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Reviewed By: Carl 'lowlight' Nelson [11.4.00]
Manufactured by: ThermalTake
Suggested Price: $25

Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane?

In our Chrome Orb review, we talked about the need for a well-designed cooler that wouldn't crush Socket A CPU's.  When the Thunderbirds and Durons were first introduced, one of the most popular of CPU coolers was the Golden Orb (reviewed here).  The Golden Orb was popular mainly because of its price.  It could be found easily for well under $20 - usually $15 or so.  Compare that to what people were charging for Alphas and similar coolers - upwards of $30-50.  The Golden Orb cooled well enough for Pentium 3 CPU's; they didn't get very hot in the first place.

Athlons and Durons are a whole other ball game, however.  ThermalTake released a couple redesigns of the original Golden Orb that would fit on Socket-A processors, before finally going with the Chrome Orb, which has a large square base to make use of the little feet on the CPU's (thus keeping the heatsink stable).

Unfortunately, our tests revealed that the Chrome Orb didn't quite have the horse power to keep the scorching-hot Athlons and Durons cool at overclocked speeds.  In fact, our Chrome Orb was only capable of keeping our Athlon "Blue Core" 750 Mhz CPU stable at 950.  The Copper Hedgehog kept it going at 1 Ghz easily.

Hell No! It's SUPER ORB!

We spoke, and ThermalTake listened.  I am glad the realized that, while a great performer with the cooler Pentium chips, and lower-clocked Athlons and Durons, the Chrome Orb just wasn't cutting it at speeds around 1 Ghz.  They needed to release a cooler that, like the Chrome Orb before it, was affordable, easy to install, and quiet.  Most of all, it had to maintain the cool Orbish design :)

This is what they came up with.  The Super Orb is a full 3 cm taller than the Chrome Orb! That is over an inch! That is almost TWICE the height of the original Chrome Orb!

What good is all that surface area if you can't move heat off it, right? That is why the Super Orb comes equipped with TWO fans, one on top of the other.  One fan spins slightly faster than the other, moving 23.1 CFM, and the other moves 21 CFM.  Combined, they perform VERY well, but also make a hell of a lot of noise.  The noise produced by the Super Orb is nothing compared to the obnoxious wail of the GlobalWin FOP-38, but it is noticeable, especially compared to the relative quiet hum of the Chrome Orb.

We're not going to bother inundating you with benchmarks running just the top fan, then the bottom fan, etc... Just know that two fans are better than one, and that is how you should run your Super Orb.

Smooth as a Baby's Ass

Unlike every other CPU cooler in the Orb series, the Super Orb does not come with thermal interface material pre-applied.  ThermalTake realises that most Super Orb buyers are high-end users, looking for the ultimate in cooling (and in this case, at an affordable price).  Instead, the Super Orb comes packaged with some basic heatsink paste.  ThermalTake is betting that you have some better stuff anyway, such as Arctic Silver, which is what we use here at hardCOREware.

How do you work that thing?

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