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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The Thermaltake SlimX3 is, as its name suggests, a low-profile CPU cooler with two heatpipes and an 80-mm fan. Let’s see if it can cool our CPU.

The SlimX3 box is very small and simple. You can see it in Figure 1.

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 1: Package

In Figure 2, you can see what comes inside the box: a white thermal compound bag, manuals, clips, screws and, of course, the cooler.

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 2: Accessories

In Figure 3, you can see the Thermaltake SlimX3.

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 3: The SlimX3 CPU cooler

In the next pages, you will see this cooler in detail.

[nextpage title=”The Thermaltake SlimX3″]

In Figure 4, you see the front of the cooler. It is only 36 mm high, due to the slim fan and the tiny fins.

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 4: Front view

In Figure 5, you can see the side of the cooler.

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 5: Front view

In Figure 6, you check the cooler rear side. Here you can see the heatpipes.

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 6: Rear view

In Figure 7, you can see the top of the cooler, where almost only the fan is visible.

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 7: Top view

[nextpage title=”The Thermaltake SlimX3 (Cont’d)”]In Figure 8, you check the heatsink without the fan. We are wondering why to install heatpipes on such small heatsink: the purpose of a heatpipe is to carry the heat from one point to another, and there is no point in taking the heat so close from the point it started. It could be better to build a heatsink of the same size, without heatpipes, but with copper fins.

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 8: Heatsink

In Figure 9, you see the fan. It supports PWM speed control (note the four-pin connector).

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 9: Fan

The base of the cooler is made of aluminum, not copper. It is not polished enough for a mirror-like aspect. Here there is another issue: the base should be made of copper, or at least the heatpipes should make direct contact with the CPU, in order to bring the heat directly to the fins.

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 10: Base

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

Before installing the cooler, you need to attach the retention clips to the base of the cooler. Those clips are compatible with sockets 775 and 1155/1156. After that, just put the cooler on the CPU (there are plastic washers to avoid short-circuits on the motherboard) and fasten four nuts at the solder side of the motherboard.

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 11: Clips installed

In Figure 12, you can check the cooler installed in our computer. Note that it is barely higher than our memory modules.

Thermaltake SlimX3Figure 12: Installed in our system

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

We tested the cooler with a Core i7-860 CPU (quad-core, 2.8 GHz), which is a socket LGA1156 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 3.3 GHz (150 MHz base clock and 22x multiplier), keeping the standard core voltage (Vcore), which was the maximum stable overclock we could make with the stock cooler. Keep in mind that we could have raised the CPU clock more, but to include the stock cooler in our comparison, we needed to use this moderate overclock.

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

We compared the tested cooler to the Intel stock cooler with a copper base (included with the CPU), as well as with other coolers. Note that in the past, we tested coolers with a socket LGA775 CPU, and 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 in the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that accompanies 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 left panel of the case was open.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the case and video board cooler fans so they wouldn’t interfere with the results. 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

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 idle and 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 minimum speed on the idle test and at full speed on the full load test.

< td align="center">36 °C


Idle Processor

Processor at Full Load

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Speed Core Temp. Noise Speed Core Temp.
Intel stock (socket LGA1156) 14 °C 44 dBA 1700 rpm 46 °C 54 dBA 2500 rpm 90 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 G1 14 °C 47 dBA 2050 rpm 33 °C 56 dBA 2900 rpm 62 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme 14 °C 45 dBA 1400 rpm 27 °C 53 dBA 1950 rpm 51 °C
Thermaltake Silent 1156 14 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 38 °C 49 dBA 1750 rpm 69 °C
Noctua NH-D14 14 °C 49 dBA 1250 rpm 27 °C 49 dBA 1250 rpm 53 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Performa 14 °C 46 dBA 1500 rpm 28 °C 52 dBA 1950 rpm 54 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems 14 °C 40 dBA 750 rpm 27 °C 60 dBA 2550 rpm 50 °C
Thermaltake Frio 14 °C 46 dBA 1450 rpm 27 °C 60 dBA 2500 rpm 50 °C
Prolimatech Samuel 17 14 °C 40 dBA 750 rpm 40 °C 60 dBA 2550 rpm 63 °C
Zalman CNPS8000A 18 °C 43 dBA 1400 rpm 39 °C 54 dBA 2500 rpm 70 °C
Spire TherMax Eclipse II 14 °C 55 dBA 2200 rpm 28 °C 55 dBA 2200 rpm 53 °C
Scythe Ninja3 17 °C 39 dBA 700 rpm 32 °C 55 dBA 1800 rpm 57 °C
Corsair A50 18 °C 52 dBA 1900 rpm 33 °C 52 dBA 1900 rpm 60 °C
Thermaltake Jing 18 °C 44 dBA 850 rpm 34 °C 49 dBA 1300 rpm 60 °C
GlacialTech Alaska 18 °C 43 dBA 1150 rpm 51 dBA 1600 rpm 60 °C
Deepcool Gamer Storm 18 °C 43 dBA 1100 rpm 35 °C 48 dBA 1600 rpm 62 °C
Corsair A70 26 °C 56 dBA 1900 rpm 40 °C 56 dBA 1900 rpm 65 °C
Deepcool Ice Blade Pro 23 °C 45 dBA 1200 rpm 38 °C 52 dBA 1500 rpm 64 °C
AC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2 23 °C 47 dBA 1750 rpm 44 °C 51 dBA 2100 rpm 77 °C
Corsair H70 27 °C 60 dBA 1900 rpm 37 °C 60 dBA 1900 rpm 61 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max 27 °C 55 dBA 1600 rpm 38 °C 58 dBA 1750 rpm 63 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer 11 LP 25 °C 45 dBA 1700 rpm 51 °C 49 dBA 1950 rpm 91 °C
CoolIT Vantage 26 °C 60 dBA 2500 rpm 37 °C 60 dBA 2500 rpm 62 °C
Deepcool Ice Matrix 600 25 °C 46 dBA 1100 rpm 41 °C 53 dBA 1300 rpm 69 °C
Titan Hati 26 °C 46 dBA 1500 rpm 40 °C 57 dBA 2450 rpm 68 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 27 °C 49 dBA 1950 rpm 41 °C 53 dBA 2300 rpm 70 °C
Noctua NH-C14 26 °C 52 dBA 1300 rpm 37 °C 52 dBA 1300 rpm 61 °C
Intel XTS100H 26 °C 49 dBA 1200 rpm 42 °C 64 dBA 2600 rpm 68 °C
Zalman CNPS5X SZ 23 °C 52 dBA 2250 rpm 38 °C 57 dBA 2950 rpm 69 °C
Thermaltake SlimX3 21 °C 50 dBA 2700 rpm 46 °C 50 dBA 2750 rpm 99 °C

In the graph below, at full load 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.

Thermaltake SlimX3

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main features of the Thermaltake SlimX3 CPU cooler include:

  • Application: Socket LGA775, 1155, and 1156 processors
  • Fins: Aluminum
  • Base: Aluminum
  • Heat-pipes: Two 6-mm copper heatpipes
  • Fan: 80 mm
  • Nominal fan speed: 2,400 rpm
  • Fan air flow: 22.35 cfm
  • Maximum power consumption: 3.36 W
  • Nominal noise level: 26.9 dBA
  • Weight: 6.35 oz (180 g)
  • More information: https://www.thermaltakeusa.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 20.00

* Reseached at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

We were not expecting a good performance from the Thermaltake SlimX3 CPU cooler. Actually, we are just expecting it to be quieter and more efficient than the Intel stock cooler that comes with socket LGA1156 CPUs, which is a very small and presents poor performance.

The SlimX3 was relatively quiet during our tests, but it was worse than the stock cooler. In fact, it is the worst CPU cooler we’ve tested to date. We tried to install it in other orientations, but the temperature was exactly the same.

The only reason why anyone would buy
this cooler is if he or she has a very low-TDP CPU inside a case that is so small that the stock cooler won’t fit. If this is not your case, forget about the Thermaltake SlimX3.