Note that only after firing up the Thermaltake DuOrb did I notice that I had installed it 180° backwards from its intended orientation. The base is slightly offset from center and the red orb section is designed to overhang the memory slots more to provide extra cooling for your DIMMs. However either direction really works just fine and as I am using only the two memory slots closest to the CPU socket anyway, so the extra overhang is not necessary.
The test system is comprised of an nForce 570 SLI board with AMD 6400+ X2 Black Edition processor which runs 3.2Ghz at 1.4v by default, generating 125w of thermal power. I will be testing under two different scenarios, stock voltage at 3.3Ghz and a .1v increase for 3.4Ghz. Idle temps were logged after booting to Windows and letting it sit at the desktop with no programs running. Load temps were generated by running the Folding at Home SMP Client, bringing each core to 100% utilization.
Temperatures at stock voltage were not too bad. Even after twenty minutes of running F@H, the CPU was only averaging 50° C across both cores. This is up quite a bit from my usual water cooling setup but right on par with previously tested air-cooled heatsinks. In fact, the DuOrb performed nearly identical to the last Thermaltake heatsink I reviewed, the MaxOrb cooler, with its fan speed set to low. As the DuOrb has no option to control fan speed however, cranking the CPU voltage up to 1.5v results in temperatures quickly spiraling up to 60° C, causing an instability which crashed the F@H client.
The Thermaltake DuOrb CPU Cooler is a perfect match for the DuOrb VGA Cooler. It looks good and fits surprisingly well, given its large wingspan. The twin 80mm fans and dual orb shaped copper/aluminum fin arrays is a unique design not used by other product manufacturers. But also like its VGA brother, the DuOrb CPU Cooler is only barely adequate at stock cooling, and can't keep up with high voltage thermal power demands.
I've also been noticing a trend lately in Thermaltake coolers where quality maybe just isn't quite up to snuff. Both the DuOrb and the last cooler I reviewed, the MaxOrb, had many of the thin fins surrounding the fan come out of the packaging already bent, in some cases extremely so. While that in of itself would not necessarily be a detriment to performance, although it certainly lessens its aesthetic appeal, many of the fins that were bent and even some that were straight were not firmly attached to the heat pipes. It does not take much force to mangle the fins and break them loose from the solder holding them tight to the pipes, so care must be taken when handling the cooler. Unfortunately it appears that the same care is not being taken at the factory during packaging.
I also thought it a little strange that Thermaltake would opt to put one red fan and one blue fan on the DuOrb CPU cooler, especially given that the VGA version uses two blue ones. The odd red fan looks out of place, although it does call to attention the fact that the cooler is designed to be installed one way, with the red fan overhanging the memory slots. It didn't prevent me from installing it backwards to begin with however.
Unlike its smaller VGA brother, which can be found anywhere from $40-$50 in price, the CPU version of the DuOrb retails for $65. This puts it in the very top echelon of air cooled CPU heatsinks. For that cost I would really like to see a fan speed controller included, which may have affected the performance testing outcome had we been able to crank up the juice a bit. The fans chug along at a steady but quiet 2,000rpm and can't be adjusted any higher. And so, just as the DuOrb VGA cooler was a bit of a letdown, at the end of the day the DuOrb CPU cooler just doesn't knock our socks off.
Thanks to Thermaltake for providing the DuOrb CPU Cooler for review.