CPU socket is very close to the "top" edge of the board. With the Triton 75 mounted as shown, the fins hung over the the "top" edge by at least an inch. This would interfere with the power supply on that side in most cases.

There was no way we were going to do any load testing without a fan, so our reference fan was installed using the provided wire clips, which are easy to use.
Because they go over the thickness of a 25mm fan, whether the fan has closed or open corner flanges is not a concern.


Ready for testing.

TESTING

Testing was done according to our
unique heatsink testing methodology
. A
quick summary of the components, tools, and procedures follows below.

Key Components in Heatsink Test Platform:

  • Intel Pentium D 950
    Presler core. Under our test load, it draws 78W, which includes the efficiency losses
    in the VRMs.
  • ASUS P5LD2-VM
    motherboard. A microATX board with integrated graphics and plenty
    of room around the CPU socket.
  • Hitachi
    Deskstar 7K80
    80GB SATA hard drive.
  • 1 GB stick of Corsair XMS2
    DDR2 memory.
  • FSP
    Zen
    300W fanless power supply.
  • Arctic Silver
    Lumière
    : Special fast-curing thermal interface material,
    designed specifically for test labs.
  • Nexus 120 fan (part of our standard testing methodology; used when possible with heatsinks that fit 120x25mm fans)
Nexus 120 Noise and Airflow Characteristics
Voltage
Noise (SPL)
RPM
CFM
12V
22 dBA@1m
1080 RPM
47 CFM
9V
~19 dBA@1m
850 RPM
35 CFM
7V
<19 dBA@1m
680 RPM
27 CFM
5V
<19 dBA@1m
490 RPM
16 CFM

Test Tools

  • Seasonic Power Angel
    for measuring AC power at the wall to ensure that the heat output
    remains consistent.
  • Custom-built, four-channel variable-speed fan
    controller
    , used to regulate the fan speed during the test.
  • Bruel & Kjaer (B&K) model 2203
    Sound Level Meter
    . Used to accurately measure noise down to
    20 dBA and below.
  • Various other tools for testing fans, as documented in our
    standard fan testing methodology
    .

Software Tools

  • SpeedFan
    4.33
    , used to monitor the on-chip thermal sensor. This sensor is not
    calibrated, so results are not universally applicable, but they should be
    comparable with the other tests we’ve done on this test bed. The current test
    system was put into service in January 2007.
  • CPUBurn P6,
    used to stress the CPU heavily, generating more heat that most
    realistic loads. Two instances are used to ensure that both cores are
    stressed.
  • Throttlewatch 2.01,
    used to monitor the throttling feature of the CPU to determine when
    overheating occurs.

Load testing was accomplished using CPUBurn to stress the processor, and the
graph function in SpeedFan was used to make sure that the load temperature was
stable for at least ten minutes. Every fan was tested at four voltages: 5V,
7V, 9V, and 12V, representing a full cross-section of the fan’s airflow and
noise performance. The fan speed control cable was not used, but its performance
is equivalent to the 9V level of our test.

The ambient conditions during testing were 18 dBA and 20°C.

TEST RESULTS

Asus Triton 75 w/ reference 120x25mm fan
Fan Voltage
Temp
°C Rise
°C/W
Noise (SPL)
12V
38°C
18
0.24
22 dBA@1m
9V
40°C
20
0.27
~19 dBA@1m
7V
43°C
23
0.31
<19 dBA@1m
5V
50°C
30
0.40
<19 dBA@1m
Load Temp: CPUBurn
for ~20 mins.
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (21°C) at load.
°C/W: Temperature rise over ambient per Watt
of CPU heat, based on the heat dissipated by the CPU
(measured 78W).
Noise: SPL measured in dBA@1m distance with
high accuracy B & K SLM

The results were excellent. The performance was good enough to compare against some serious heatsinks that we’ve tested and highly recommended.

Asus Triton vs Competitors w/ same reference fan (°C Rise)
Fan Voltage/Noise
Asus Triton 75
Thermalright SI-128
Scythe Andy
Scythe Ninja
Thermalright Ultra-120
12V / 22 dBA
18
21
16
14
15
9V / 20 dBA
20
26
20
16
17
7V / <19 dBA
23
29
24
17
21
5V / <19 dBA
30
34
29
21
26

The Asus isn’t embarrased by any of these high performance, low-airflow, cooling champs. It substantially outperforms the SI-128, which it’s closest to in design. Especially at the very low airflow level of the reference fan at 7V, only the Ninja beats it by any significant margin.

For the record, the fan was removed while the CPU load program was still running. (We lied about never testing this cooler fanlessly.) The CPU temperature reached 88°C in 10 minutes, at which point the test was stopped. Our earlier comment, that this heatsink is not suitable for passive cooling, holds.

On the flip side, a Scythe Ultra Kaze 120x38mm fan rated for 133 CFM at 3,000 RPM was also tried. The SPL measured a whopping 48 dBA@1m, and the temperature rise was held to just +12°C.

NOISE RECORDINGS IN MP3 FORMAT

  • Reference 120mm fan (not tested): 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between
    levels
    : One Meter,
    One Foot

The reference fan was not re-recorded on the Asus Triton 75, because the recording above (made with the fan just blowing into free air) is very close to that of its sound while mounted on the Triton 75. If there is any audible difference, it would be at the 12V full speed level, where a touch more turbulence might be heard. But inside a case, this difference would not be audible.

Comparatives:

  • Scythe Infinity: 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels:
    One Meter, One
    Foot
  • Zalman CNPS8700 LED: 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels:

    One Meter

  • Scythe Mine w/ stock fan: 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels:
    One Meter, One
    Foot
  • Thermaltake Big Typhoon: 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels:
    One Meter, One
    Foot
HOW TO LISTEN &
COMPARE

These
recordings were
made with a high resolution, studio quality, digital recording system
and are intended to represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during
the review. Two recordings of each noise level were made, one from a
distance of one meter, and
another from one foot away.

The
one meter recording
is intended to give you an idea of how the subject of this review sound
in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a
computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains
stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative
loudness of the subject. For best results, set your volume control so
that the ambient noise is just barely audible. Be aware that very quiet
subjects may not be audible — if we couldn’t hear it from one meter,
chances are we couldn’t record it either!

The
one foot recording is
designed to bring out the fine details of the noise. Use this recording
with caution! Although more detailed, it may not represent how the
subject sounds in actual use. It is best to listen to this recording
after you have listened to the one meter recording.

More
details about how we make these recordings can be found in our short
article: Audio Recording Methods Revised.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS

If we awarded prizes for innovations in design, this Asus would not even get near the podium, but the proof of a heatsink is in the cooling. The Triton 75 is an excellent heatsink, offering great cooling performance with either low or high airflow fan settings. The Triton 75 can run within a few degrees of the coolest, baddest coolers around despite its low weight (whether it’s 398g or 350g, it’s lighter than most high performance CPU coolers). Leaving the choice of fan up to the user is a great idea that’s been long practised by Thermalright. It works well here, because the Triton 75 is equally at home in an overclocked extreme gaming rig or in a super quiet SPCR-ideal system, and the only difference would be the fan chosen (and the speed at which it’s run). The downward flow of the fan is a benefit to cooling of the VRM on most motherboards.


The "fangs" and the stock Intel locking pins for socket 775 mounting are annoying, but now that you’re warned, you can take care to avoid injury. With some motherboards (like the test platform board), the heatsink fins might extend too far over the edge of the board and interfere with the power supply on that side. Aside from those cautions, the only other downside to this cooler is that it’s not that widely distributed right now, at least not in the US and Canada.

The pricing of ~$35 in the US is quite good, especially if you already have a fan (or a collection of them) to go on the Triton 75. With so many motherboards now supporting some kind of fan speed controller, it should be easy to get a quiet operation with this cooler, and never worry again about overheating your CPU.

Pros

* AMD mounting clip is easy and secure
* Excellent performance even with very low airflow
* Low weight means less stress on the motherboard

* Downward fan airflow helps cool the VRM
Cons
* Stock Intel pins for socket 775 mounting
* Sharp corners of fins interferes with installation
* May not fit if CPU socket is close to edge of mainboard

Much thanks to Asus
for the Triton 75 sample.

* * *

Articles of Related Interest

Recommended
Heatsinks

SPCR’s
Unique Heatsink Testing Methodology

Thermaltake
Big Typhoon Heatsink / Fan

Thermalright SI-128
Zalman CNPS8700 LED
CPU Cooler: Update of a Classic
Scythe Andy Master

* * *

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