Thermalright HR-03 GTX
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 12-16-2008
Provided by: Thermalright

It was nearly a year ago when we reviewed the HR-03 GT from Thermalright. At the time, the GT represented Thermalright's latest and greatest video card heatsink, made to cool the latest and greatest offerings from nVidia and ATI, namely the GeForce 8800/9800 G92's and the Radeon 3850/3870 RV670's. Thermalright has been through a few revisions of this style of cooler, from the HR-03 Rev.A, the HR-03 Plus and the HR-03 R600, all designed around basically an identical heatsink, other than the early Rev.A's use of four heatpipes instead of the later six. The main difference lay in the mounting system, and thus which specific card models were supported.

Then in June/July nVidia and ATI released new flagship cards based off the GT200 and RV770 cores. For ATI owners, the HR-03 GT continued to be compatible, as no apparent changes were made to the mounting hole design. However the nVidia GT200 core was so huge, mounting holes had to be pushed outwards, VRM chip layout changed, memory chips moved to the back side of the card and so on. This unique arrangement meant that no previous cooler would fit the new GTX 260/280 cards, and aside from some early water block releases there wouldn't be an aftermarket cooling option for the GTX for months to come.

But Thermalright was not willing to let their loyal fans down, and based on customer demand they have developed the all-new HR-03 GTX cooler! This represents the first and only aftermarket air cooler for the GT200 series cards that I am aware of. It is made specifically just for the nVidia 260 and 280 GTX, and is not compatible with any other card design. Although the main heatsink itself is based off of the earlier HR-03 coolers, the GTX includes a wider base, new mounting hardware and separate VRM and HSI heatsinks. Dimensions of the finned section remain relatively the same, as do the six heatpipes and option to install the heatsink either at the front of the card or slung over the back. Due to the high heat producing components on the front of the card however Thermalright does state the cooler should only be installed to the front, and the use of a 120mm fan is highly recommended.

Join me as I take a look at the Thermalright HR-03 GTX.

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