[review]13 VGA coolers Roundup


In nowadays, NVIDIA and ATI seem facing the same problem as what CPU industry faced 4 years ago: Too many transistors in a single core, huge power consumption and high temperature. For example, a Intel Wolfdale CPU has 0.41 billion transistors and features 65W TDP, while a NVIDIA GTX200 has 1.5 billion transistors and features 170W TDP. Even the smaller one, a AMD RV770 also has 0.956 billion transistors and features 160W TDP. In terms of number, GPU can easily beat CPU.

Accordingly, No one can tell who is faster, but GPU is surely much hotter than CPU. Unfortunately, most high-end graphics cards just come with weak coolers. They fail to surpress great heat of the core. The following table indicates how hot a GPU can be.

With a reference cooler, A HD4850/70 reach 79C even it’s idle, which will be hell for the PCB. Some people try modifying the BIOS to speed up the fan, but that will bring amplified noise. In fact, a reference cooler fail to surpress high-end cards. Then third part coolers come on the stage.

Three features of the third part cooler market:

Air cooling domination

Cooling industry believe water cooling will substitue air cooling since 2003 for its efficiency. However, many years covered and air cooling still dominates in the market. That’s because water cooling also features some disadvantages such as high price, big building, dangerous for machine and transformation after years of use. So when heatpipe technology was introduced into Air cooling, people trend to air cooling again.

Heatpipe technology

The working substance inside a heatpipe transform from gaseous state to liquid state, to conduct heat at a much higher speed comparing to heatsink. Thus most VGA coolers feature heatpipe technology. In fact, this technology has been used on most components of PC.

Multiple platform compatibility

High-end VGA coolers feature 2-6 kinds of mounting-hole pitch making them compatible to most Graphics Cards. As the folowling chart shows, the ZEROthrem HC 92 Cu8800 provide 3 types of mounting-hole pitch supporting 12 types of graphics cards.

mounting-hole pitch

ATI HD 4800 series and NVIDIA GeForce 9 series feature 53mm pitch to fit most cooler well. Unfortunately, GTX 200 series feature 62mm pitch. Old coolers no longer support this pitch, they must add a new set of holes to fit GTX 200.

Other features in the third part VGA cooler market include:

  • Dual fans design popular
  • Air flue against GPU directly
  • weight reduction and humanization
13 VGA coolers’s specification and price
ZEROtherm HC92 Cu8800
ZEROtherm GX820
Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 Rev.2
Thermaltake DuOrb
Thermalright HR-03 GT
Thermalright V2
Coolink GFXChilla
Thermalright T-Rad2
AC Twin Turbo
Compatibility of the thirteen cards
Platform setup
The software and testing method
Benchmark Results

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16 Responses to “[review]13 VGA coolers Roundup”

  1. Babyfish Says:

    Wow, awesome review!!!

  2. Pepelu Says:

    Great review, I only miss some noise tests and adding the new Scythe Musashi to this roundup.

  3. Xajel Says:

    Very good review, sorry eXpreview I thought you were late with the AC TwinTurbo review as I thought it will be only one cooler !!

    but I must thank you for this great detailed review !!

  4. kin Says:

    Thank you for your attenton and support~
    In fact, the Chinese version of this review counts for 30,000 Chinese characters.
    I can just translate small parts of it. I think you can read the Chinese version too!

    here is the link(google translate)

  5. JeGX Says:

    Nice review and nice work kin (must be a little bit boring to change all these coolers…). Glad to see that FurMark is useful for your reviews!

  6. Paul Says:

    Awesome review! I’m glad that you chose coolers that are relevant to today’s market and are ones that could be found in any person’s set-up.

    I was wondering if you could do a comparison between the T-Rad and the AC S1 with each one using two 92mm fans. It would be great to see the results because I’m sure many people who have the AC S1 have it set up with two 92mm fans (including me).

    Thanks again!

  7. MuGoY Says:

    Thermalright did it again! T-Rad2 is the king. I have HR03-GT and now it is time to upgrade :)

  8. Math del Says:

    Really cool but for me the essentiel is the noise and there is no noice test :(

  9. MotherAlgeria Says:

    Good work

    go to bay T-Rad2 :D

  10. vekkth Says:

    great review thanks a lot. i am using PCCOOLER HP3-851 (sold by IceHammer as IH650) with 2 120mm ZM F3 fans, i have to say its the best price/cooling/noise solution i’ve yet to find. with F3s set on 7v i have virtually noisless setup that cools very well and costs around 40$.

  11. Bobby Says:

    It’s a shame the HR-03 Plus was not included. I still use it from my old 3870 to 8800GT and now on my 4870. Beats every other cooler I have tested when installed with a Sharkloon 120mm fan.
    And it bested the T-Rad2, so would of been nice to see it being compared to these other coolers.

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