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    Product Info
    Name: Crystal Orb
    Company: Thermaltake
    Price: Click To Find Lowest
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    SLCentralHardwareReviewsCooling Apr 24th, 2014 - 7:06 AM EST
    Thermaltake Crystal Orb
    Author: Mike Kitchenman
    Date Posted: February 22nd, 2002
    SLRating: 8/10

    Introduction

    For many people, the only coolers you'll think about in your system will be the one(s) sitting on your processor(s). Outside of that, coolers seem to take a back seat to the actual hardware present in the system. Well, for any of you who are looking to get the absolute pinnacle of performance out of your system, there are a few other important items you should look into cooling. Two of the most notable parts to cool are your motherboard's northbridge as well as the GPU/CPU on your video card.

    The logic behind cooling these items is quite easy to understand. The northbridge on your motherboard is what handles how your motherboard operates, as well as directly affects every component it touches; effectively, it means everything to your system. This is why people say some chipsets are good while others aren't. A good northbridge makes a good board. A side effect of this, which most overclockers run into frequently is that as you increase the FSB on your motherboard, the northbridge gets hotter; and just like any other processor in your system, heat directly leads to instability. So, keeping the northbridge cool can directly affect overclocking there, so the logic should be pretty simple.

    The other part of the system that can directly be affected by cooling, if your Video card, again this especially gets pointed towards the overclocking community. The CPU/GPU on your video card is every bit as complicated and intricate as your main processor is. The graphics companies use the exact same processes to make their chips as does Intel and AMD. This means that they're every bit as dependant on cool temps as your P4 or Athlon are. This means that keeping your video card running cooler will definitely give the opportunity for better overclocking.

    Recently Thermaltake put out a Chipset/GPU cooler called the Crystal Orb, which is a second generation cooler, and direct descendant of the classic Blue Orb cooler. It is designed for chipset cooling and seems like it would perform very well. How does it do when compared to its older brother? Lets take a look and see.

    Design

    Chipset coolers as a rule are pieces of garbage. Most chipset coolers (this also counts for video card coolers) that are preinstalled on systems generally look like a rejected cooler for a 486. They're either small blocks of metal, which aren't all that great to begin with, or a sheet of foil with a very tiny fan mounted on top of it. Granted a chipset doesn't need something the size of a Vantec 6035 or an Alpha 8045, but it needs something that isn't a reject from a heat sink factory.

    The original Blue orb provided an alternative to this, and the Crystal orb is obviously the successor to it. The Crystal orb is a very intriguing design in and of itself. It is a copper based cooler, which was plated in nickel, giving it a very chrome look. The other notable change is that they added a very shiny "lid" to the cooler, so it has a less industrial look than the old versions did. The only downside to the lid, which is worth noting, is that should it get knocked out of its guide ridges, it can possibly catch the fan blades, causing them to seize up.

    The cooler includes a useful 3 to 4 pin adapter, which will negate the need for an open motherboard header (of course if you have a fan on your chipset cooler already, you'll have an opening for it already.) Also packaged with it is a pair of plastic clips that it can use to attach to motherboard or video card mounting holes (assuming it falls with the holes at roughly 52-54mm apart.) Alternatively it includes a strip of thermal tape for mounting, should your board not have appropriate mounting holes.

    The one catch of the design, isn't so much a design flaw, as it is an occasional motherboard design flaw, is that the cooler is relatively large (when compared to the northbridge.) Some motherboards have capacitors that will be in the way of mounting the orb. For most motherboards simply removing 3 or 4 fins will solve this, however it is something to note.

    Design: 1.5/2

    >> Installation/Performance

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    1. Introduction/Design
    2. Installation/Performance
    3. Pros & Cons/Conclusion

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    p>Cons

    Conclusion

    Well, the cooler performed about as well as I expected, as it paced the older blue orb with no problems at all. The major diff