Despite the progression towards smaller GPU die sizes, and manufacturers constantly coming up with better cooler designs, video card operating temperatures continue to be some of the hottest of any component in the computer. It's not uncommon for core GPU temps to reach 70°C, 80°C sometimes even 90°C under load, well beyond what's considered safe for most desktop CPU processors. When you consider the upper extreme of that range approaches the boiling point of water, and is hot enough to cause a burn if you came in contact with it, it's a wonder that manufacturers can produce chip designs that even function at that temperature. Unfortunately in many instances the factory style coolers sacrifice noise and efficiency in order to conform to fixed size requirements, a necessary consideration for some case dimensions and particularly in multi-card configurations.
Fortunately there are a host of aftermarket cooler manufacturers available who offer products that surpass the stock heatsink capabilities. Zalman has been designing advanced cooling computer gear for years, with a focus on quality construction, greater efficiency and significant noise reduction. The last Zalman VGA cooler we reviewed was the VF-1000
, nearly three years ago. The one we have today is one of their latest graphics card cooler designs, the VF3000.
Continue as we take a closer look at the Zalman VF3000.