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Thermaltake Dragon Orb 3 HSF

By: Mike Wright | CPU Air Coolers in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Aug 7, 2001 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: Thermaltake

The Heatsink



The first thing noticed about this sink is the weight. It is HEAVY! This is because Thermaltake went with a different (and much better) approach at the heatsink itself. Many sinks have an aluminum body, and then a copper insert is placed in the base. Instead of following this convention, they used their standard aluminum base, bored out the center completely, and placed a huge copper slug all the way through. The top of the pillar has been made into something like a honeycomb design, and this allows the airflow to more readily dissipate the heat produced by the processor. Below is a better picture of the inside of the heatsink.



That copper you see extends all the way through the aluminum base and makes full contact with the processor core. Since the entire center portion is a single piece of copper, it weighs in at nearly 700 grams (about 1.5 pounds).



The base of the unit came with a different sort of thermal interface material, and I have been hearing that it is actually pretty good...but being a bit of the "Old School" type, I removed the offending substance and used my trusty Arctic Silver.


On an entertaining note, if you read the bottom of the heatsink you see a protective covering over the thermal goop. The picture is a bit hard to read, so here's what it says:


Tear off before use




I can completely understand why they would put something like this on their product considering these days of massive lawsuits, but it just seems to me that if someone doesn't know to remove this chunk of plastic, then they have no earthly reason to be even thinking of working on a computer.



Above is the new thermal interface they are using. They call it "BERGQUIST 225U". Like I stated before, it is supposed to be decent stuff, but I'll leave that decision up to you.


The Fan



One thing that I was very pleased to see was that Thermaltake finally got away from the dual fan design. The top (gold) section of the unit is the fan. It is offered in two flavors; Model A1132 comes with a 4900RPM fan that is rated at 32-CFM and only 31dBA of sound output. The other option is Model A1135 and includes a 7000RPM fan that is rated at 38-CFM and 37dBA sound.


I was sent the 7000RPM model for review so that we can take a hard look at its performance when compared to other top quality heatsinks. After all; when we overclock, we want a nice cool processor for the best results.



The fan housing can be removed from the unit by removing three screws. It is a single unit that includes both the fan shroud and the fan. The fan itself looked to be a pretty solid design, and was marked with the "Everflow" brand name on it.


The shroud, however, needs to have a bit of work done on it. I say this because it is made of a metal so soft, that it is very easy to bend it with almost no pressure at all. I found that just the act of shipping it caused it to become just slightly bent down. It was simple to bend it back into its proper shape, but if someone were to try to install it without checking, it is possible for the fan blades to become stuck against the protective shield on the top of the fan unit. Then there would be no cooling to the heatsink, and you'd have a very serious heating problem. Just make it out of a bit stronger metal and all would be well.


The Clipping Mechanism



I have heard a number of folks who have been installing heatsinks so much that they have managed to break off the center lug of the socket. So what do you do if you are in this situation? How about getting a heatsink that has a clip that uses all three lugs?


Both front and back clips of this sink use the three lug design. It is both good and bad, but I think that the good outweighs the bad by a fair margin. It's bad because it is an absolute bear to install. There is not a lot of room on many motherboards, and my Abit KT7A wasn't an exception. It takes a bit of maneuvering, but after a little wiggling, the heatsink will go onto all three lugs. Then comes the fun part...getting out your trusty screwdriver and forcing the front clip onto the other three lugs. It doesn't take a huge amount of force, but more than other clips that I have used.


Now for the good part of it. Simply put, when you install the heatsink with all six lugs, it DOES NOT MOVE! Many sinks still have some side to side movement after being installed. That is definitely not going to be the case with this one. It will maintain a steady pressure on the core and also not be affected in the event that the case gets jarred.


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