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Appeared on: Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Thermaltake Blue Orb II


1. Introduction

Thermaltake, is one of the best known manufacturers of PC cooling solutions and PC case modding among other things. Even though the company was founded in the late 90's, 1999 to be specific, it has managed to become one of the top brands in cooling solutios, with all of their products providing solutions for many "thermal" problems. In this review, we will be taking a closer look at the latest cooler, the "Blue Orb II" which is compatible with both 775 and AMD K8 sockets.

The cooler consists of a Copper Core and 140 Aluminum Extruded fins, with a 12cm sized fan spinning at 1700 RPM, producing a maximum 77.85 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) airflow.

Air Flow
Heat Tranfer

The reason for maintaining low temperatures as we can imagine, is not only the fan but also the 140 Aluminium Fins, which occupy the largest part of the Heat Sink.

Removing the fan, we can take a closer look at the copper base and fins...

Features...

Patent Radian Crotched Fin -
provides superior air flow

Copper Core Construction-
allows for rapid heat transfer & increased thermal conductivity.

Silent Blue LED Fan- whispering 17dBA

Massive Aluminum fin count:140fins - maximizes heat dissipation area.

12 cm Ultra Quiet Cooler

 

The Blue led fan, giving a nice look to the case...

Specifiactions

Product name CL-P0257
Heatsink Dimension 140mm X 66mm
Heatsink Material Copper Core &
Aluminum Extrusion (140 fin)
Fan Dimension 120mm X 24.3 mm
Rated Voltage 12V
Started Voltage 7V
Power Input 3.00W
Fan Speed 1700±10% RPM
Compatibility Intel Pentium D (Socket LGA775)
Intel Pentium 4 (Socket LGA775)
Intel Celeron D (Socket LGA775)
AMD Athlon X2 (Socket 939)
AMD Athlon 64 FX (Socket 939 / 940)
AMD Athlon 64 (Socket 754 / 939)
AMD Sempron (Socket 754)
AMD Opteron (Socket 940)
Max.Air Flow 77.85 CFM
Max.Air Pressure 1.80 mm H2O
Noise 17dBA

Lifetime

30,000 Hours
Connector 3 Pin
Weight 869g

There are many sockets that the Blue Orb II is compatible with. As Thermaletake declares, this is a great solution for the new Dual Core processors.

The rear view of the Thermaltake fan.

The retail package, apart from the cooler also includes all the necessary parts in order to installed on AMD and Intel sockets.

As for the installation procedure, it's described on the next page...


2. Installation

The Blue Orb II can be attached to both Intel 775 and AMD 939 sockets. Let's start with an AMD 939 socket based motherboard.

The 939 socket with the stock mounting system
...remove the plastic base...

Begin by removing the old cooler and cleaning up any previous thermal compound that may still be on the CPU, making sure you leave no residue or scraps of compound whatsoever. Take note of the stock mounting points which will probably differ from those on Thermaltake's backplate. In that case, you'll have to remove the stock backplate from your motherboard.

note the stock mounting points will probably differ from those on Thermaltake's backplate...
the stock backplate is sometimes compatible with the Blue Orb II
if not, one is included in the retail package...

Next step is to use the two screws with which to mount the Thermaltake cooler. This is necessary with AMD based processors...

the screws required with AMD processors...

As soon as you've done this, you're almost finished. Just make sure you use some thermal compound before installing the Blue Orb II.

don't forget the thermal compound...

Last thing, mounting the cooler on the thermaltake brackets, as describe below.

mounting the cooler on the thermaltake brackets...
Exactly as in case with the Golden Orb II

On Intel motherboards, no backplate is needed at all... however you must remove the board from the PC case in order to put the screws on the back.

the screws needed for the Intel processors...

As soon as you install the brackets, the rest is easy... almost the same as in case with AMD.

the first installation could prove a little bit harder, more pressure must be applied...

Not much to do now but to plug the 3 pin power connector onto the motherboard and the cooler is all set and ready to work...

the 3 pin connector...

Noticable volume, don't you think?

And the outcome of this process...

The blue glow from the fan is really impressive...

A very helpful video at Thermaltake's official website will provide you with further details about the installation process. Find more here.

The installation procedure is simple in the case of AMD platforms, there being no need to replace the back plate. But with Intel 775 platforms, you'll have to remove the motherboard from your PC, something that isn't very convinient. This is something to keep in mind. Notice the most important thing with a cooling system is how efficient it is. Let us check the performance in the following page...


3. Performance

Lets have a brief look at the CPU and motherboard we used for our tests...

The well known AMD 3500+
and the ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard

To measure the CPU's temperature, we used SpeedFan v4.26 which provided us with real time monitoring and created a graph of the temperature over time. For the following measurements, we used AMD's 3500+ with the stock cooler and with the Blue Orb II. In both cases, we used Thermaltake's thermal compound.

We started WinXP SP2 and after 5 minutes, started the Speedfan utility. The room temprature at the time of our measurements was close to 22°C.

The temperature started at 35°C and reached 53°C when running the stress test.
While the fan speed ranged from 3130 to 3180 RPM.

The temprature at the beginning of our measurements was 35°C. We let the system run for a while, approximately 5~10min and then we started the stress test using the Prime95 utility. At once, the temprature started to increase until it reached 52°C where it seemed to stabilize after about 10 minutes. At the same time, the fan speed was between 3130 rpm and 3180 rpm. After a while, the fan stabilized at 3125 rpm, even when the temprature reached maximum.

We shut down the system and we repeated the same task, with the Blue Orb II this time installed in our PC.

SpeedFan reported 32 °C minimum and 45 °C maximum!!!
...with half the rotation speed of the stock cooler.

It seems that the Blue Orb II is better, even from the outset. The temprature in idle state is 32°C, three degrees lower than with the stock cooler. Then we started once again Prime95. The temprature of the processor started to increase until it reached 45°C, where it stabilized. So, 7 degrees lower temprature than the stock AMD cooler is a very good improvement. Moreover, if you check the fan's rotation, you'll notice that the Blue Orb II's huge 12cm fan, ran at half the speed, produceing less noise than the AMD cooler. Actually, the noise levels coming from the Blue Orb II are impressively low and to be honest, our Western Digital hard disk produced more noise :-) Blue Orb II is a silent cooler.


4. Conclusion

The Blue Orb II, as with the previous Golden Orb II we had reviewed in the past, does not use heat-pipe technology, or any advanced cooling system. It is simple, made from godd materials and with a huge fan.

The copper base and the 140 aluminium fins, seem to be much more effective than the stock cooler. The temperature at the beginning of our measurement was 35°C with the stock cooler from AMD while with the Blue Orb II, 3 degrees lower at 32°C. At full load, the difference in temperature was more dramatic. 52 °C for the AMD cooler and 45 °C for the Blue Orb II. You needn't worry if you want to overclock your AMD since with such a performance, your processor will be running much cooler.

This is not the only good thing with the Blue Orb II. Most times, a cooler with a fan running at high speeds can do a great job, but the rotation speed of the Thermaltake cooling system is half that of the stock cooler, at only 1620~1650rpm. Low rotation speeds usually means low noise levels. The Blue Orb II is extremely silent and you don't have to worry about noises eminating from your case.

Up and working...

Installation of the Blue Orb II is still a minor issue in comparison to some other coolers we have tried. Fortunately, Thermaltake includes in the package everything you'll need, even thermal compound. However, in the case of the Intel 775 socket as well as in most AMD's platforms, you'll have to remove the motherboard from the PC case in order to attach either the two mounting brackets in the case of the 775 socket, or the different plastic plate in the case of AMD.

The Blue Orb II will enhance the look of your PC case, especially if it has a side window. The blue light is more than visible and the volume of the cooler rather noticable.

At the time of this review, the price for the Blue Orb II was US$34.

Pros:
-
Very low noise levels (17dBA)
- Good thermal reduction

Cons:
- Installation

 

Performance:
Features/Design:
Installation:
Value for money:


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