AMD 6400+ X2 Black Edition
Biostar TForce 570 SLI
2 x 1Gb OCZ Titanium PC6400
The Black Edition AMD processors do not include a factory heatsink/fan as they are marketed for computer enthusiasts and overclockers who would more than likely not use a stock heatsink anyway. The 6400+ runs at 3.2Ghz by default at 1.4v but in these tests I will only be looking at two different scenarios, a minimal overclock of 3.3Ghz at the same 1.4v and a slightly higher overclock of 3.4Ghz at 1.5v. Although higher frequencies can be obtained using more voltage, it is not feasible to generate load conditions with these settings for any extended amount of time as doing so quickly results in temperatures too extreme to handle. CoreTemp was used to log temperatures of each core and the results were averaged together. First up I will be testing the Max Orb with the adjustable fan on the lowest setting.
Although we see load temps in the 50s, the system is stable and has no problem running with these settings. At this speed, the fan is nearly silent, unable to be heard above the other fans in the case. Now let's see how the Max Orb performs with fan on highest setting.
By sacrificing some sound level for performance, temperatures are reduced by 1-2° at idle and up to 3° C at load. At this speed, the fan can be heard above the other fans in the case. Although it is not unbearable, and to some may be considered a moderate level, I did not find it desirable to run at this setting for 24/7 use.
The Thermaltake Max Orb is aptly named. It definitely takes their Orb series of heatsinks to a whole new maximum level of cooling. Gone are the thick, cast fins and one-piece sinks. The Max Orb incorporates modern features like thin, perforated fins soldered to multiple heatpipes and connected to a copper base. The result is temps that are outstanding and right on par with other top-of-the-line air coolers. Now some of you might be saying, 50s aren't all that great. But keep in mind this is AMD's hottest, 90nm process dual-core 125w die, overclocked and overvolted. Most regular-type coolers couldn't even keep up.
Add to this high level of performance the kind of features that we have come to expect from Thermaltake, like an adjustable speed blue LED fan, plated copper base and overall build quality and good looks. While our review unit did have some fins that were not soldered completely to the heatpipes, this apparently did not affect the cooling ability much. And the slightly difficult install procedure is offset by the comforting fact that once it is mounted, the Max Orb will not come loose accidentally. The fan controller is kind of a mixed bag. On one hand, it is nice to have the control knob mounted securely to the heatsink within easy reach, but on the other hand it has to be adjusted manually and requires opening the case to do so. A remote-mount control or temperature-controlled option, similar to Thermaltake's Smart Fan line, would be a welcome addition.
I found the Thermaltake Max Orb at several stores online right in the $50 range, which puts it well inline with other, high-end air coolers. And unlike some other manufacturers heatsinks, the Max Orb comes with its own fan and controller already attached. This, together with its performance and overall feel, has earned it the OCIA.net seal of approval.