Like other Orb coolers of the past, this one comes completely enclosed. It consists of a 50mm x 50mm x 15mm fan that is encapsulated in a silver colored casing. The fan spins at 5500 RPM and blows 12.4-CFM. Sound output of the fan is only 26 dBA, so it won't be a strain on those with tender ears. It also draws less than two watts of power, so if you're getting close to the limit on your current power supply, then this cooler shouldn't put you over the edge. It also uses a ball bearing fan device, so it will last you for a good while (approx. 50,000 hours according to the spec sheets). It uses a standard 3-pin connector that can be hooked to your motherboard, but there was also a handy converter present to make it into a 4-pin Molex. While the strain won't be a problem for current motherboard fan headers, if you don't have any left, you can still hook to a spare PSU connector.
Also included is a small packet containing Dow Corning T-340 Thermal Grease. Since I'm not an advocate of silicone grease, I went head and used my normal Arctic Silver compound for testing. It was a nice addition, however, since not everyone happens to have the "Silver Stuff" sitting around.
Finally, there were a couple of punch-pins (my term, not necessarily Thermaltake's) for installing the cooler to the chipset. They are shorter than many since the mounting area of this cooler is much lower than most stock sinks. This will allow for a proper fit of the cooler and allow for the best performance.
When I looked at the box when it first arrived, it said that it had a copper base. When I removed the sink from the box, I didn't see any copper. I was figuring something was wrong, but the sink was just too heavy to be aluminum. So I did a bit of snooping on the Thermaltake website and discovered that it has a copper base that has been plated with Nickel. So now that the mystery was solved, it was time to check it out a bit.
The base, thanks to the nickel plating, is absolutely smooth except for the three holes that are used to mount the fan to it. There is no rough edges, no swirls from the cutting of the base metal, no lapping needed. Just use your favorite interface material and install this baby. This is very nice indeed!
Since graphics chipsets are about the toughest beasts to keep cool, I decided to use this means of testing the cooling prowess of the Crystal Orb. I installed it on a Prolink GeForce3 video board since they are known to have the habit of warming right up. We're here to see if this new cooler works, and I figured this to be about the best way to make sure.
As we can see, the Crystal Orb cooler fit right onto the board. The standard holes used to mount a stock heatsink are perfectly matched to the mounting holes for this cooler. It was a very simple matter to apply the Arctic Silver, carefully lay the Crystal Orb on top while lining up the mounting holes, and then inserting the push pins to complete the process. That's all it took to install it. Below is a closer look at the installed sink…
One thing that I noticed was that the excess air that will be coming from the sides of the sink should do a very nice job of blowing onto the RAM sinks. While I can't say that it was an intentional designing goal of the cooler, it certainly is a nice touch.
Here is the graphics card installed back into the system with the Crystal Orb in place. It will block off the first PCI slot due to its height, but since that slot shares an address with the AGP port anyway, it is very seldom used. Mine is always empty for that very reason so it's hard say too much bad about it. Besides, if it works well, then the added ability to overclock the video card will be worth the unused slot that it eats in the system.