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Passive Resistance
The recent trend for passive cooling of everything from power supplies to graphics cards is all well and good provided it can be done safely and effectively. I'm a bit old fashioned though when it comes to cooling and I'm far happier to see a fan helping things along even if it's not technically essential.

On the slab for today's review is a hybrid VGA cooler from a company with a bit of a track record when it comes to cooling. Thermalright may not conjure up the same kind of nostalgia amongst us veterans as companies like Swiftech, Thermaltake, Alpha, Global Win and Vantec to name but a few, but in truth it was Thermalright who picked up the baton and kept running when many of these companies ran out of steam, and ideas.

The cooler that probably brought Thermalright much of their current respect and prestige was their SLK range. This copper CPU cooler redefined what was possible using air and remained the standard against which other air coolers were judged for quite some time, in fact even today it's about as efficient as air coolers get for its size and weight.

Anyway, today it's not CPU cooling we're looking at, it's GPU cooling, or if you're an ATi fan, VPU cooling.

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The V1 Ultra is the slightly more muscled brother of the V1 which is pretty much identical but for its two rather than three heat-pipes. We don't bother with half measures here though and straight for the daddy, the V1 Ultra.

Features: 80mm fan cooler (optional two fans)
Soldered fins to copper base to make effective contact
Compatibility across multiple platforms (ATI & NVIDIA)

Technical Spec.:

Heat sink (base,front): L30xW24xH2 (mm)
Heat sink (body,front): L80xW80xH20 (mm)
Heat sink (body, rear/with fan): L80xW80*H28.5
Rear heat sink to VGA card: 6 mm

310g (heat sink only)

Stock Fan
Maker: OEM
Size: 80x 80x 15 (mm)
Bearing: Two Balls
Voltage: 12V
Speed: 2500 rpm
Air Flow: 24.84CFM
Noise Level: 31.3 dBA


Radeon 9800, X700*, X800*, X850 (*: Check for details)

GeForce 6600*, 6600 GT*, 6800, 6800GT, 6800 Ultra, 7800GT, 7800 GTX (*: Check for details)

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Despite being silver in colour, only the rear part of the V1 Ultra is made from aluminium. The front part is apparently made from nickel coated copper which effectively make this a hybrid cooler. Thes work better than all copper or all aluminium units in theory because copper is better at extracting the heat while aluminium is better at giving it up to the surroundings, thus you place copper over the heat source then ship it away to an aluminium sink to get rid of it. The theory is goos but I've yet to see a convincing test that proves it.

According to the compatibility list, the V1 Ultra isn't suited to the PCI Express X850XT card we'd hoped to use it on, a card with a rather worrying tendency to run hot and start displaying artifacts after about thirty minutes of hard gaming, but where's the fun in sticking to lists?