Cooling systems of Nvidia GeForce 8800 graphics cards are deservedly considered among the best available today. Without much buzz these coolers take heat off the 681 million transistors of the graphics processor as well as the scorching-hot high-frequency memory and the graphics card’s PCB. Besides that, the coolers are designed in such a way that the hot air is immediately exhausted out of the system case, having no chance to affect the other system components. It’s hard to find a worthy replacement to such a cooler. Experienced overclockers just turn to liquid cooling systems right away whereas ordinary users don’t even try to replace the graphics card’s stock cooler judging it good enough as it is.
It is indeed difficult to find an alternative cooler for the GeForce 8800 series among today’s air coolers. The G80 chip has an area of 484 sq. mm and its heat-spreader is even larger. Additional problems are provoked by the fastening mechanism since the mounting holes are placed atypically far away from each other and have a diameter of less than 1.5 millimeters. Added to that, the reference cooler of the GeForce 8800 series has contact not only with the GPU but also with the graphics card’s GDDR3 memory, NVIO chip and power elements all of which shouldn’t be left without cooling. Finding a cooler that would meet all these requirements is not easy.
Alternatives do exist, though. At the end of the last year we tested the Sparkle Calibre P880+ graphics card with a thermoelectric cooler that left a rather ambiguous impression on us. And today we offer you a review of yet another cooler, this time manufactured by Thermalright. The HR-03 Plus is a logical development of the Thermalright HR-03 model. It has more heat pipes (six instead of four) and a different fastening mechanism. The new cooler will be tested against the stock cooler of the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS graphics card.