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Reviewed By: Carl Nelson [06.20.01]
Manufactured by: ThermalTake
Suggested Price: $??


Thermaltake Keeps Going and Going and...

Thermaltake is now known as one of the most prolific heatsink makers for the enthusiast crowd... It seems that every time they come out with a product, it is an improvement over the last.  We have reviewed 7 Tt coolers in the past year...

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  This cooler is all but out-of-date now.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.  It will even ship on Hercules video cards in the future - Highly recommended! 

  • Volcano II - A bit of an 'unconventional' cooler for Thermaltake, this low-priced heatsink is their best performer yet, and it is VERY quiet!

  • Mini Super Orb - All the power of a Super Orb in a narrow form factor to fit Abit (and other) motherboards!

  • Mini Copper Orb - This was supposed to be Tt's entry into the hardcore market, with a nice big (and heavy) copper insert... This was not to be, as it turned out it did not perform that much better than the Super Orb.  Most attribute this to the low speed fan used.

Thermaltake gets HARDCORE

The Orb line of coolers is what made Thermaltake famous.  It all started with the Golden Orb back in the P3 days (before T-Birds came out, when everyone had Pentium CPU's, at least those with PC's that worked properly).  With the exception of the Volcano II, they haven't strayed from the basic Orb design in most of their product line.  The rest of their coolers are manipulations of the Orb design, such as a taller one with twin fans, and one with a large copper insert.  However, no matter what Tt gave to us, we kept asking for more! Boy did we get something this time!

What you see is the highest end Orb now available.  It is also the highest of the three new "Dragon" Orbs recently unveiled at Computex in Taiwan.  What makes this one the best of the three?

  • Dragon Orb I - Aluminum base, 7200 RPM fan
  • Dragon Orb II - Aluminum base with internal copper fins, 7200 RPM fan
  • Dragon Orb III - Copper base, 7200 RPM fan

The Dragon Orb I seems to be just a regular Orb (like the Chrome Orb) with an upgraded fan.  The Dragon II has a neat copper fin in the middle, but we haven't gotten one for testing just yet.

The copper based used in the Dragon Orb III is similar to the one in the Mini Copper Orb, except that there is much more copper.  This makes for an EXTREMELY heavy cooler, but I didn't have any problems with installation or vibration.  All Dragons can be bought with an optional 4900 RPM fan if the noise bothers you (but you'll be giving up a lot in performance).

As you can see, there is a lot more copper on the Dragon Orb.  They have a lot more room because of the external 7200 RPM fan.  Thermaltake didn't mess around with this one, they saw no need for one or even two slow fans, they went all the way with a 7200 RPM monster.  Yes, this fan moves a lot of air, but to some, the high pitched whine can be excruciating.  

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