IntroductionOver the past year I have looked at several high performance heatsinks from various manufacturers. The mould has stayed the same for nearly all of the coolers; build it tall and put large 120mm fans that push the air to the top or rear of the case and hope a case fan removes the air quickly. This is a very efficient way to cool a processor, but it leaves pockets of air around the motherboard. The result is that many other board manufacturers needed to make larger heatsinks for their components. One company even went as far as including a fan to cool the VRM chips. These take up more area around the processor and were a direct call to heatsink manufacturers not to neglect the motherboard components, otherwise the motherboards heatsinks were going to start invading the CPU coolers territory. Thermaltake has responded to the complaints of the motherboard manufacturers in a big way; they've brought the Orb design back into the big leagues. This time it's as a twin fan that will not only cool your processor, but your memory, back side of your graphics card and motherboard as well.The new Thermaltake DuOrb is closely related to the VGA cooler that goes by the same name which we looked at in our mega 9-Way VGA Round-Up a while back. The CPU variant will look very good in a system that uses both coolers; something that Thermaltake must have considered when building the DuOrb coolers. Let's dive in and see if the DuOrb is just another pretty face that doesn't meet the hype, or if Thermaltake has given enthusiasts a product they can really use.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Thermaltake DuOrb CPU Cooler is ready to tackle just about any modern socket processor by the looks of the specification sheet. One issue will affect a small number of readers running motherboards that position the system memory in an odd location. This is actually not a problem with the memory, but the way the socket bracket is arranged. If your memory is located at the top of your motherboard, please check compatibility if you are running dual GPU graphics. If you are running a single graphics card, you will need to move the card to the lower PCI-E slot. The cooler uses two 80mm fans to cool up to today's flagship CPUs. On paper, it appears like the cooler will be able to keep your dual and quad core processors cool even during overclock situations. This is done by sheer mass; the cooler uses a copper base, copper and aluminum fins and the two fans. Everything about the DuOrb appears to be super sized. For overclockers, the DuOrb offers something that few other enthusiast coolers do these days. Since the fans blow down, they will aid in cooling motherboards and VGA components like VRMs on the motherboards and the top side of your graphics card. The Thermaltake DuOrb is available from a number of e-tail and retail vendors. I was able to find the cooler for 65.00 US Dollars here in the States e-tail and 79.00 Dollars at local retailers. The DuOrb VGA cooler has dropped into the mid 30 Dollar range, so if you are really into accessorizing your system you could pick both of them up for less than a hundred.
Thermaltake lists all of the possible CPU configurations right on the front of the package, taking the guesswork out of choosing a cooler at a retail location. As you can see, the cooler is visible in the window on the front; this is a clear indication of how large the cooler actually is.
The specifications are listed on the side as is a disclaimer about installing the cooler on some AMD motherboards.
The back of the package lists a couple of the features and includes a couple of images of the product in action.
This side of the package shows detailed images of the cooler and illustrates some of the key features.
The cooler is packaged in a moulded plastic to keep it safe during shipping.
The DuOrb is a large cooler that stands off the motherboard to clear surrounding components. The cooler also comes with a cable that is long enough to connect to any of the motherboards built in 3-pin connectors.
The outer row of cooling fins are made of copper; there is an inner row on the cooler that is made of aluminium.
Here is the inner row of aluminium fins. As you can see, they only get a single heatpipe but maximize the amount of cooling for the DuOrb.
The sides are identical; Thermaltake has used the same fins on several products and they have proven to do a good job dissipating energy into the air.
The two sides are a mirror image of each other before they are powered. Once activated, one fan glows red and the other is blue.
The base of the DuOrb is smooth to the touch yet shows some light machine marks.
Here we get a closer look at the DuOrb's six heatpipes and the way they are configured in relation to the fins.
Accessories and Documentation
Accessories and Documentation
The mounting hardware is a little different from some of the other coolers we have looked at from Thermaltake. On the Intel side, you must remove your motherboard from the case to install the DuOrb. AMD users that have the mounting bracket behind the board can retain its use; if you happen to have lost the original bracket, Thermaltake includes an extra.
The manual for the DuOrb covers installation with images and along the side a short description is included. Thermaltake included a smaller paper that talks about installing the cooler on a small number of AMD motherboards that mount with the screws facing the back and front of the case. If your motherboard is configured like this, you might lose the upper most PCI-E slot.
Test ResultsTweakTown uses a different method for testing CPU heatsinks which allows for an even playing field across all product tests. We feel that by using the same ambient temperature and strict lab-like testing procedures we are able to accurately compare one product to another. More information on our testing procedure can be found in the T.E.C.C. article here.
The Thermaltake DuOrb does a really good job scaling between idle and full load. This is due to the mass of the cooler and the fans ability to move a great deal of air at full tilt. Cooling performance wise, the cooler is able to keep up with Thermaltake's Pro Water 850i cooler we looked at last week; very impressive.
By using dual 80mm fans, the DuOrb had the potential to be a noisy beast; yet Thermaltake resisted the urge to use aggressive fans making the DuOrb fairly quiet. I was surprised to see the cooler came in quieter than the Pro Water and the MaxOrb/MaxOrb EX we previously reviewed.
Final ThoughtsWith good temperatures, quiet operation and the ability to cool secondary components, the Thermaltake DuOrb is a good CPU cooler for those looking to overclock a dual-core processor to respectable levels. Quad-Core processors can also overclock with this cooler, but to a lesser extent. Don't get me wrong, the DuOrb is a performer, but we have seen a couple of other coolers in this price range, around 65 US Dollars that can perform better. The sheer mass of the cooler does allow temperatures to stay consistent at idle and full load; a big plus for overclockers.The dual 80mm fans are quiet for an enthusiast class cooler. I would have liked to have seen the fans scale a little higher in terms of RPM. This would allow the cooler to move into the outrageous cooling class, but this would have increased the acoustic footprint and put more load on the motherboards built in power circuitry. Aside from good cooling, the DuOrb will look good with the DuOrb VGA cooler and it is easy for me to recommend both products if you are running a system with a clear case side. Both DuOrb products really complement each other in both looks and performance.
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Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.
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