Thermaltake Super Orb

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SUMMARY: The stretched-out ORB doesn’t deliver stretched-out cooling.

Andy Lemont at Millenium lent me his Super ORB to test out. In some of the heatsink testing we did, the Super ORB failed to cool my Duron 800 @ 1000 MHz, 1.93v, enough to keep it from failing Prime 95. Curious to see if this was a fluke, I took the ORB home and did some more testing with it.

Super Orb

We had to modify the ORB by shaving off some material so it could fit on the ABIT KT7.

TEST SETUP

The ORB was first mounted on an ABIT KT7 running a Duron 800 @ 1000 MHz, 1.93 volts (as reported by Motherboard Monitor). Running at this speed and voltage results in a 53.8 watt heat load from the CPU. I ran Prime 95 until it failed (each time after no more than 15 minutes) and recorded CPU, back and ambient temps using the Omega HH23 Digital Thermometer. CPU temps were recorded by a thermocouple drilled into the heatsink exiting at the CPU’s core top and the back by a thermocouple on the CPU’s center back.

I then ran the ORB on a SOYO K7VTA-B with two different CPUs: a Duron 700 @ 900, 1.80 v (43.9 watts), and a Duron 800 @ 950, 1.85 v (48.2 watts and the SOYO’s max voltage). Due to the lower voltage, I could not run the Duron 800 at 1000 MHz. I ran Prime 95 until it failed; in the case of the Duron 700, it did not fail after three hours, although the Duron 800 did (a complete freeze after 2-4 minutes each time).

TEST RESULTS
TEST

CPU Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

Back

C/W

Duron 800 @ 1000, ABIT KT7, 1.93v

44.3 C

24.1 C

20.2 C

57.6 C

FAIL

Duron 700 @ 900, SOYO K7VTA-B, 1.80v

39.5 C

24.7 C

14.8 C

57.6 C

0.34

Duron 800 @ 950, SOYO K7VTA-B, 1.85v

40.5 C

22.3 C

18.2 C

67.2 C

FAIL

Delta = CPU temp – Ambient Temp
C/W = Delta / CPU Watts

Interpreting C/W: For every watt the CPU radiates, the heatsink will cool the core by the (C/W x watts) plus ambient temp. For example, at an ambient temp of 25 C, a C/W of 0.25 with a CPU radiating 50 watts means that the CPU temp will be 50 x 0.25 = 12.5 C over ambient temp, or 37.5 C. The lower the C/W, the better.

Now if all competitive heatsinks failed the same test, I would say the DURON was over its limit. However, not the case: The Super ORB consistently failed where a Hedgehog, FOP32, Swiftech and Alphas did not. And note that it is NOT a motherboard fluke – it failed on both the ABIT and SOYO.

I can only conclude that the Super ORB could not deliver the goods in this case. Why? I have some ideas but that’s all they are right now – more testing is in order to hopefully pin down a probable cause.

As to the ORB, considering the consistency with which it failed Prime95 while others did not, I think there are better alternatives to consider, as noted above.

Additional Notes
  • The ORB is very large and will not fit an ABIT KT7 without modification;
  • The CLIP is very secure and snaps authoritatively in place – I doubt you could easily remove the ORB in a case;
  • Measurements: About 3″/75mm tall by 2 3/4″/70mm in diameter;
  • I did not find the ORB particularly noisy.

Email Joe


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