[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The Spire TME III is a CPU cooler with a tower heatsink, five 8 mm copper heatpipes and two 120 mm fans. Let’s see if it is a good cooler.

The TME III is a new version of the Spire TherMax Eclipse II, which was an improved version of the original TherMax Eclipse, which performed poorly in our tests. We have no idea why Spire didn’t name this cooler “TherMax Eclipse III,” preferring the abbreviation instead.

The box of the TME III is shown in Figure 1.

Spire TME IIIFigure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the cooler itself with one fan installed, a second fan, a syringe of thermal compound, manual, and installation hardware.

Spire TME IIIFigure 2: Accessories

Figure 3 displays the Spire TME III.

Spire TME IIIFigure 3: The Spire TME III

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

[nextpage title=”The Spire TME III”]

Figure 4 illustrates the front of the cooler, which is covered by the 120 mm fan. Notice the small auxiliary heatsink over the base, which was also present on older versions of the product.

Spire TME IIIFigure 4: Front view

Figure 5 reveals the side of the cooler. The fins are folded, creating a closed surface.

Spire TME IIIFigure 5: Side view

Figure 6 shows the rear of the cooler, where the second fan goes.

Spire TME IIIFigure 6: Rear view

In Figure 7, you can see the top of the cooler, where the tips of the heatpipes are visible. Please notice that the fins are not plain, but have some kind of rugosity.

Spire TME IIIFigure 7: Top view

[nextpage title=”The Spire TME III (Cont’d)”]

Figure 8 illustrates the base of the cooler. The heatpipes touch the CPU directly, and there is a gap between them. The surface has no mirrored finishing.

Spire TME IIIFigure 8: Base

Figure 9 reveals the TME III without the front fan. The fans are held in place by four rubber pieces.

Spire TME IIIFigure 9: Without the fan

Figure 10 shows the 120 mm PWM fans that come with the TME III. The fans have extremely short wires, but the cooler comes with two extensions to connect them to the motherboard.

Spire TME IIIFigure 10: Fan

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

Figure 11 shows the backplate of the TME III, with the screws and nuts installed on the adequate holes for socket LGA1155 installation. Four plastic washers prevent the nuts from damaging the motherboard.

Spire TME IIIFigure 11: Backplate

In order to install the TME III, you need to put the backplate on the solder side of the motherboard, and then install the cooler in place, securing it with four thumbnuts.

Spire TME IIIFigure 12: Heatsink installed

After that, install the fans, as shown in Figure 13.

Spire TME IIIFigure 13: Cooler installed

Removing the cooler and observing the thermal compound “fingerprint,” we could be sure of a problem we noticed: the base of the cooler is far larger than the surface of our CPU, so only the three central heatpipes actually touch the processor. The heatpipes on the edges simply don’t pick up heat directly from the CPU.

Spire TME IIIFigure 14: CPU “fingerprint”

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)

We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that come
s with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.

During the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit SP1

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.

[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Speed Core Temp. Temp. Diff.
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 18 °C 50 dBA 2850 rpm 69 °C 51 °C
Corsair A70 23 °C 51 dBA 2000 rpm 66 °C 43 °C
Corsair H100 26 °C 62 dBA 2000 rpm 64 °C 38 °C
EVGA Superclock 26 °C 57 dBA 2550 rpm 67 °C 41 °C
NZXT HAVIK 140 20 °C 46 dBA 1250 rpm 65 °C 45 °C
Thermalright True Spirit 120 26 °C 42 dBA 1500 rpm 82 °C 56 °C
Zalman CNPS12X 26 °C 43 dBA 1200 rpm 71 °C 45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max 20 °C 51 dBA 1700 rpm 62 °C 42 °C
Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition 22 °C 50 dBA 2400 rpm 65 °C 43 °C
SilenX EFZ-120HA5 18 °C 44 dBA 1500 rpm 70 °C 52 °C
Noctua NH-L12 20 °C 44 dBA 1450 rpm 70 °C 50 °C
Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme 21 °C 53 dBA 2550 rpm 71 °C 50 °C
Gamer Storm Assassin 15 °C 48 dBA 1450 rpm 58 °C 43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 400 15 °C 44 dBA 1500 rpm 60 °C 45 °C
Cooler Master TPC 812 23 °C 51 dBA 2350 rpm 66 °C 43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 300 18 °C 43 dBA 1650 rpm 74 °C

56 °C
Intel stock cooler 18 °C 41 dBA 2000 rpm 97 °C 79 °C
Xigmatek Praeton 19 °C 52 dBA 2900 rpm 83 °C 64 °C
Noctua NH-U12P SE2 18 °C 42 dBA 1300 rpm 69 °C 51 °C
Deepcool Frostwin 24 °C 46 dBA 1650 rpm 78 °C 54 °C
Thermaltake Frio Advanced 13 °C 56 dBA 2000 rpm 62 °C 49 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition 9 °C 48 dBA 2100 rpm 53 °C 44 °C
Thermaltake Frio Extreme 21 °C 53 dBA 1750 rpm 59 °C 38 °C
Noctua NH-U9B SE2 12 °C 44 dBA 1700 rpm 64 °C 52 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro 15 °C 54 dBA 2000 rpm 52 °C 37 °C
Deepcool Fiend Shark 18 °C 45 dBA 1500 rpm 74 °C 56 °C
Arctic Freezer i30 13 °C 42 dBA 1350 rpm 63 °C 50 °C
Spire TME III 8 °C 46 dBA 1700 rpm 70 °C 62 °C

In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.


In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.


[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the Spire TME III CPU cooler include:

  • Application: Sockets 775, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, AM2(+), AM3(+), and FM1 processors
  • Dimensions: 2.8 x 5.2 x 6.0 inches (70 x 131 x 152 mm) (W x L x H)
  • Fins: Aluminum
  • Base: Direct-touch copper heatpipes
  • Heat-pipes: Five 8-mm copper heatpipes
  • Fan: 2 x 120 mm
  • Nominal fan speed: 1,800 rpm
  • Fan air flow: 74.63 cfm
  • Maximum power consumption: 2.16 W
  • Nominal noise level: 22 dBA
  • Weight: 1.81 lb (822 g)
  • More information: https://www.spire-corp.com
  • MSRP in the U.S.: USD 65.00

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

When we tested the original Spire TherMax Eclipse, we were disappointed by the poor performance of the cooler. Then the manufacturer released the TherMax Eclipse II, which looked exactly like the first one, but showed an excellent cooling performance.

Now we tested the third version of the same cooler. We say it is the same cooler; except for the fans, the TME III looks exactly like the previous versions. In addition, we discovered that the TME III, like the first one, performs poorly for a cooler of this size.

All that remains now is to wait for Spire to launch the TME IV. If the sequence continues, it should be a good cooler.