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Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme

Use Large and/or Full Tower Computer Cases

The Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme CPU cooler is one of the best coolers available. It is a large unit and requires full-size tower computer cases for fit (use computer case reviews to help you decide on the best case). Use a heatsink compound for the install of your CPU cooler.

The Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme has been around for awhile now, and continues to be one of the top CPU coolers on the market. It's proven design and high quality craftsmanship have kept it there. We'll take a look here at what makes this such a great heatsink.

Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme

The Ultra 120 was designed to work with both Intel Socket LGA 775 and with AMD Socket AM2, as well as 940, 939, and 753. This is a large heatsink, so before you purchase one, ensure that your case is large enough to handle it. (Check computer case reviews, they often provide the best information on 'fit' for your computer components.) You will need to look at full tower computer cases.

The heatsink measures 132 x 65 x 163 mm, so you will want at least 7 inches of clearance between your CPU and the side of the case. The heatsink weighs in at 790 g, so it has a bit of heft to it.

Clearance on the system memory is not that big of a concern because of the tower design. The Ultra 120 Extreme sports six heat pipes that pull the heat away from the base and distribute it to the aluminum fins up and down the tower.

Included with the heatsink was almost everything needed to install it on either an Intel or AMD socket. ('Almost' because it does not include a bracket for the AM2 socket, it is sold separately.)Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme

  • Main heatsink unit
  • Intel mounting bracket
  • AMD 940, 939, and 753 socket mounting bracket
  • Backplate
  • Mounting screws
  • Heatsink compound
  • Fan mounting brackets for one 120 mm fan

The Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme is designed for a single 120 mm fan to be installed on one side. Using a quiet fan such as the Noctua 120 mm will keep your system noise to a minimum while still providing great airflow.


Installing the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme is a snap...Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme

  1. Align the bracket on the back of the motherboard and insert the pillars through the mounting holes.
  2. Flip over the motherboard and apply the thermal grease or heatsink compound to the CPU in a nice, thin, even, layer.
  3. Align the heat sink on the CPU. Using a vertical alignment of the tower will give you the most clearance for the system memory.
  4. Slide the mounting bracket between the tower and the base of the heatsink.
  5. Spread the bracket out to align the holes with the holes of the pillars from step one.
  6. Select the appropriate spring screws depending on your socket. The longer ones are for Intel sockets, and the shorter ones for AMD.
  7. Screw in the spring screws in a diagonal pattern, and you have the tower installed.
  8. To mount the fan, use the included rubber strips, and run one strip down each side of the tower. Clip on the fan bracket, align the fan, and snap the clips into place. The clips will line up with the holes on the fan and lock it in.

Installation on an AMD socket is the same as above, except that the mounting bracket does not swivel, it is a fixed position. Simply rotate the bracket in between the tower and the base and screw in in the same way, in a diagonal pattern.

Temperature Control

In this installation, the CPU used for testing was the Intel Core 2 Duo 6600, running overclocked to 3GHz which puts out a good amount of heat. When idle, the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme kept the CPU temperature down at 28C, and under load held it to 45C, which is excellent. Keeping the CPU temperature at 45C under load, even when overclocked, makes this heatsink one of the top choices for overclockers.



  • Temperatures are kept to some of the lowest levels among all tower heatsinks.
  • High performance with a low RPM fan keeps the system noise level down.
  • Universal fit for Intel and AMD.
  • Quality construction.


  • This is a large heatsink, ensure you have room in your case.
  • The base is not as flat as it could be. You may need extra thermal or heatsink compound to maintain good contact between the CPU and base.

Overall, this is one of the top heatsinks on the market. You can pick up this heatsink for around $60.00, with around another $15.00 for a quality quiet fan. This is a bit high in price, but if you are planning to overclock your system, the price is worth it for the peace of mind you will get in keeping your temperatures down.

You can pick up the Thermalright Ultra-120 CPU Cooling Heatsink here.

More information and compatibility information on this cooler can be found at Thermalright's website.


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