Date Posted: June 28, 2002
nVidia designed a nice HSF for their latest line of GeForce 4 Titaniums. It's performance was good enough to cool the GPU, and it's patented design also cooled the surrounding memory chips. The memory used was the BGA variety, so it did run cooler, and didn't need ramsinks.
As good as the design was, enthusiasts always wanted more. Because the NV25 was already pushed to the max, there wasn't a lot of headroom for the GeForce Ti4600 to overclock much higher than its rated speed. Many webmasters have had decent results, but others, such as me, have not. I've stated in our earlier Visiontek Xtasy Ti4600 review that overclocking didn't really go that well. I considered hacking some old heatsinks I have lying around for the ram, but I didn't have an acceptable solution for the core. The Crystal Orb wouldn't fit (unless I used an epoxy), and I wanted to keep it on our GeForce 3.
Thermaltake, the makers of all things "Orb", have released a GeForce 4 cooler that addresses all the above issues. The Thermaltake GeForce4 Copper Cooler, upon initial impression, appears to be another reference cooler, but differs in several ways. Is this enough to make it a worthwhile investment? Let's see&
Fan Dimension 50x50x10 mm
Rated Voltage 12VDC
Started Voltage 6VDC
Rated Current max. 0.28AMP
Power Input 3.36W
FAN Speed 5500±10% R.P.M
Air Pressure 3.3mmH2O
Max. Air Flow 10.6CFM
Bearing Type One Ball & One
Lift Time 50,000 Hours
Material All Copper Heat Sink
Memory Heat Sink 2pcs for Front & 2pcs for Back side -AL. material
nVidia designed their heatsink the way they did for a reason. Like I mentioned earlier, the GPU cooler also cools the ram by blowing air over the BGA chips. The other benefit of their design is that you don't lose a PCI slot, as you would with the majority of aftermarket coolers.
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Thermaltake's GeForce 4 cooler does much of the same. It closely adheres to nVidia's design, in terms of dimensions (although Thermaltake's is slightly larger), and appearance. That's where the similarities end though. Unlike the stock heatsink, Thermaltake's is made of copper. The GeForce4 Copper Cooler still follows the reference design, and using the push pins, included in the kit, it fits perfectly with the majority of GeForce 4s that follows specifications. I would say all GeForce 4s, but as I've seen in other hardware components, manufacturers in general seem to have chucked the "specifications" manuals out the window.
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Whereas the stock heatsink used fins, and a 4800rpm fan, Thermaltake ups the ante with a 5500rpm fan, and pins instead of fins. It's debatable which provides better performance, fins or pins, but in theory, pins allow for greater surface area, and therefore more area for heat to dissipate.
The fan is slightly larger than nVidia's reference, and is rated at 10.6CFM. It's big enough, and draws more power than the stock fan, and you'll likely be forced to use the included 3-to-4 pin Molex adapter. Even if you didn't want to use the adapter, it's a physical impossibility to fit the power cable into the video card's outlet. Although the fan is larger, I didn't find the noise to be obtrusive, and chances are, your CPU HSF or case fans will likely generate a lot more noise.
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The ram sinks in the Thermaltake GeForce4 Copper Cooler kit are not made out of copper, but aluminum, and anodized to appear as the same colour as the copper cooler. The weight is a dead giveaway anyhow, as they are extremely light. The kit comes with 4 heatsinks, two for the front, and two for the back, and they can be attached with the included thermal tape, or you can use some thermal epoxy, which isn't included, although a packet of thermal paste is.
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