Thermalright True Spirit 120M CPU Air Cooler Review

Thermalright holds the crown when it comes to our favorite CPU air cooler companies over the years. It has engineered some gems over the last decade that we have reviewed its products. Today we have its new, and very small, True Spirit 120M processor cooler that if works well, will be a great value for Ivy Bridge cooling.



The Thermalright True Spirit 120m delivers similar performance to its predecessors as shown by our tests. It is quiet, easy to install and should be compatible with a wide range of motherboard and RAM combos. This is what we have come to expect from the True Spirit line of coolers and the 120m is no different. It is aimed at giving top tier performance in a very small envelope of space and to that end it has succeeded. The only thing to determine is if Thermalright has continued the tradition of offering the True Spirit at an amazing value.


The charts below show the cost you will pay for each degree in temperature reduction the heat sink gives you over the stock cooler. The two areas that influence this chart are cost of the heat sink and its performance. An expensive cooler that gives you superior performance will be rated as average here since its cost hurts its rating. Inversely, a poor performing heat sink that costs next to nothing will be rated as average since its performance will hurt its ratings. We ideally look for low cost and high performance. All prices were gathered by doing a very quick search of the web for each cooler and listing it here sans S/H and tax (these can vary widely from region to region).

As an example, if a cooler outperforms the stock cooler by 10C and costs USD $5.00 it would be listed in our chart as $.50. You would pay fifty cents for each degree of better performance over the box cooler.

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To arrive at a single number difference, we took the value of all four cores from our overclocked tests, averaged these and then compared them for analysis.

The Bottom Line

Thermalright did not aim the True Spirit 120M to be the end all be all for heat sinks. Instead Thermalright targeted people who need a powerful cooler that doesn’t take up a lot of space. Thermalright boasts that it is the, "World ‘s smallest 120mm fan based tower cooler. Made specifically for Micro ATX &mini tower case user." For these people the $80 Silverstone HE01 would be too large even though the HE01 offers slightly better performance. Thermalright also aimed the True Spirit 120M at people who are on budget and for these people it doesn’t make sense to spend $80+ on a cooler. The True Spirit 120M is just now coming onto the market, and we are seeing an initial street price of $34, which will very likely pull back to MSRP as more stock gets into the retail channel.

When you break the Thermalright True Spirit 120M down to its individual segments it is a good cooler but nothing remarkable. It’s only when you step back and put it all together that you realize what Thermalright was able to produce here. For $29.95 MSRP, you get an amazing cooler that will fit almost any enclosure and perform very well without making much noise at all. This is where its true power of the True Spirit 120M lies.

With its ease of installation, solid performance, and minuscule price tag, the Thermalright True Spirit 120M earns the HardOCP Gold Editor's Choice [H] Award.

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Thermalright True Spirit 120M