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Thermalright V1 Ultra
Aftermarket VGA Cooler
Thermalright is well known for making high-end CPU heatsinks, so it is no surprise
that they have an offering for VGA cards. The V1 Ultra is the successor of the
original V1 cooler, which was rendered obsolete when ATI and nVidia released
their latest generation of GPUs. Aside from fixing compatibility, the V1 Ultra
also adds a third heatpipe.
Thermalright has dealt with the space constraints around the VGA card by relocating
the most bulky parts. A medium-sized passive heatsink provides a small amount
of direct cooling, but the bulk of the heat is transferred to a smaller heatsink
that is suspended 6mm above the back of the card. A low profile 80 mm fan dissipates
heat away from the heatsink. For cards that require extra cooling, an second
fan can be attached to the passive heatsink.
All these heatsinks and fans make the cooler quite thick. Like the NV Silencer,
the heatsink protrudes into the slot below the card, preventing its use. The
fan and heatsink on the top also add take up space equivalent to another two
slots, rendering any slots above the card useless as well. The V1 Ultra
is unlikely to work well in a dual VGA configuration, since even if the fan
can be forced to fit, the fan on the lower card will likely end up blowing all
of the heat from the upper card down onto the lower card.
Thermalright's signature brown box and a wide gamut of bits and pieces.
|Heat sink (base,
front): L30 × W24 × H2 (mm)
Heat sink (body, front): L80 × W80 × H20 (mm)
Heat sink (body, rear with fan): L80 × W80 × H28.5
Rear heat sink to VGA card: 6 mm
|| 310g (heat sink only)
Size: 80 × 80 × 15 (mm)
Bearing: Two Balls
Speed: 2500 rpm
Air Flow: 24.84CFM
Noise Level: 31.3 dBA
Radeon 9800, X700*, X800*, X850, X1800*, X1900* (*: Check for details)
GeForce 6600*, 6600 GT*, 6800, 6800GT, 6800 Ultra, 7300GS, 7600G, 7800GT,
7800 GTX, 7900 GT,
(*: Check for details)
Individual components add up: The V1 Ultra is exceptionally thick.
Passive base in the foreground, main heatsink in the background.
A low profile 80mm fan is included, but a standard fan can be used if there's
A trio of heatpipes move heat away from the GPU.
Installing the V1 Ultra was much more complex than the NV Silencer. The cooler
was designed to work with a wide range of cards, so instead of fixed position bolts, it uses
a bracket with adjustable arms that can adapt to various configurations of mounting
holes. The system is somewhat similar to those used in some northbridge heatsinks
(Zalman's come to mind).
There were two main steps and numerous intermediate steps in the installation.
Step one: The bracket was screwed onto the card in preparation for step two:
The heatsink was screwed onto the bracket. The difficult part was the first
step, which was imprecise and required a little experimentation. And, despite
an instruction booklet that is well illustrated and looks complete, there were
a number of small details that needed to be figured out on their own.
Problems arose from the very beginning, starting with the cushion pad that
is intended to protect the delicate corners of the GPU while maneuvering the
heatsink into place. Unfortunately, the cushion was too small to fit around
the twin chips on our card; had we left it in place the heatsink would not have
made good contact. In addition, the metal frame around the chip did not allow
the cushion to lie flat. Oddly, the cushion didn't seem to be very well matched
with the mounting bracket either, as two of the edges would not have provided
any cushioning at all. Eventually, we gave up and installed the cooler without
This soft silicone pad is designed to protect the GPU chip, but it was too
small to fit our card.
The next challenge was to install the bracket. Unlike the NV Silencer, which
used all four of the available mounting holes, the V1 Ultra used only two flimsy
machine screws to hold the bracket in place. In fact, the screws weren't even
attached to the bracket itself; instead, they screwed into metal arms that were
then attached to the bracket. The illustration below shows the correct installation.
Tension on the bracket is controlled by the tightness of the machine screws,
which bend the arms as they are tightened.
The arms themselves are worthy of note. Thermalright includes two sets of arms,
a long set and a short set. Contrary to the advice in the instruction booklet,
we found it best to use the longer arms to avoid warping the bracket. Although we were able to complete the installation with the
short arms, they did not allow the bracket to lie flat under tension.
The fully installed bracket felt quite flimsy, and seemed unlikely to hold
the cooler in place if the card is dropped or jostled in transit. The individual
screws and the threads on arms also seemed less secure than they should have
The bracket, fully installed.
The next step was to maneuver the heatsink into place. Thankfully, this was
much easier than installing the bracket, although it too required several intermediate
steps. First of all, the RAM chips had to be cooled. Thermalright includes six
individual heatsinks for the RAM chips which were easily applied by peeling
off the protective backing and sticking them in place. However, our card, like
most others, shipped with eight RAM chips, not six.
This was no accident; the remaining two chips are cooled by the main heatsink
via an extra-thick heatpad. Two 1mm pads and a 2mm pad are included so that
the height of the pad can be adjusted from 1~4mm. For our card, the single 2mm
pad was adequate. The pad needed to be applied before we slid the heatsink onto
The heatpipes extend well above the top edge of the card.
The main heatsink would have slipped easily over the end of the card were it
not for the aluminum backplate from the NV Silencer. This backplate was left
in place for all of the coolers, since the NV Silencer was the only model to
ship with a rear-mounted heatsink. As it was, it took a little force to move
it into position but everything worked out in the end. The heatsink was secured
to the bracket with four hefty machine screws that pulled the bracket up so
it was snug against the heatsink, adding some much needed tension. The final
result seemed tight and secure, whatever our worries about the security of the
The back side. The aluminum plate is left over from the NV Silencer, and
does not come with the V1 Ultra.
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