Thermaltake Duorb VGA Cooler: Are Two Orbs Better Than One?

Cooling
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INSTALLATION

The Duorb ships with large set of additional heatsinks — 12 for memory and 4 for VRMs. It should be enough to cover all the extra components that require cooling on modern video cards.


Accessories and mounting hardware.

The installation of the main cooler is fairly simple and similar to the Xigmatek Battle-Axe and Zalman VF1000. First, a pair of mounting clips are screwed onto the base. Since it's mandatory for all cards, we would have liked to have seen them built directly onto the heatsink or attached straight from the factory.


Preparing the base.

Four double-sided hex screws are installed in the appropriate mounting holes. The longer side goes through the mounting holes on the graphics card and out the other side where barrel-shaped nuts secure them.


Oh, sh...nap!

Unfortunately, one of the hex screws snapped inside the nut as it was being tightened. Imprecise machining of the tiny thread caused binding, and just a smidgen of extra pressure was all it took for the rod to snap. The broken part was stuck in the net and impossible to remove. This mean we lost not just one screw but also the matching nut.

The exact same problem occured during our Xigmatek Battle-Axe review. We really wish aftermarket cooler companies would use shorter, stronger screws.


The nuts on the back.

A search through our spare parts bins turned up nothing that could substitute for the missing parts. Faced with the choice of securing the heatsink on three sides or two, we went with two, to balance the pressure on the GPU. A check of the thermal paste footprint confirmed that good contact was being made, and the cooler could only be twisted slightly when torque was applied. Extreme care was used in tightening the two screws/nuts.


Duorb installed on our X1950XTX test card.

We found there was no overhang, meaning the Duorb will fit in any case that can accomodate a full-sized graphics card. This may vary slightly depending on the card and GPU location.


Duorb ramsink on the left, blue Zalman ramsink on the right.

The ramsinks were left off our test card because they did not appear to be re-usable, and the test card seems to function fine without them. We did install one of them just to check the thermal adhesive, and it was fairly secure. To say they are low-profile is an understatement — they are only 2mm tall. Being so short and having only five thick fins it's doubful they provide much cooling.


Clearance.

The clearance under the cooler was ample and uniform at 9mm. There was no reason the ramsinks could not have been taller — they could be quadrupled in height and still fit underneath the Duorb.



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