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Performance and good looks?
Product : Thermaltake Super ORB
#Price : 14.39 (price includes VAT)
Available from : The Overclocking Store
Related articles : [Hedgehog]-[Coolermaster Heatpipe]-[Alpha PAL6035]
Discuss this review in our forums

Thermaltake were launched into the limelight when they produced the original Golden Orb, which was the first in, what has become the very popular ORB line of heatsinks. At a time when most of the other coolers in the market were in a shade of dull black or silver, and came in a square shape, here was a cooler that was cylindrical in shape and yellow/golden in colour. What made it even more popular was the fact that it's cooling performance wasn't bad either. True, it didn't have the performance to keep up with the Alpha heatsinks, but it looked a damn sight neater, and was considerably cheaper.

There were some short-comings with the Golden ORB's design. The one small fan which was at the heart of every Golden ORB, not only the initial Socket 370 model, but the Slot 1 and the Slot A models that followed, was not able to shift as much air as was needed. Many users were finding that their ORBs just not being able to cool some of the higher frequency processors very well.

Thermaltake took a look at this problem and their solution to it is this, the Super ORB. It still has the familiar cylinderical shape but now it comes in silver/chrome. The Super ORB has two fans, which increase the air flow considerably. The stats on these fans are quite well documented on the box it comes with, and from there we can find out that the inner fan (the one which is at the heart of the heatsink) runs at 5500 RPM and is rated to shift just over 25 CFM. The upper fan runs at 5000 RPM and is rated to shift just over 17 CFM, so in total, over 42 CFM of air flow. Both fans are ball bearing and operate around the 34 decibel region.

From the introduction it is possible to see that the Super ORB is set to improve on previous ORB designs by the inclusion of an additional fan. However will the performance be good enough to convince overclockers to use the Super ORB on high end Athlon processors?

First thoughts

The Super ORB comes in a neat package, with it's hexagonal box and 3 pin power duplicator as well as the ORB itself. From first inspection the heatsink is well manufactured, and there was little evidence to show for poor worksmanship. The base of the heatsink, which is where the the Socket A processor (either your Duron or ThunderBird) comes into contact with ORB has a polished aluminium surface. Thermaltake did not stick their thermal pad onto the base this time, which is a shame, because the thermal pad they included with their original Socket 370 and Slot 1 heatsinks performed very well (which is unusual for a thermal pad). However some Arctic Silver would put pay to that.

The two fans that are at the heart of the Super ORB run at different speeds, but both are over 5000 RPM. While the fan blades themselves are small, they manage to shift over 20 CFM each, and at an acceptable audiable volume too. While hardened ORB users will find this a tad noisier than the single fan ORBs, when compared to the Alpha PAL6035, with it's YSTech 60mm fan, these are a whisper.

The colour of it. Although colours aren't really important with heatsinks (to an extent), if you are going to buy any cooler from the ORB line, you are after a cool looking heatsink. If you want a "normal" looking heatsink then you can easily go for the many other square heatsinks (like the Globalwin FOP series).

Installation

The Super ORB comes with a one piece retaining clip, which isn't extremely hard to use, however you do get slightly worried at times that you might break the processor. I certainly had doubts when I was installing another Super ORB for a friend's 1.2 GHz Athlon the other week, however all was well, and the Super ORB sits comfortably onto of the processor with no gaps between the core and the ORB.

As I mentioned above the base of the ORB doesn't come with the thermal pad that Thermaltake used supply in previous heatsinks, but now has a very polished base which allows you to see that the Super ORB is made to a high standard of manufacturing. As usual in our tests below we used the Arctic Silver compound, which we believe to be the best available on the market and certainly recommend it to anyone. You can see the review of the Arctic Silver paste here.

Thermaltake supply you with a 3 pin power splitter which is a great help if you don't have 2 spare fan headers on your motherboard. Again this shows Thermaltake's attention to detail, and their general attitude towards the cooling community.

Performance

The Super Orb was made to carry on where the old Chrome ORB had stopped, and to some extent it does this. Performance on high-end processors (like 1.2 GHz Athlons) were not on par with the monster of Alpha's PAL6035 or the Globalwin FOP38. Although we couldn't post the results of the FOP38 in this review, we certainly believe that the Super ORB is not ready for the ultra fast frequency processors. The Chrome ORB is suited to low-end Athlon and Duron processors, however we can't exactly figure out where the Super ORB stands. It provides better performance than the standard 1 fan Chrome ORB, but it fails to keep up with the competition on the high-end AMD processors.

This time we tried the Super ORB on the Duron 750 (which we used for previous tests), and an Athlon 1 GHz.



On the Duron 750, there is very little seperating the three heatsinks and we expected all three to cope pretty easily with the heat produced by the processor. The Super ORB is sandwiched between the Alpha PAL6035 and the Coolermaster Heatpipe, and produces solid results.

Next we move onto the Athlon 1 GHz, which we would expect to produce more heat, and from our results it certainly seems that way.



The Super ORB doesn't perform badly when attached to the Athlon 1 GHz, however we expected a little bit more from the Super ORB. It comfortably beats the Coolermaster Heatpipe, which we wouldn't recommend for chips with high frequencies, however comes in 3 degrees higher than the Alpha PAL6035.

Conclusions

The Super ORB from Thermaltake is intended to persuade more hard core overclockers to purchase this product, and while it retains the distinctive ORB shape there is only minimal gains when sticking on an extra fan to this heatsink. We certainly found the Super ORB was able to cope with an Athlon/Duron at around 1 GHz, however should you be wanting to overclock you might want to look at the other heatsinks available on the market, in particular the Alpha PAL6035 and the Globalwin FOP series.