I will be testing the Thermaltake DuOrb against the Thermalright HR-03 Plus with a 92mm Coolink fan rated for 35.5 CFM @ 25 dBA. My test system consists of the following hardware.
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
Zalman CPU Cooler
EVGA 680i SLI Motherboard
2 GB OCZ PC2-6400 XTC Memory
OCZ Technology 8800GTX
74 Gb Western Digital Raptor 10k RPM HDD
Lite-On Optical Drive
Mountain Mods Duality Case
Ultra Products X3 1kw PSU
A room temperature of 24 C was maintained throughout testing. Idle temps were taken after 30 minutes of no system activity. Load temps were taken after playing Crysis Demo for 30 minutes at max graphics settings. I used an event logger to determine the highest temperature reached during each test. All temperatures were taken using NVIDIA Monitor.
Well, judging by just the hard numbers, the DuOrb didn't fair so well. Granted, the results from the DuOrb are slightly better than the stock cooler temperatures we recorded back in April, it was simply no match for the Thermalright HR-03 Plus. I had originally planned to do an overclocking segment as well, but considering the temperatures at stock speed, I decided against it.
But, as with most things, there are always two sides of the story... more than just the obvious to consider. For one, the low profile of the DuOrb is definitely a plus, especially if you are running two cards in SLI or need to use some of your other expansion slots. With the HR-03 Plus in SLI, things can get very tight and in some instances, might not fit at all.
Also, as for pure aesthetics, the DuOrb definitely takes the win. The DuOrb, with its blue LED fans, matched the rest of my system theme perfectly. The fans were not very loud; I couldn't hear them over the Zalman CPU cooler. The included RAMsinks worked great and were very easy to install, although I think the HSI heatsink could have been a bit beefier.
The power connector from the fans is a standard 4-pin pass-through Molex. It would have been nice to see a 3-pin adapter as well, for use with 3-pin motherboard headers or fan controllers.
At the end of the day, at least for me and my 8800GTX, I would probably buy this cooler more for looks than sheer performance. I have no doubt that it would perform better on lesser cards. A simple Google search proves that theory correct. But, for high-end GTX/Ultra cards, don't expect to shatter any performance numbers with the DuOrb.
As of writing, the DuOrb retails for around $45.00 USD at a popular online reseller. Thanks to Thermaltake for supplying us with this review sample.