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Reviewed By: Carl Nelson [10.20.00]
Manufactured by: ThermalTake
Suggested Price: $15


Shall We Try This Again?

Remember when the Socket A Athlons and Durons just came out? The Durons were especially noted for their great overclocking ability, such as 600 Mhz processors running at 900 Mhz (as is the case in the 900 Mhz PC we are giving away).  Those chips got hot though - simple cooling wasn't going to cut it.

A popular choice for cooling Pentium 3's was the Golden Orb (reviewed here).  Its main draw was its price - it normally sold for almost half the price of a typical 'high end' CPU cooler, around $15 or so.  ThermalTake also made models for Slot-based CPU's, but the most popular by far was the socket 370-based Golden Orb.

When the Socket A processors came out, budget-minded people were picking them up as fast as they could, hoping to get a nice free 300 Mhz from a ~$100 CPU.  These same people, being budget-minded, wanted the cheapest, best performing cooler they could get their hands on - The Golden Orb.

There was a problem though.  The Socket Golden Orb was intended to be used on Socket 370 CPU's only! Little did these cheapos know, their $100 Durons were actually slightly taller than the P3's the Golden Orbs were designed for.  The Horror Stories came flooding in: "I was installing the Golden Orb on my Duron, and when I twisted it on, I heard a weird crunching sound...".

ThermalTake quickly designed a new clip for the Golden Orb, allowing it to be used on our favourite Socket A CPU's.  Unfortunately, this wasn't enough either... Socket A AMD CPU's have little 'feet' to stabilize the installed heatsink.  This didn't work perfectly well with the round shape of the original Golden Orb.  Something needed to be done.

If you look around, you'll find that the early 'Socket A Golden Orb' reviews vary quite a bit... Some have the original Golden Orb with a clip rather than a twist-on, and some have Golden Orbs with the clip, and some weird attachments to the bottom of the heatsink, to make use of the feet of the CPU.  In fact, ThermalTake had sent us the original Socket A Golden Orb for review... It didn't work very well for us, so we waiting for The Real Thing... Man, it was certainly worth the wait!

Can You See The Difference?

As you can see, the final model of the "Golden Orb for Socket A CPU's" is chrome, and the mounting surface has been entirely redesigned.  What you are looking at is the final Chrome Orb sitting next to the first "Socket A Golden Orb".

The Chrome Orb pictured here is right out of the box, right before we removed that pesky "Thermal Interface Material"... Get rid of that crap, I wanna put on some Arctic Silver Paste! :)

It is very easy to remove the stock heatsink goo... First, scrape off most of it with SOMETHING SOFT.  I can NOT emphasize this enough! Do NOT use a screwdriver or a putty knife!!! I used my thumb nail.  To get rid of the excess goo, rub it off with some Goof Off (found at Home Depot) or some people use Carburetor Cleaner (probably the same people who buy Celerons).  Carb Cleaner contains the same solvent as Goof Off, but is a bit messier, because the cap is made to pour.

The final result is something your pet raccoon couldn't be without:

Smooth as a Baby's Ass

One thing I really like about ThermalTake's Orb series is the looks... These things have got to be the coolest (ahem) looking coolers (cough) out there! The Chrome colour looks even better than the gold, if you ask me.

It goes beyond just colour though... According to ThermalTake's Product Pages, the Chrome Orb slightly excels above the Golden Orb.  Here are some differences:

Chrome Orb Golden Orb
Fan RPM 5500 RPM 4500 RPM
Fan Noise 29 dBA 26 dBA
Air Volume 22 CFM 20 CFM
Thermal Interface Material Chomerics T725 Dow Corning 340 Grease
Thermal Resistance Theta ja = 0.81c/w Theta ja = 0.98c/w

They're installing better fans on the Chrome Orbs.  Also, the Thermal Interface Material we immediately removed is different... I can't say for sure, but it's probably better too.  Thermal Resistance has also improved quite significantly.

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