Thermolab Trinity CPU Cooler
Thermolab was established in 2005, and started by supplying companies with thermal solutions. While doing this they noticed there was a growing need for small PC systems. The server market has several coolers for small systems, but Thermolab noticed there was not much for the SFF PC market, so they developed the Silencer Series coolers. The Silencer Series coolers are low noise, low profile, heatpipe coolers. Thermolab then released their first tower cooler, the Baram in 2009. Today we are looking at their newest tower cooler, the Trinity. Thermolab calls it trinity because its design is a balance of sound, performance, and compatibility.
The Trinity is a Heatpipe Direct Touch style cooler, meaning the heatpipes of the cooler sit directly on the CPU heat spreader, more efficiently transferring heat. The Trinity also has a non standard fan. The fan for the Trinity has a 130mm fan rather than a 120 or 140mm fan. It is a nine blade PWM fan that operates in 600 to 1,800 RPM range at 16 to 32dBA, respectively. To aid in the noise reduction side Trinity's fan is mounted to the cooling fins with rubber isolators to limit vibration.
With a height of 150mm, width of 136mm, and depth of 85mm the Trinity is on the smaller side of coolers we have looked at recently. The Trinity also has 43mm of clearance to first cooling fin. Depending on the orientation of the ram slots to the CPU socket, with the 43mm clearance combined with the shallow 85mm depth, use of tall RAM sinks with the Trinity could be very possible.
Specifications of the Thermolab Trinity
- Product Name: TRINITY
- Dimension(HxWxL): 150 × 136 × 85mm
- Socket Compatibility:
- Intel: 775, 1155, 1156, 1366
- AMD: AM2. AM2+, AM3
- Color: Gray
- Thermal Conductivity: 4.0W/mK
- Specific Gravity: 2.6
- Operating Temperature: 0~150*C
- Capacity : 2g
- 600-1,800rpm +/- 10% (0-100%) / Performance Mode
- 600-1,200rpm +/- 10% (0-100%) / Silent Mode : +SC3
- 16-32 dBA / Performance Mode
- 16-24 dBA / Silent Mode : +SC3
- Warranty: 1year
Unboxing the Thermolab Trinity
The Trinity comes in a nice sturdy box. The top has images of the cooler with the labels of Performance, Low Noise and Compatibility, the three features for which Trinity gets its name.
On one side of the box is a graph and images showing the performance feature of the Trinity. There is also a QR Barcode that takes you to a URL that has this same information.
On one end there is a drawing of the Trinity showing all the dimensions needed to check your motherboard for compatibility. Again, there is another QR Barcode.
On the opposite end there is information on how the Trinity is quiet and another QR Barcode.
To help show that you are the first to open the box there is a seal that is in place.
When you first open the box you find the Instructions.
Under that is the Trinity wrapped in cardboard.
Under the cardboard is the Trinity wrapped in plastic as well as all the accessories and mounting hardware.
Looking over the Thermolab Trinity
The Trinity weighs in at 735g, relatively light for a tower cooler anymore where the norm is starting to be somewhere north of 900g. With a height of 150mm, width of 136mm and depth of 85mm, the Trinity is also on the physically smaller side of coolers we have looked at recently.
The Trinity also has 43mm of clearance to the first cooling fin. Depending on the orientation of the ram slots to the CPU socket, with the 43mm clearance combined with the shallow 85mm depth, use of tall RAM sinks with the Trinity could be very possible.
Looking at the top of the cooler we can see the Trinity does not have symmetrical fins. The heatpipes are also in a staggered pattern.
The base of the cooler is also offset form center. This pulls the fan side of the cooler away from the RAM slots on standard configured motherboards. Doing this allows for more clearance for the RAM slots.
With the base of the Trinity being an HDT base, the finish is not normally very nice looking due to the way it is made. What is nice about the Trinity's base is the gaps between the heatpipe and the base top are very small. In early versions of HDT coolers this gap was large, and thermal paste could get sucked up into the gaps and not spread nicely when the cooler was installed.
The fan for the Trinity has a 130mm fan rather than a 120 or 140mm fan. It is a nine blade PWM fan that operates in the 600 to 1,800 RPM range at 16 to 32dBA, respectively. Speed is controlled between full speed and low speed modes and is controlled with an inline resistor that can be added.
To aid in the noise reduction side Trinity's fan is mounted to the cooling fins with rubber isolators to limit vibration.
Installing the Trinity
The Trinity comes with all the hardware to mount to all Intel LGA sockets as well as AMD AM2, AM2+ and AM3 sockets.
The instructions are very nice full color photos and almost poster size.
In the lower corner of the instructions is another QR Barcode that points to a video of the installation process.
The Trinity uses a universal backing plate for both Intel and AMD sockets.
The legs on the backing plate are bent one way for Intel and the other for AMD. Installed the wrong way, as above, the backing plate does not set properly against the motherboard.
Installed correctly, the backing plate will rest against the board and clear the socket backing plate.
Depending on your socket of choice what parts are used for the cooler side of the mounting system will vary. In the above image the cooler is set up for Intel 1155/1156 sockets...
... and for Intel 775 and 1366...
... and for AMD sockets.
No matter the socket the upper mounts attach the same way. The brackets slide under a lip in the base and a screw holds it in place.
And the Trinity installed on our Intel Core i7-930 test system. The Trinity cleared all the components of the Intel DX58SO motherboard we use. I was able to install the cooler with the fan in place. Also, if your motherboard has tall heatsinks around the socket reaching the thumbscrews could prove to be interesting. The thumbscrews provided do not have slots in them for use with screw drivers. Now for some testing.
Legit Reviews Intel Core i7-930 Test System
Here are the parts that make up the Legit Reviews Core i7-930 test system:
|Intel Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7 930||Click Here|
|Motherboard||Intel DX58SO||Click Here|
|Memory||Kingston DDR3 3GB 1333MHz ValueRAM||Click Here|
|Video Card||EVGA GTS450||Click Here|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital 250gb SATA||Click Here|
|Power Supply||NZXT HALE90 750W||Click Here|
|Chassis||Cooler Master HAF 912||Click Here|
|Operating System||Windows 7 Professional (64bit)||Click Here|
To test the coolers the system will be left idle at the desktop for 30 minutes and the temperature will be recorded. Then it will run at full load with Prime95 Blended test for 30 minutes and the temperature will be recorded. There will be 3 levels tested with our Core i7-930 clocked at a stock 2.8 GHz, a mild OC of 3.5 GHz and a high OC of 4.0 GHz. All temps will be recorded with CoreTemp, and the temp reading from all 4 cores will be averaged. The thermal paste used on all coolers will be Gelid GC Extreme.
- Antec Kuhler H2O 620
- Antec Kuhler H2O 920
- Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Pro
- CoolIT Eco 240
- CoolIT Vantage ALC
- Corsair H70
- Corsair A50
- Deepcool Killer Whale Premium
- GlacialTech Alaska
- Intel retail box Cooler
- Noctua NH-C14
- Prolimatech Super Mega
- Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
The Temperature Testing Results
At the stock 2.8GHz the Trinity comes in at 61.25*C on low and 55.25*C on high. On low the Trinity is nice and quiet while running a nice 18.25 degrees cooler than the stock Intel HSF. On high that gap jumps to 24.25 degrees better than the stock HSF and only 1.5 degrees warmer than the first place cooler, the Prolimatech Super Mega.
Bumping the system with a mild overclock to 3.5GHz the Trinity on low comes in at 66.75*C and 63.25 on high. It is still at least 12 degrees better than the stock HSF at stock clock settings, and only 3.25 degrees behind the recently tested Antec Kuhler H2O 920 on high. The Trinity did it much quieter though, on high or low speed. With both coolers on low the Trinity wins out by 1.5 degrees.
Pushing the system to 4GHz, the Trinity on high is still doing nicely coming in at 74.25*C, 7.25 degrees behind the Antec Kuhler 920 on high, and 1.75 degrees behind the Corsair H70. The Trinity is also cooling the i7-930 overclocked to 4GHz 5.25 degrees cooler than the stock Intel HSF at the stock 2.8GHz.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The Trinity is the first Thermolab cooler I have looked at since I reviewed the Barram back in 2009. Overall, I am happy with the Trinity. The cooler is a solid performer, easy to install, and coming in at the $55 mark, it is easy on the wallet. Thermolab is still new to some enthusiasts; Trinity is their 7th cooler for the enthusiast market, but they are doing well. The Trinity was within 4 degrees of the top coolers throughout most of the testing. Looking at just the air coolers at 4GHz, the Trinity comes in 3rd place, but is less expensive than the two coolers that beat it: the Zalman CNPS9900 Max and the Prolimatech Super Mega.
The Trinity's base being a HDT or Heatpipe Direct Touch style helps with its performance. This also helps with the cooler's overall weight. The big block of copper normally used on the base is not there: less weight, less stress on the socket. Even coming in at 735g the Trinity is still over the limit Intel says is recommended, but is way better than the 900g+ tower coolers that have been released here lately.
There were only a couple of issues I found with the super mega. The first was the cooler side of the mounting system. It is more difficult than it needs to be. Other manufactures have 2 top plates that do the same thing and are not as confusing to install. The other thing is the thumbscrews. Since the thumbscrews do not have slots in them for use with a screw driver, installing the Trinity on a motherboard with tall heatsinks around the socket could prove to be difficult.
After a fair bit of looking I was able to find the Trinity for sale, oddly at a site that is known for water cooling parts. Perfomancepcs.com has the Trinity for $54.95 plus shipping. At that price the Trinity CPU cooler is near the higher end when it comes to the air cooling HSF market. Which is about where it performed. The Trinity would make a solid upgrade from stock cooling on any Intel or AMD system.
Legit Bottom Line: Thermolab Trinity lives up to meaning behind its name: compatibility, performance, and noise. It costs $55 plus shipping and comes with a 1 year warranty.