Thermalright MUX 120 Black
Thermalright – this name really bring on the thoughts the glorious TRUE120. Thermalright, based in Taiwan, is one the best manufacturers of Cooling Products like coolers and fans. For many years they sat as king of the hill with the Ultra 120 Extreme (or TRUE as some call it) and it’s many revisions. They kept on ruling the cooling world with their Venomous X and their recently released Silver Arrow.
Thermalright adjusted their focus to three primary aspects; the coolers should to be easy to install, maintain supreme thermal cooling performance and last but not least, aesthetics... it should be a good looking cooler.
Along with top end coolers, Thermalright is also making some very good products for mid end users. Thermalright MUX-120 Black is one of its mid end coolers. MUX-120 is like younger brother of Ultra Extreme 120 (TRUE120). Today I am glad to have the opportunity of reviewing MUX-120 Black.
Actually, Thermalright MUX-120 Black is the Black Edition of MUX-120, which was LGA1156 exclusive but Black Edition is compatible with all the Intel and AMD sockets currently available.
Packaging and the Cooler:
Thermalright MUX-120 is delivered in Thermalright’s trademark box; made from simple brown cardboard with Thermalright’s Logo on top and Cooler’s name on side, it gives an impression of simplicity and quality. It also helps in keeping the product price low.
With fins from China and all other parts from Taiwan, you can say that it’s made in Taiwan.
Opening this box will reveal an accessory box at left side and a fan on right side. A fan, I wasn’t expecting it with a moderately priced cooler like this. It a nice grey fan, we’ll talk about it in detail later down the page.
Beneath the fan, you’ll notice the MUX-120 nicely packed in plastic bag and placed firmly in Thermo pole.
This is how it looks when taken out of box. There is no chance of damage during shipping even if it’s delivered by the most careless postman.
First thing you’ll think about taking this cooler out of all packaging is that you accidently got a TRUE 120 Black, but you are wrong. MUX-120 is fully identical to TRUE 120 despite the fact that it has two less heat pipes and a bit smaller size.
It has 48 fins and 4 high quality U-Shaped 6mm heatpipes, as compared to 6 heatpipes on TRUE120. The cooler looks remarkably beautiful with nickel-plated Black aluminum fin each ~0.45mm thick. I instantly recognized this as a high quality “bluing job” and not some cheap paint job. The plates are spaced out with ~1.8mm gaps. Black color of the cooler is a treat for systems with black layout.
Built on the same design as most tower coolers, the MUX-120 is 133mm deep, 38mm deep and 160mm high, weighing 670 g (fan included). It’s a lot lighter than most of the coolers available currently. Less weight will make it go easy on main board.
As almost all the tower design cooler, MUX-120 supports two fans in push-pull configuration and optimize performance even more. Four 120mm fan clips are included in order to mount two 120x120x25mm fans.
The fin edges are slightly bent in opposite a direction, which allows making better use of the airflow created by the fan(s). It gives more opportunity to air to strike with fins hence causing heat transfer. This makes perfect sense as the air which enters the heatsink is being pushed in from rotational blades of fan so the air is actually moving in a circular motion, which means straight fins are actually at an angle to this air movement which will cause air to bounce. This ‘bouncing’ cause air turbulence which in turn increases the static pressure; so by angling the front face up and down the fins are aimed to direct the air into fins which helps in better heat dissipation.
When it comes to engineering, Thermalright’s team did not miss a trick. The cooling fins of the unit are engineered to encourage air to flow through them rather than around. Just like most tower coolers, Thermalright has made both sides concave. This technology helps the air to pass through fins easily.
Each fin is polished to perfection and has manufacturer logo embossed on the top fin.
The heatpipes inside the heatsink array are shifted away from one another, which allow better distribution of the heat over the heatsink fins.
The heatpipes still lie in special grooves providing better contact with the base plate. They are soldered to the base for maximum efficiency.
The base is protected by a plastic film which needs to be peeled off before use.
Under this protecting film lies a perfect shiny base. It is sanded to mirror finish.
MUX-120 Black supports all the latest Intel and AMD sockets. It uses Thermalright’s latest mounting mechanism with variable
pressure adjustment knob.
First of all you’ll notice a bunch of papers and a Thermalright sticker in the accessory box. Two of these papers are mounting guides – one for Intel and one for AMD.
The third one shows the detail of what’s included.
According to this page, there should be some accessories in the bigger bad along with 3 smaller plastic bags.
Following accessories are in bigger bag:
• Chill Factor III Thermal Paste x1
• Angled Wrench x1
• 12cm fan wire clip x4
• Anti-Vibration Strip x4
I am happy to see a high end thermal paste included in the package of a mid-end cooler. Kudos to Thermalright for this fan.
Let’s talk about smaller plastic bags now; they are numbered 5, 6 and 6 respectively.
Let’s open the ‘5’ numbered bag first, it contains some general accessories listed below.
• Thumbscrew cap x4
• Pressure adjustable mounting plate x1
Now there are two ‘6’ numbered bags having Intel and AMD hardware.
Intel mounting mechanism includes following accessories:
• Multiple support backplate x1
• Anchoring bracket mount x1
• Backplate cap for 775 platform x1
• Screw Pillar(with pre-applied washers) x4
• White plastic washers x4
Now the second ‘6’ numbered bag has following AMD accessories:
• AM2 X bracket x1
• AM2 backplate x1
• Spring loaded screws x4
- Thermalright X-Silent 120mm Fan:
As I told earlier this cooler is shipped with a Black-Teal X-Silent 120mm PWM fan. This fan spins at speeds of 600~1300 rpm, with noise levels of 17~25 dBA.
Being a PWN controlled fan, it uses 4-pin fan connector. Fan wire is braided to black color.
It has smoked fins which really go with the black color of cooler. Here is how it looks with cooler, smoking combination; isn’t it?
This is the part where Thermalright is above all. Their new mounting mechanism is very easy-to-use. New multiple support backplate is the finest of all. It’s the single back plate that can be used with all the three latest Intel sockets, all you need to do is adjust the knob according to your socket.
Let’s have a detailed look at the installation process.
First of all you need to adjust the knob on backplate, I moved it to most inner slot as I’ll be mounting it on an LGA775 motherboard and don’t forget to place rubber washers between motherboard and backplate. Furthermore, for LGA775, you need to install backplate cap in its place (For other sockets, there is no need to install back plate cap).
Now place the backplate at back of motherboard and screw down the pillar screws at top of motherboard. They have white washers pre-applied, these washers help in insulating the board from metal parts which can cause short circuit.
Then we have to place anchoring bracket mount on the top of pillar screws. This anchoring bracket has 3 holes to suit LGA775, LGA 1156 and LGA1366. Most inner one is for LGA775.
After that, screw down this anchoring bracket with the help of 4 thumbscrews.
Then you have to secure the heat sink onto its place with the help of adjustable mounting plate and tighten up the spring loaded hexagonal screws. Don’t use force to over-turn the hexagonal screw; you have to stop once they reach their natural stop. You can add extra pressure by tightening the pressure adjustable nob with the help of angled wrench included.
Now it’s time to mount fans, MUX-120 supports up to 2 120mm fans (120x120x25mm). You can secure them into their place by the help of fan wire clips. Don’t forget to apply anti-vibration strips to each side of heat sink to dump the vibrations produced by fans. As fan included in the package of MUX-120 is controlled by PWN signal, you have to install it 4-pin fan slot. Otherwise its PWN functionality will not work.
As MUX-120 is not that big, it has smaller size as compares to most of the tower coolers I didn’t face any difficulties in installing rams even in the left most slot. Cooler don’t touches with rams or heat sinks on motherboard even with fan mounted. I am using XMS2 rams with DHX heatsinks (which are pretty tall), even then I had enough space to mount thicker 120mm fans (120x120x35mm).
Following hardware was used to test this cooler:
Load temperatures were taken after loading CPU for 20min by Prime 95(Small fft).
MUX-120(Stock fan/) is tested against Noctua NH-D14 (TH-FDB-12-1600 Fans), Thermalright Venomous X (TH-FDB-12-1600 Fans) and Cooler Master N520 (TH-FDB-12-1600 Fans).
Thermalright FDB-12-1600 gives 63.7cfm at 1600RPM producing 28dBA.
- Single Fan Test:
All the coolers were tested on both stock and overclocked settings. Fans are mentioned with the cooler.
With single 1600RPM fan, it beats similarly priced N520 by quite a margin. Furthermore, performance of the stock is very good.
- Dual Fan Test:
All the coolers were tested with TH-FDB-12-1600 in push/pull configuration on both stock and overclocked speeds.
With two fans, the temperature margin between N520 and MUX-120 is increased a lot. Thermalright MUX-120
This cooler proved that Thermalright is not only the king of high end products but it also rules the world of budget oriented overclockers. It looks awesome, it performs excellent, it comes with a high end thermal compound, a fan is shipped with it; what else you want for a price tag of 50$.
Mounting mechanism of this cooler is the one used with Thermalright’s high end coolers. It’s easy to mount, in fact mounting is
almost tool less plus it has latest variable pressure technology.
It’s small in size which makes it an ideal choice for builds that have limited mounting space.
I can certainly recommend the Thermalright MUX-120 Black for any budget oriented user. It is surely the CPU Cooler you’ll enjoy.
• Great mounting mechanism
• Dual fan capable design
• Variable pressure mounting
• Small size
• Easy installation
• Perfect base
• 120mm included fan
• Included high end Thermal paste
• Black Color