Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme VGA Cooler Review
Today we are going to check out a stylish and beautiful cooling solution for a wide range of graphics cards on ATI and Nvidia GPUs. Read our review for details about this new Thermaltake cooler.
In the beginning of last year Thermaltake Technology Co., Ltd released their DuOrb graphics card cooler. I would like to remind you that it consisted of two toroidal heatsinks on two copper heatpipes and two fans that cooled this entire structure. The cooler was pretty good in terms of cooling efficiency, but worked pretty loudly and had no fan rotation speed controller. Luckily, Thermaltake engineers didn’t stop at that point and seriously modified their DuOrb cooler having announced a new solution called DuOrb Extreme. What exactly has been changed in the new cooler design, how its efficiency compares against that of the best graphics card air coolers and how noisy it actually is – you can find out all this from our today’s review.
Package and Accessories
The cardboard box, in which Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme ships, is unusually big for a VGA cooler. There is a photo of the cooler installed onto a graphics card on the front of the box. The back of the box is devoted to the brief description of the key cooler features, specifications and the list of supported graphics cards:
There is a clear plastic casing molded like the cooler inside the cardboard box. It holds the cooler securely and protects it:
This way you don’t need to worry about Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme being damaged during transportation. Together with the cooler you get a special box with heatsinks, two types of retention, screws, thermal compound and installation introductions with a warranty slip:
It is very convenient that all interconnected components are sealed in individual bags and all bags are marked with letter indexes that are used in the installation instructions. This way the potential owners of Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme cooler won’t need to think about finding the right retention kit from the bunch of accessories.
The cooler is made in China. At the time of this review we didn’t know the recommended retail price of this solution. It comes with a 1 year warranty.
Design and Functionality
Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme inherited the heatsink design principles from the first DuOrb version. However, now it uses four copper heatpipes instead of two. They are 6 mm in diameter and come out of the copper base plate.
The heatpipes hold two arrays of a toroidal heatsink. Each of these arrays consists of two independent parts: internal and external. Two heatpipes coming out of the center of the base go along the large torus circle, while the two other heatpipes bearing smaller thermal load hold smaller internal heatsink arrays. This way we can say that the design of Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme looks pretty well thought-through and complete as far as efficient heat distribution goes.
If we continue our comparative analysis of the innovations introduced in Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme against the first DuOrb, we can also point out that the new cooler has become a little bigger: it is 31 mm longer, 21.5 mm wider and 11 mm taller.
As for the weight, it didn’t increase too much: from 324 to 385 g. although it is important to remember that DuOrb has copper heatsink plates, while the new Extreme version has aluminum ones.
The heatpipes are soldered to the heatsink plates and to the base. You can see the traces of soldering on the ends of the heatpipes.
As you see, heatpipes lie in the grooves inside the copper heat-spreader base plate. Together with the soldering technique it ensures the most efficient heat transfer from the base plate to the heatpipes.
The base contact surface is exceptionally even and the finish quality can serve as an example to follow for many other cooler makers.
The photos below show the thermal compound imprints from the RV770 and G200 GPUs on the surface of Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme base plate.
The ATI GPU imprint is perfect, while the imprint left by the Nvidia G200 graphics processor shows an obvious bump in the center and insufficiently tight contact along the sides, which is not surprising because the heat-spreader of this GPU is a little convex.
According to the specs, DuOrb heatsinks are cooled with two 90×20 mm fans (DuOrb cooler model used smaller 80×15 mm fans), although the TT-9220L marking on the fans rotors suggests that the fans are most likely 92 mm in diameter.
Both fans rotate with the same speed that can be set using a small regulator mounted on the power cable. The fans rotation speed may vary from 1000 to 2500 RPM. In this case the noise level should lie within the 16-20 dBA range and the maximum static pressure will be 1.25 mmH2O. The fans use fluid dynamic bearings that e good for 50,000 hours MTBF each. The blue fan LEDs will create an unforgettable beauty inside your system case (see a photo below).
Compatibility and Installation Tips
Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme is designed for mainstream and high-end graphics accelerators with high heat dissipation rates. You can’t install the new cooler on any ATI Radeon HD 47xx/46xx/45xx graphics cards although it may fit just fine onto Nvidia GeForce 8600 series. In order to install the cooler onto any of the graphics cards you must attach two steel retention plates to its base using the enclosed screws and insert threaded mounting spindles into the loops on their ends.
After that turn the cooler upside down and put the graphics card on top of it. Use the enclosed bushes with washers to push the graphics card against the cooler. Pretty quick and simple. And of course, do not forget about thermal interface.
When we installed this cooler onto a Radeon HD 4890 graphics accelerator the left heatsink hit against the output bracket grill, although we still completed the installation successfully.
We installed Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme cooler with a Thermalright VRM2 heatsink onto Radeon HD 4890. It looked as follows.This is what the graphics card with the cooler looks like inside the system case.
We couldn’t use the original Thermaltake heatsinks for VRM and video memory chips because their sticky layer was so weak that they didn’t hold on any of these chips and were falling off all the time. Moreover, we were pretty concerned with their efficiency considering how small they actually were.
Technical Specifications and Recommended Pricing
Don’t be surprised that there is no section describing the testing methodology for the today’s testing participants, testbed configuration and the used graphics accelerators. Everything is exactly the same as in our recent tests of Thermalright T-Rad2 GTX cooler. The only amendment is the absence of Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo solution from the list of included competitors (in order not to overlod the results charts).
Cooling Efficiency Tests
Radeon HD 4890
Here I would like to add that Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme and Thermalright T-Rad2 GTX were both tested with the VRM heatsink, because without it the temperature of VRM components was 30-35 °C higher than with it and easily past the 110-115 °C mark. We didn’t feel like risking the health of our graphics card at all. Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme was tested in three fan rotation speed modes: very quiet 1000 RPM, moderate acoustically comfortable 1550 RPM and maximum rotation speed of 2500 RPM.
In my opinion it makes absolutely no sense to compare the performance of Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme against that of the reference graphics card cooler, because these two solutions are totally incomparable in terms of generated noise (in DuOrb’s favor, of course). Therefore, we are going to pay primary attention to the competition between our today’s hero and Thermalright T-Rad2 GTX. So, the new solution yields to T-Rad2 GTX about 5 °C GPU temperature in very quiet fan mode of 1000 RPM. AT the same time, as soon as we increase the fans rotation speed to 1550 RPM the gap almost disappears. I would like to remind you that in this mode DuOrb Extreme remains a pretty quiet cooler even in this mode. And at the maximum speed of 2500 RPM the “double impact” cooler becomes a real “impact” for the high heat dissipation of the hot graphics card: it offers undefeated cooling efficiency for Radeon HD 4890. Even the howling reference cooler fan had to step back intimidated by Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme efficiency.
GeForce GTX 260
How well will Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme perform on overclocked graphics accelerators with Nvidia GPUs? Here are the results.
While on Radeon HD 4890 Thermalright T-Rad2 GTX cooler could somehow compete against Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme, then on GeForce GTX 260 it can only compete against the new Thermaltake solution in Ambient graphics card temperature, which is actually so low that no one will even notice if it reads 47 or 49 °C. However, when it comes to GPU temperature, DuOrb Extreme in quiet fan mode appears more efficient than T-Rad2 GTX with fans working at 1530 RPM. This is a very good result. We would expect that the humongous Accelero Xtreme GTX will be still quite far ahead of both testing participants.
GeForce GTX 275
And in conclusion let’s check out how well the new Thermaltake cooler runs on GeForce GTX 275 based graphics cards.
We don’t see a total advantage of DuOrb Extreme over T-Rad2 GTX anymore. These coolers are very close to one another in GeForce GTX 275 cooling efficiency.
After pretty unimpressive and unjustifiably expensive Thermaltake ISGC-300 and ISGC-400 CPU coolers, the new Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme left the most favorable impression. This is an extremely efficient cooler that can be used with the hottest contemporary single-GPU graphics accelerators (we are going to check out its performance with the new Radeon HD 5870 shortly). Moreover, the cooler’s noise levels are within the acoustic comfort zone for long-term use up until 1600 RPM. Even at the maximum speed of 2500 RPM DuOrb Extreme fans do not howl or crackle. Besides, the cooler is universal, very beautiful and has attractive LED lighting. The impeccable quality of manufacture is also one of the advantages of the new Thermaltake DuOrb Extreme.
As for the drawbacks, we have every right to mention the small aluminum heatsinks for the voltage regulator components bundled with the cooler, which don’t even stick to the cooled components securely enough. So far there is only one company that pays serious attention to VRM cooling while others regard this aspect as pretty insignificant, which is totally wrong. We are going to find out the retail price of the new cooler very soon and hopefully it won’t be as high as the price of the ISGC solutions. What else could we possibly think of here? Well, DuOrb Extreme and similar coolers do no oust (or oust only partially) the hot air outside the system case. However, as we mentioned in one of our previous reviews, which factor has minimal effect on the graphics processor temperature.
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