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Cool Your 8800 GT - The Duorb and HR-03 GT Reviewed

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The 8800 GT Cooling Issue

With all success of the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT graphics card over the past months it would be easy to think the card is a perfect specimen.  While that’s nearly the case, there is one area where enthusiasts have had some complaints and concerns: heat.  These things get HOT and while the single slot cooler NVIDIA provided for the card is keeping the chips alive you wouldn’t be along in worrying about how long that can last.  

What kind of temperatures are we looking at here?  Well, as an example:


Using the stock cooler on a stock 8800 GT graphics board (vendor doesn't matter in this case guys, it’s all the same cooler) we ran NVIDIA’s monitoring program in the background while playing some Crysis.  As you can, when we got back to Windows, the temperature being reported is 84C but in fact it was as high as 87C but dropped before I could hit the screen capture button.  

Talking with NVIDIA, they assured me that the chip could run without issues up to 100C, and while I believe them, I’d rather not find out and I would think most users who have shelled out their own cash for an 8800 GT don’t want to either.  

In fact, there are rumors floating around of a new reference 8800 GT cooler coming down the pipes with a future shipment of boards but I haven’t gotten answer from any board vendors or NVIDIA exactly when that will happen.  (Update: I have actually just verified that some of these new coolers are in the channel and have an XFX board coming from Newegg for testing now.)  Apparently this new cooler uses a larger fan, is still a single slot design, and will spin up more aggressively with the GPU load than the current cards.  That sounds nice and all, but that doesn’t help users who already have cards that are conscious of the heat issue.

There is help here though as both Thermaltake and Thermalright sent along samples of their new GPU coolers that are meant for GeForce 8-series cards. The Thermaltake Duorb and the Thermaltake HR-03 GT are going to be tested today and I’ll show you how they stack up against what NVIDIA gives you.

Thermaltake Duorb Specifications (from Thermaltake.com)

 
P/N CL-G0102
Compatibility nVIDIA 8800 GT/GTS/GTX/Ultra

nVIDIA 7900 GTX

nVIDIA 7800 GT/GTX

nVIDIA 6800 GS/GT

ATi X1950 PRO/XT/XTX

ATi X1900 GT/XT/XTX

ATi X1800 GTO/XL/XT

ATI HD 3870

Dimension (L)180.5 x (W)98.5 x (H)30 mm
Heatsink Material Copper base & Copper Fin
Heatpipe ø 6 mm x 2pcs
Fan Dimension ø 80 x 15 mm x 2pcs
Rated Voltage 12V
Started Voltage 7 V
Max.Air Flow 23.8 CFM
Max. Air Pressure 2.9 mmH2O
Fan Speed 2500 RPM
Life Expectation 50,000 hrs
Connector 4 pin
Weight 324g

Thermalright HR-03 GT Specifications (from Thermalright.com)

 
˙ A maximum of 6 heatpipes for maximum amount of heat transfer to work with any of 92mm or smaller fans for best configuration to suit your needs
˙ Proprietary two-heatsinks-soldered-to-form-as-one design to maximize cooling capacity
˙ 6 heatpipes soldered immensely close to heatsink fins to increase heat transfer efficiency
˙

Two ways of mounting the cooler on video card for best space and configuration management in ATX and BTX form factor cases

˙ Light weight and easy no-tool installation
˙ SLI compatible for serious gaming enthusiasts
˙ Cosmetically contoured design for that vanity look

Dimension:
L133 x W156 x H38 mm (heatsink
only)

Weight: 410g (heatsink only)  Recommended Fan (92x25mm)

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