A long time ago when there weren't that many coolers available for chipsets, you had to mod your own. We did that a while ago when we wanted to overclock our Voodoo card. Since then, it has been easier due to manufacturers producing coolers aimed at chipset cooling.
One of these manufacturers is ThermalTake, which is responsible for the quite popular Blue Orb cooler. Cheap and efficient, it's a snap to install and does a good job of cooling your video card. Since then, TT has gone and ventured even deeper into making the perfect the chipset cooler. They have just released the Crystal Orb which has a major difference than the Blue Orb, the Crystal Orb has a copper base with nickel plating.
Here are some specs on the unit itself straight off of TTs website:
- Fan Dimension: 50x50x15 mm
- Rated Voltage: 12V
- Started Voltage: 7V
- Rated Current: 0.16A(Max.)
- Power Input: 1.92W
- FAN Speed: 5500±10% RPM
- Air Pressure: 4.1mm- H2O
- Max. Air Flow: 12.4CFM
- Noise: 26.4dBA Bearing
- Type: Ball Bearing
- Lift Time: 50,000 Hours
- Connector: 3 Pin Base
- Material: Copper Base with Nickel Plating
The immediate change from the previous Blue Orb is the nice new shine and shape of the unit. Included with the package is 3pin-4pin convertor, a small piece (~1X1in) strip of thermal tape, blister pack of thermal goop and two (2) plastic push pins. This is all you need to get lower temperatures and maybe higher overclocks on your video card.
The unit itself, like the Blue Orb, was designed mainly for GeForce2 and above cards. With a little modification, you may be able to use it on different cards. Please check to make sure it will fit. The base is lapped to a smooth shine, comparing it again to the Blue Orb, it is definitely a lot smoother. There is now a fan guard above the fan. I remember constantly getting pinched by the fan on the Blue Orb when installing other components. Good thinking TT!
So how exactly does this new cooler perform? We will be using the same exact setup we had when we tested our Blue Orb. This should give you a good idea of what you can expect. Putting them side by side, the Blue Orb and Crystal Orb are about the same size. The fan speed and the sound level (dBA) are the same also. Let us see if the copper base helps out at all.
Here is the same card we will be using with the Blue Orb still attached. We have been using it since our review and we were not planning to take it out until now. Our temperature checks will be done using our CompuNurse temperature probe:
Our trusty old test rig is as follows:
IWill KK266 Socket A Motherboard
AMD Thunderbird 800Mhz CPU
Crucial PC133 CL2 Ram, 128MB
evga GeForce 2MX 32mb
The test will consist of an idle temperature check and a full load temperature check. The full load will be accomplished by using the 3DMark 2001 for 30 minutes.
evga GeForce2 MX (stock)
|Ambient Temp. = 27C
|ThermalTake Crystal Orb
Temperatures are very close from these tests. Our next step was to see if this new orb could help us oc the card a little bit more. We had originally clocked it at 205/210 using the Blue Orb. We did most of our overclocking using Power Strip. We tried going higher but distortion was seen on the card at any speeds higher than what we had before. It might be our cards ram holding us back and not the actually heat.
Don't plan on getting this unit and hoping that it will overclock your card to speeds beyond your imagination, it doesn't work that way. But definitely do get it to lower your video cards chipset temperature, lower temperatures is always a good thing!
At a low cost, this may be the next item that takes over for the Blue Orb. Cooling at a lower temperature than before at the same price tag makes it a winner. Just like the Blue Orb, this will block one PCI slot. Make sure you have enough to spare before diving in for the buy.
Thanks to Kenny for sending us out a sample, these guys at TT rock with their Orbs!