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Reviewed By: Carl 'lowlight' Nelson [02.15.01]
Manufactured by: ThermalTake
Suggested Price: $20

Thermaltake is About to Erupt!

This Volcano II Review marks our 5th Thermaltake product review! We have pretty much every one of their coolers covered, except the Mini Super Orb - watch for that one next week.

I'll start off with a basic roundup of our experiences with Thermaltake's Orb products:

  • Golden Orb - The original cooler that made Thermaltake famous.  This cooler is all but out-of-date now.  I wouldn't suggest picking one up anymore, but in their time, they were great for the cooler P3 chips, such as the P3 500... Old news now, however.

  • Chrome Orb - As soon as Thermaltake started hearing of people crushing their AMD Durons and Thunderbirds with the Golden Orb, they redesigned it and released it as the Chrome Orb.  It now fits those AMD CPUs, and they also improved on some things.  They put a better fan on it, and it has a smoother surface.  It cools better, and if you want a good middle-end cooler on the cheap, definitely look into a Chrome Orb.

  • Super Orb - Currently the most expensive orb you can get (at $25.. gee).  It is basically a Chrome Orb that is double the size and has two fans, on top of one another.  This makes for a very unique cooler, and it performs quite well for its price.  The two fans make it quite loud however.

  • Blue Orb - This is a great little chipset/video card cooler! Definitely better than the stock heatsink that comes with most video cards.  It comes with everything you need to install it on any video card.  Highly recommended! 

And Now, For Something a Little Different

Thermaltake decided to do something a little different for their latest new cooler, the Volcano II.  As you can see, they took a more traditional approach in designing it.  Is Thermaltake a one trick pony?

Basically, the Volcano II is intended to be a low-cost alternative to coolers like the GlobalWin FOP and the basic Alpha. A quick look around the more popular cooler web-stores (the ones that had them, anyway) showed that you can get the Volcano II for a cool $20.  That is great, even cheaper than the Super Orb! 

We all know that the Super Orb performs quite well for the price, but there are two problems I had it.  Firstly, with the two fans blowing on each other, it was VERY loud for my tastes.  Still, I stuck with it because of the price.  Another problem many have is fitting it onto their Abit KT7 motherboards.  I didn't have a problem bending the electrolytic capacitors out of the way, but many do.  The Mini Super Orb (review coming soon) remedies that problem, but it's still loud.

Ssssssh... He's sleeeeeeeeping

The Volcano II pushes an amazing 36 CFM at a very low RPM of 4500.  This makes for an incredibly quiet, cooler.  You might be familiar with how loud the FOP38 (and other 38CFM fans) can be, so this is a welcome change.  Just 2 CFM lower, but very quiet!

What good is a quiet cooler if it doesn't perform well? Does it?

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