Thermalright Frost Commander 140 Review: Strong Performance, Incredible Value

Thermalright established itself as a top cooling contender in decades past, with options like its all-copper SP94 cooler. More recently, its Peerless Assassin is often considered the best value air cooler on the market these days. And we use the company’s LGA 1700 Contact Frame in our cooling reviews to keep socket bending at bay.

Today we’ll be looking at Thermalright’s Frost Commander 140, an air cooler with a bit more bulk than the company’s Peerless Assassin. Most air coolers on the market feature four to six 6mm heatpipes, but the Frost Commander features five thicker heatpipes with an 8mm thickness. Is that, plus the cooler’s moderate $50 price, enough to make it one of the best CPU coolers you can buy? That depends in part on how much you value silence under heavy loads. But before we put the cooler through our usual tests, let’s take a look at the full specs.

 Thermalright Frost Commander 140 Specifications

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Cooler Thermalright Frost Commander 140
MSRP $49.92 USD
Installed Size 140 (L) x 121 (W) x 158 mm (H)
Heatsink Material Aluminum
Heatpipes 5x 8mm heatpipes
Socket Compatibility Intel Socket LGA 1700/1200/115x/2066/2011(v3) AMD AM5 / AM4
Base Nickel plated Copper
Max TDP (Our Testing) 240W on Intel i7-13700K, 129W on AMD Ryzen 7 7700X

Packing and Included Contents 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The box for the Frost Commander 140 arrives in is larger than other coolers of a similar size because the contents are protected by thick molded foam to insure the product arrives undamaged.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Included with the package are the following:

  • Dual Tower Heatsink
  • Fan clips for two fans
  • One 140mm fan, one 120mm fan
  • A medium-sized tube of TF7 thermal paste
  • PWM splitter
  • User Manual
  • Mounts for all modern CPU sockets (including AM5 & LGA1700)

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Installation on LGA1700 and AMD AM4 AM5

The installation process is mostly simple on both AMD and Intel platforms.

1. If you’re running an AMD Ryzen system, you’ll need to start by removing the default retention bracket. Intel users will need to apply the backplate to the motherboard. 

2. Intel users will need to secure the backplate with included metal standoffs. Ryzen users will use the plastic standoffs instead.

3. The next step is to place the mounting bars on top of the standoffs and secure them with the included screws. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

4. Apply thermal paste to the CPU and then place the heatsink against the mounting bars. Secure the heatsink with a screwdriver. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

5. Finally, install the fans using the provided fan clips. This is the only annoying part of the installation process, as the clips are extremely tight and somewhat difficult to install correctly.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Features of Thermalright’s Frost Commander 140

 Thick 8mm heatpipes

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The heatpipes included with the Frost Commander 140 are 8mm thick, 33% wider than the typical 6mm heatpipes found in other coolers. As we’ll see soon in testing, the thicker heatpipes provide a significant advantage in thermal dissipation.  

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

⋇ Full RAM Compatibility in default configuration 

In it’s default configuration, the Frost Commander 140 doesn’t interfere with RAM slots, as the fans are on the back and middle of the unit. However, if you use the fan on the front of the unit, RAM compatibility is limited to 42mm. But you can raise the fan a few mm to accommodate larger RAM sizes without impacting cooling performance.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

⋇ 158mm Height 

With a height of only 158mm, you won’t have any problems fitting this cooler in most cases.

 Mixed Fan Sizes for a Vortex Effect 

There’s more to a cooler than just the heatsink or radiator. The bundled fans have a significant impact on cooling and noise levels. The Frost Commander 140 features two fans of different sizes – one 140mm, the other 120mm. This configuration creates a vortex effect which can help improve static pressure.

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Model Thermalright TL-D14X/ TL-C12 Pro-G
Dimensions 140 x 152 x 27 mm/120 x 120 x 25mm
Fan Speed Up to 1800/1850 RPM +- 10%
Air Flow Up to 95.5/82 CFM
Air Pressure Up to 2.25/2.1 mmH2O
Bearing Type S-FDB Bearing
Lighting None
MFFT Unlisted

Cooling Considerations

Modern high-end CPUs, whether Intel or AMD, are difficult to cool in intensive workloads. In the past, reaching 95 degrees Celsius-plus on a desktop CPU was sually a cause for concern – but with today’s fastest processors, it is considered normal operation. Similar behavior has been present in laptops for years due to cooling limitations in tight spaces.

Since last fall, Tom’s Hardware has brought you cooling reviews using one of the most power-hungry desktop CPUs on the market – Intel’s flagship i9-13900K. To give you an idea of what it takes to cool Intel’s behemoth, we’ve tested it with a variety of coolers from basic low-end air coolers like the Amazon Basics cooler to high-end 420mm AIOs such as Corsair’s iCUE H170i Elite.

While it’s nice to see how Intel’s flagship responds to different levels of cooling, those results don’t always correlate with lower-tier CPUs. Today’s review features two CPUs more commonly purchased by end users – AMD’s Ryzen 7 7700X and Intel’s i7-13700K. 

LGA1700 Socket Bending

Note there are many factors other than the CPU cooler that can influence your cooling performance, including the case you use and the fans installed in it. A system’s motherboard can also influence this, especially if it suffers from bending, which results in poor cooler contact with the CPU. 

In order to prevent bending from impacting our cooling results, we’ve installed Thermalright’s LGA 1700 contact frame into our Intel testing rig. If your motherboard is affected by bending, your thermal results will be worse than those shown below. Not all motherboards are affected equally by this issue. I tested Raptor Lake CPUs in two motherboards. And while one of them showed significant thermal improvements after installing Thermalright’s LGA1700 contact frame, the other motherboard showed no difference in temperatures whatsoever! Check out our review of the contact frame for more information.

Testing Methodology

All testing is performed at a 23C ambient room temperature. Multiple thermal tests are run on each CPU to test the cooler in a variety of conditions, and acoustic measurements are taken with each result. These tests include:

1. Noise normalized testing at low noise levels

2. “Out-of-the-box”/default configuration thermal & acoustics testing.

     a.) This means no power limits on Intel’s i7-13700K, and AMD’s default power limits on AMD’s Ryzen 7 7700X.

      b.) Because CPUs hit Tjmax in this scenario, the best way to compare cooling strength is by recording the total CPU package power consumption.

3. Thermal & acoustics testing in power-limited scenarios.

      a.) With Ryzen 7 7700X, I’ve tested with limits of 95W and 75W enforced.

      b.) On Intel’s i7-13700K, I’ve tested with limits of 175W and 125W enforced.

The thermal results included are for 10-minute testing runs. To be sure that was sufficiently long to tax the cooler, we tested both Thermalright’s Assassin X 120 R SE and DeepCool’s LT720 with a 30-minute Cinebench test with Intel’s i9-13900K for both 10 minutes and 30 minutes. The results didn’t change much at all with the longer test: The average clock speeds maintained dropped by 29 MHz on DeepCool’s LT720 and 31 MHz on Thermalright’s Assassin X 120 R SE. That’s an incredibly small 0.6% difference in clock speeds maintained, a margin of error difference that tells us that the 10-minute tests are indeed long enough to properly test the coolers.

Testing Configuration – Intel LGA1700 Platform

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CPU Intel Core i7-13700K
Comparison Coolers Tested BeQuiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
Cooler Master Master Air MA824 Stealth
Cooler Master Hyper 622 Halo
Cooler Master Master Liquid Core 360L
Cougar Forza 85 Essential
DeepCool Assassin IV
DeepCool LT720

EKWB Nucleus CR360 Lux
Jiushark JF13K Diamond
Lian Li GA II Performance
Thermalright Silver Soul 135
Thermalright Peerless Assassin
Montech D24 Premium
MSI CoreLiquid MEG S360
Noctua NH-D15S

Motherboard MSI Z690 A Pro DDR4
GPU Intel ARC A770 LE
Case Be Quiet! Silent Base 802, system fans set to speed 1 setting.
Monitor LG 45GR95QE
PSU Cooler Master XG Plus 850 Platinum PSU

Testing Configuration – AMD AM5 Platform

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CPU AMD Ryzen 7 7700X
Motherboard ASRock B650E Taichi
GPU Intel ARC A770 LE
Case DeepCool CK560WH
Monitor LG 45GR95QE
PSU Cougar Polar X2 1200W

Thermal Results with noise normalized to 38.2 dBA

Finding the right balance between fan noise levels and cooling performance is important. While running fans at full speed can improve cooling capacity to some extent, the benefits are limited and many users prefer a quiet system.  

With this noise normalized test, I’ve set noise levels to 38.2 dBA. This level of noise is a low, but slightly audible, volume level for most people. Thermalright’s Frost Commander has the best air cooling result I’ve ever seen on an air cooler when set to these low noise levels, essentially on par with DeepCool’s LT720 360mm AIO. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

No Power Limits Thermal Results

Without power limits enforced on Intel’s i7-13700K, the CPU will hit its peak temperature and thermally throttle with even the strongest of air coolers. In this test, we measure the total amount of watts the cooler is able to dissipate from the CPU.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Thermalright’s Frost Commander 140 absolutely murders in this maximum intensity scenario, cooling an average of 240W during the course of testing. This is the best result I have ever seen from an air cooler. The CPU ran almost unthrottled during this test, maintaining maximum all-core clocks on all but 4 of its 16 cores – and the 4 cores which throttled only did so by 100mhz. 

This level of performance isn’t an easy feat though. With noise levels of 46.9 dBA, the Frost Commander 140 runs a bit louder than competing coolers (from Noctua & DeepCool) in this performance class, which generally run closer to 43.4 dBA. But, the noise-normalized results shown earlier demonstrate that Thermalright’s cooler is still capable of achieving top-tier cooling if you prefer to limit its noise levels.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

175W Cinebench Results

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Most coolers on the market are able to keep Intel’s i7-13700K under it’s peak temperature if the power consumption is limited, so for this test we’ll be looking at the CPU’s actual temperature.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

125W Cinebench Results

The lowest power limit I test with Raptor Lake CPUs is 125W. This is a high enough limit to allow the CPU to maintain it’s base clockspeeds even in the most intensive tests, and most coolers should be able to keep the CPU below Tjmax – even low-end coolers.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

As with all of our previous thermal results, Thermalright’s Frost Commander 140 yet again delivers the best thermal results of any air cooler we’ve tested. Its noise levels are good in this restricted scenario – at 38.5 dBA it’s slightly louder than Noctua’s NH-D15S and slightly quieter than Scythe’s recently released Fuma 3.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

AMD Ryzen 7 7700X Thermal Results

It’s great to see how coolers perform with hotter CPUs like Intel’s i7-13700K, but that performance doesn’t always directly translate to how other CPUs will operate with the same coolers. Some coolers might perform better – or worse – depending on the CPU it’s paired with. Today’s review I’ve includes AMD’s Ryzen 7 7700X to show how coolers might respond with more commonly used CPUs.

Thermal Results with noise normalized to 36.4 dBA

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

With our i7-13700K results, Thermalright’s Frost Commander provided the best noise-normalized results. But with our Ryzen results here, the results are good but not chart-topping like we saw with our Intel system. There are a few different factors that might contribute to this discrepancy. 

First, with our Intel results, noise levels are set to 38.2 dBA – which is a very low noise level. With our AMD system, our noise-normalized results are tuned for an even quieter noise level of 36.4 dBA. This might mean that the fans of Thermalright’s Frost Commander 140 simply don’t perform as well when set to the lowest noise levels. 

Another factor that might explain these discrepancies are the cases used for testing. The Intel system is tested in BeQuiet’s Silent Base 802, which incorporates noise-dampening features. My AMD system, which uses DeepCool’s CK560, doesn’t have those noise-dampening features.

The Silent Base 802 has higher minimum noise levels at 37.3 dBA, but also higher levels of airflow. DeepCool’s CK560 has lower levels of airflow, but runs so quietly that I can’t measure its noise level – it runs quieter than the lowest level my sound meter is capable of measuring.  

Lastly, differences in thermal density might also be at play. Intel’s i7-13700K features a total of 16 cores produced on the Intel 7 manufacturing process, whereas the Ryzen 7700x features 8 cores on the smaller TSCM 5nm manufacturing process. In other words, the heat produced by Intel’s CPU is spread out over a larger area, whereas it’s concentrated in a smaller area on AMD’s Ryzen 7700X. 

Maximum Cooling Capacity with maximum fan speeds

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Next up we wanted to see how the cooler handles a maximum heat workload, so we let the fans run at their full speeds. With 129W measured, The Frost Commander’s performance is among the best results we’ve seen from an air cooler. While DeepCool’s and Montech’s coolers technically cooled 1W more with a measurement of 130W, I consider this difference to be within the general margin of error. 

However, the Frost Commander’s noise levels were not impressive – at 48.5 dBA, this is the loudest result I’ve recorded thus far on my AMD Ryzen cooler testing setup. Readers might note that these maximum noise levels are higher than those shown for the Intel system. That is because the Intel system’s case has noise-dampening features, but the AMD system’s case does not, as previously stated. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Thermals and Acoustics with a 95W Power Limit

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

You won’t always push your CPU to its absolute limits or maximum power draw, so it’s a good idea to test coolers across different power limits. For a user of AMD’s Ryzen 7700X, 95W will represent loads more demanding than gaming but less demanding than rendering. In these scenarios, noise levels are generally considered more important than cooling performance.

When it comes to thermals, the Frost Commander 140 does exceptionally well. With a measurement of 50 C over a 23 C ambient temperature, this is the second-best air cooling result we have for AMD’s Ryzen 7700X. Unfortunately for Thermalright, it’s also the loudest result we have for this benchmark test. It’s not exactly loud at 46.3 dBA (generally I’d consider that a moderate noise level), but this isn’t a great result when you consider that literally every other result we have tested is quieter.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Thermals and Acoustics with a 75W Power Limit

With power draw reduced to 75W on AMD’s Ryzen 7 7700X, this thermal load shouldn’t be difficult for most coolers to cool. This is roughly the amount of power Ryzen 7 7700X CPU will use during gaming, and it’s also the maximum power consumption of AMD’s non-X Ryzen 7 CPU.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

At this lower level of power consumption, cooling difficulty isn’t hard at all and even the most basic coolers should have no problems here. So temperature isn’t important – noise levels are much what’s worth noting. That being said, the Frost Commander’s performance here was the best we’ve seen from any air cooler – edging out the competition by a single degree with a result of 39 degrees over a 23 C ambient temperature. 

When tied to the default fan curve of ASRock’s B650e Taichi, noise levels reached 40.3 dBA. This noise level is comparable to that of a low hum, so it shouldn’t bother most folks – but it does tie with Montech’s Metal DT24 Premium for the loudest result we’ve seen in this test.  

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)


Thermalright’s Frost Commander 140 provides the best performance per dollar of any air cooler I’ve tested. For only $50, it provides top-tier air cooling performance on par with coolers like Noctua’s NH-D15. Its results with our Intel i7-13700K system were the best we’ve seen from any air cooler.

However, if you’re not running a case which includes noise-dampening features it can run up to 48.5 dBA, which is the loudest we’ve recorded from any air cooler. We can forgive this given its budget price and unexpectedly strong performance. But you’ll want to limit its fan speeds if noisy coolers bother you. 

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