Thermaltake MaxOrb CPU Cooler
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 02-14-2008
Provided by: Thermaltake
Discuss: View Comments

The Max Orb comes boxed similar to the V1 in a new style of retail packaging designed to show off some of the cooler through an opening in the front of the container. Inside the full color box, the cooler is held securely in a clear plastic shell that easily snaps open and is reclosable. Along with the cooler comes a new AMD backing plate, mounting bracket, assorted hardware, instruction sheet and a Key 3 case sticker. The Key 3 Spirit idea is a marketing concept developed by Thermaltake that is designed to communicate the Quality, Performance and Reliability of their products.

The cooler itself is comprised of a plated copper base and radiant six heatpipe design, which travel laterally through the surrounding 140 or so individual thin aluminum fins. Unlike previous Orb designs, the fins are not otherwise attached directly to the base, but rely solely on the heatpipe conductivity to transfer heat away from the base. Nestled in the middle of the fins sits a 120mm clear plastic fan, lit in the center hub with blue LED lighting. The fan comes with a built-in voltage regulator knob, which can adjust from 7v to 12v to control output speed and noise. This gives the user manual control over RPMs, from 1300-2000, resulting in a 16-24dBA level. Maximum airflow of the fan is rated at 86cfm. The cooler is specified to fit AMD socket 754/939 and AM2 as well as Intel 775.

The first thing I noticed while examining the Max Orb in detail was that several of the fins appeared bent or otherwise out of alignment. It turns out that while most of the fins are soldered to the heatpipes where they pass through the lateral holes, many of the fins appear to have either worked loose or missed entirely when the solder was applied. So wherever you see gaps between the fins or spots where multiple fins appear closer together, these are actually free-floating and have some range of movement where they slide along the heatpipes. And speaking of the heatpipes, although there are clearly six ends mounted into the base, these are actually only three pipes that travel up and around and back down, so that both ends are terminated in the block of copper.

Thermaltake claims a "mirror coating copper base" to guarantee perfect contact between CPU and cooler, and although I would agree that the copper has been plated fairly well, it is not what I would call a mirror surface. Very similar to the finish on the V1, the Max Orb base still appears to bear many of the ridges associated with machining, which cast a not-so-perfect, blurry or ghosted reflection. This does not necessarily detract from the coolers performance, however it is a bit contradictory to the wording in the product specifications. The fan speed control knob is conveniently located at one end of the cooler, in the middle of a small break in the fins. Continue as I take a crack at installing the Thermaltake Max Orb.

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