Logo   Banner   TopRight
Thermaltake Golden Orb
Date: Dec 14, 2001
Author: HH Editor
Thermaltake Golden Orb - Page 1


The Thermaltake Golden Orb
Bright and Shiny Heavy-Metal Cooling

High Performance CPU Cooling and Heat Sinks themselves, have literally become an art form over the past few years.  From wild water cooled rigs to simplistic brute force multi high speed fan set-ups, many inventions have been mothered by the overclocking community's relentless need to eliminate heat from their CPUs and cases.  

Many innovative designs of heat sinks, some even with exotic metal alloy combinations, have been brought to market.  With each new iteration of CPU technology it seems as if the cooling folks are right behind with a better way to cool these new CPUs.  This is a look at the Thermaltake Golden Orb, a Socket 370 and FC-PGA  Cooler that is truly, in every essence of the word, a design "revolution".  When the folks at Plycon sent us this unit for review, we were more than impressed at first glance.  First impressions are usually fairly accurate.


Thermaltake Golden Orb Specifications / Features
You've never seen anything like this before.


Orb Me Baby!!

  • Cylindrical cross cut design for maximum surface area exposure
  • Anodized aluminum material with a golden color finish (not copper)
  • Three pin power fan connector
  • 4,800 RPM Fan
  • Bergquist Hi-Flow 2000U Phase Change Material (high end thermal paste) on back of unit
  • Metal clip with high force retention to CPU
  • 69mm diameter  X 45mm tall  ( about 2.5" tall)
Not to sound too corny here folks but in this case, a picture is really worth a thousand words.  This thing just plain looks cool!  I mean that in all aspects of the word "cool" as well.  It looks like it will do a killer job of drawing heat out of your CPU and is damn impressive to behold.  The weight of the unit is fairly chunky as well but not as overboard as some. 

(note some pictures in this review were taken by Tim Brinkly at BP6.com.  Tim is also a Writer for HotHardware)


One of these Orbs is not like the others!!!!
(Click images)

OOOhhh!!!  You meant an "Orb" not an "Orbb" ????  :-)  ( sorry, just had to throw that in there)

The design is based somewhat on the HP (now called Agilent Technologies) "Polar Logic - Turbo Cooler" technology.  The spiral design is similar but also different in some respects since the fins are much thinner.  Perhaps they allow better air flow through the device this way.  I am not too sure about this though, having not seen a Polar Logic unit up close.  Either way, this "Turbine" sort of design really channels air through the the sink.  The fan blows into the unit and air is distributed out through the fins very evenly and efficiently.  The box notes that it has an "Ultra Quite" fan but I would differ with that.  It is not as loud as some I have heard but there is definitely as whiney sort of turbine sound to the unit.  However, it is not to the point of being an annoyance at all.

The 3 pin power fan connector is not nearly as long at it should be.  As long as you have a spare motherboard three pin power header near by, it should not pose a problem.  If you have to go across the motherboard to a power source, you will most likely require an extension.  I used a three pin power connector splitter to act as an extension for our unit.  These can be found at any good shop or super store that carries this type of miscellaneous stuff. 

Also of note, is the little white square pad of CPU interface material that is applied to the back of the heat sink before it is shipped out of the factory.  This material is Bergquist Hi-Flow2000U and I can assure you, you DON'T want to remove this stuff and add your own paste.  This is extremely good thermal interface material and actually doesn't get too gooey but remains viscous (oooh there is a dictionary term for you!  it means "thick" :-) ) when it gets hot.  It does a nice job of staying on the sink and interfacing to the top slug of a CPU.  I would venture to say that this stuff is better than any average thermal paste you can find.

So let's slap this thing on a CPU, shall we?

Installation and Performance

Thermaltake Golden Orb - Page 2


The Thermaltake Golden Orb
Bright and Shiny Heavy-Metal Cooling

Golden Orb Installation / Setup
Precision is the key

To say that the Golden Orb has an effective retaining mechanism, would be an understatement.  Too often, the fastening clips used for heat sinks, are an afterthought.  This is an enormous oversight for Heat Sink Manufacturers since this is perhaps one of the most important elements to a good sink.  What good does a huge sink with an enormous amount of thermal conductivity, do if the darn thing doesn't have good firm contact with the CPU?  It totally defeats the purpose if the retaining clip is not doing the job.  I am happy to report that the Golden Orb has probably the best retaining clip I have ever used with a heat sink.

When I first went to install the Orb on a Slotket/Coppermine Combo., it was a little awkward getting the clip to snap on to the socket hooks.  Then, with a twisting motion, you have to seat the sink inside the cut out of the clip and twist the cams into place.  The cams are sliding in a spring loaded track and as you lock them into place, it really cranks down hard on the CPU.  The HiFlow material does a nice job of lubricating the friction between the CPU and sink.  It was a little unsettling at first when installing the Golden Orb but once you have done it for the first time, it is a snap to remove and reinstall again in the future. 


Now, that we have it installed on our trusty Coppermine P3-500E, let's see how things go with motherboard installation.

What you are looking at are probably two of the tightest motherboard mounting areas for the Orb.  On the left is the Tyan Trinity 400 Slot1/Socket370 combination board.  Due to the fact that this board has both a Socket and a Slot on the same board, space around the slot is down to a minimum.  As you can see, the Orb slides right down in front of the DIMM sockets leaving room for all three DIMM sockets to be occupied.  On the right, is our buddy Tim Brinkly's BP6 with DUAL ORB ACTION BABY!  You would think this would be a tight fit too but they both crank right down next to each other. ( Update 3/4/00 - Tim had to file away a small area of his Golden Orbs to make them fit properly ) However, you may have to spread apart some of the surrounding capacitors beside the sockets, to get it into place.  I have to admit, I am not much of a Dual Processor guy but the Dual Celeron BP6/Golden Orb combo, looks downright bad-ass!
Golden Orb Performance
Cool Customer

As we all know, there is only one thing that matters when is comes to what really makes a good Heat Sink, performance.  Looks, style and design all take a back seat to how cool a Heat Sink will keep your processor.  We don't have a lot of data in terms of how the Orb does vrs. the rest of the world's Heat Sinks that are available on the market.  What we decided to do was compare the Golden Orb against Intel's original factory stock heat sink that comes with the new Coppermine processors.  The Intel Sinks are no slouches either.   They have decent fans, good size but not so good retaining clips.

Intel Retail P3 Coppermine Heat Sink - Click for full view

OK, OK so it is no Orb that is for sure but remember, Intel certified this thing to keep its new baby cool.  It should at least be adequate.  Let see how much of an improvement we'll get with the Orb. 

We took these temp. readings on a DFI PC64 i820 Motherboard with a Thermistor Probe attached with Thermal Adhesive Tape and touching the CPU slug.  We took an idle temp. reading after 10 minutes of warm up.  We then ran an endless loop of Quake 3 Arena Time Demos for 20 minutes straight on our P3-500E overclocked to 750MHz.  Here are the results.

Whether you are a hard core overclocker or not, the Thermaltake Golden Orb packs an unbelievable amount of cooling into an already great design.  This shows a 12% improvement at idle and 10% improvement at load, with the Golden Orb.

Did I mention that the Golden Orb only costs $14.99 at Plycon Computers?  For that kind of money you can't go wrong with the Golden Orb and I would almost venture to say, that you can't go with out it!  The only down side, that I could find with the Golden Orb, was the short power connector.  Other than that, I was blown away by its cooling efficiency and design.  Great stuff from Thermaltake.

We give the Thermaltake Golden Orb Active Cooler a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of....

It will be in my personal machine for a long time to come!


To HotHardware !


Content Property of HotHardware.com