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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [05.31.04]
Manufactured by: Gigabyte

Est. Street Price: $50-60

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Gigabyte  = High End Heatsinks??

Yes, that's right, Gigabyte, most well known for it's motherboard and video card line has been doing some serious product lineup expansion.  Not only do they now produce a full range of Heatsinks, they have also expanded into Wireless Networking, Desktop, Notebook and Mini PCs, Peripherals, Optical Drives, and yes, even LCD Monitors!  If anything Gigabyte can be given kudos for stepping out beyond the stereotypical motherboard manufacturer product box.

As we all know however, it is one thing to simply create a product and another to do it well. Will expanding into such a wide range of products stretch Gigabyte's resources, or can they pull it off?  Although we obviously cannot predict the future (not yet...but someday), we can probably get a pretty good idea how they will fare from some of their initial product offerings. With that in mind let's stop the chitter chatter and get on with things shall we?

Wow...that's....Unique

Now most companies might decide to play it safe when entering into a new area of competition. Not so for Gigabyte. Instead of slapping a giant fan on a giant copper cube and calling it a cooler they went out and designed something both technically sound yet interesting enough to stand out. Enter the 3D Cooler-Ultra 2004 GT Edition. How's that for a mouthful!

The Ultra GT (as it shall be forthwith referred to) has a universal socket design and is rated for the P4 3.4, Athlon XP 3200+, Athlon 64 3400+ and beyond.  The cooler features a 100% copper heatsink design, a dual inlet central blower fan, 4 way heat pipe technology, linear fan speed and noise controller, LED light display as well as universal tool free installation.

 

All pertinent specs are listed below.  For a complete list of specs visit Gigabyte's website.

Model No.: GH-PCU31-VH
CPU Socket: Universal
Dimensions(H/S): 83x89x93
Fan Speed: 2000 ~ 4500 rpm
Fan Noise: 19.2 ~ 42.0 dBA
Rated Voltage: 4 ~ 12 V
Rated Current: 0.9 A
Voltage Rating: 4.0 ~ 12.0 V
Connector: 4 Pin (Power Input), 3 Pin (Speed Control), 3 Pin (Motherboard Sensor)
Weight: 780g

Wide Load Comin' Through

Aside from being incredibly heavy (Well over 2x the recommended weight for socket A coolers) the Ultra GT is also incredibly wide. The full girth of the cooler however is not top to bottom, and the contact area which clips onto the socket is actually no wider than the socket itself. The circular copper fins are located far enough above the socket itself (separated by the heat pipes) to clear any transistor obstacles on any motherboard.

With the fins overhanging the socket itself installation inside an enclosed case is however extremely tough. It's worth the effort to remove your motherboard from your tower case before installing this puppy.

The weight of the cooler will be a major issue the more mobile users. I was actually quite afraid of mounting the Ultra GT onto a motherboard that was to be transported anywhere...which is why of course I had to do it.

As a test I hooked up a complete socket system (albeit and older one) inside a large tower case with the Ultra GT installed.  I then proceeded to pack it with the cooler motherboard side on top into the back of my car and drove over the bumpiest road I could find. I then came back home and ran up the stairs to my home bouncing the tower all the way before visually inspecting the insides and firing the traveled tower back up.

To my thankful surprise everything stayed in tact, no socket tabs or motherboard header tabs were snapped and everything fired up fine. Obviously this isn't a foolproof test, but it at least made me feel better about using this cooler in an upright tower case setup.

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