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Thermalright's The HR-03 Is A VGA Cooler Gorilla!

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 14, 2006 9:35:24 AM

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Thermalright's HR-03. It's massive, it's strong - and it's the new champion!
November 15, 2006 2:44:28 AM

does this cool the memory chips?
November 15, 2006 12:41:22 PM

Sort of. it comes with small memory sinks, but they're more show than go.
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November 15, 2006 1:01:29 PM

with the fan overhanging them, mine are cool to the touch after gaming
November 15, 2006 4:59:21 PM

too bad it doesn't seem to fit any of my cards (ATI AIW x600 and nVidia 7600GS) otherwise I would want to get 2 of these.

anyone know where I can get a flip-over fanless HS like that to fit those 2 cards?
November 15, 2006 5:27:36 PM

I wonder how it would do if you had the cooler wrapped over the card, with a 120mm pull fan on top of it. I'd guess you'd see maybe 3-4 degree improvement over having the cooler on the underside with a 92mm. Anyone care to test this?
November 15, 2006 6:13:12 PM

Nice review, would have been nice to see the alternate mounting results (couldn't have been that hard to do). I also would like to have seen some results against the (notoriously hard to find) Turniq Tower.
a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2006 6:20:00 PM

Looks more like and Orangutan than Gorilla to me, it's all orangey and all. :mrgreen:
November 15, 2006 6:29:30 PM

Quote:
(couldn't have been that hard to do).


I had tried... it was hard enough that I wasn't comfortable trying to get it on the X1900 XTX.

I'm sure I could have done it, but even though the 'ol XTX isn't the newest hardware out there, I wasn't willing to chance it to try out a cooler when I had ample space in the case for the other configutration...

But if you guys are interested I'll try again with a 120mm fan when I have one lying around.
November 15, 2006 6:30:40 PM

It's pretty impressive, to bad it's shear size will not allow to a dual graphics card setup with one slot space. Good performance nonetheless.
November 15, 2006 6:50:58 PM

Fair enough, I bet a 120mm fan would reduce the temps and/or dba. I can't imagine using anything smaller given the choice.

BTW, do they expect a push or pull configuration if mounted inversely?
November 15, 2006 6:52:29 PM

I'd imagine pull so that you'd pull the hot air upwards towards the exhaust fans (and, unfortunately, the CPU...)
November 15, 2006 7:07:37 PM

Quote:
Nice review, would have been nice to see the alternate mounting results (couldn't have been that hard to do). I also would like to have seen some results against the (notoriously hard to find) Turniq Tower.
You want to see some results on a GPU cooler vs a CPU cooler? Interesting...
November 15, 2006 7:38:28 PM

the cooler showed some very impressive results compared to the other coolers. I'd really be interested in how it performs when it is mounted surrounded the graphics card. Especially since it was mentioned that this would actually give *better* performance, but also consume less space.
Also a recommendation for a good 120mm fan to pair with this would be good idea too :wink:

Also i'm not exactly up-to-date on VGA coolers, are they're any on the horizon from some well known manufacturers that would compete with this.

With graphic cards running on the hotter side each generation (especially ATi) and stock coolers only performing within specs going after market is more intriguing than before.
November 15, 2006 7:38:37 PM

Quote:
I wonder how it would do if you had the cooler wrapped over the card, with a 120mm pull fan on top of it. I'd guess you'd see maybe 3-4 degree improvement over having the cooler on the underside with a 92mm. Anyone care to test this?


I use a 120mm panaflo L, the gpu temps are the same no matter which side the fan is on. I prefer the component side because the mem is cooler and the vrm temp goes from 75 to 50. Do give up a pci slot though :( 
November 15, 2006 9:15:07 PM

Wow, am I off the ball today... I guess you could mount the Turniq on a video card, it would take a lot of work though. As for mounting the Thermalright on the back of the card, it seems like it would probably be better since the hot air from the GPU would eventually be going over that area anyways.
November 15, 2006 10:41:18 PM



Oh you like that one...well...I wonder why you like it.....cause it produced like over 20 db of noise compared with the 6 db of the cooler with fan tomshardware advised. If you dont care for noise it's a nice looking cooler tough ;) 
The Thermalright's cooler is just a very nice option. I just hope it's also suitable for the direct x 10 cards as I would find that more interesting to know at this time instead of tests with dx 9 cards.
November 15, 2006 10:58:55 PM

Cleeve, is the block on that double sided? I honestly couldn't tell exactly from the pictures, but that is the only way it made sense to be mounted either way for me.

Nice review, lighthearted and straightforward. I like the looks of that cooler, though I am very satisfied with the Zalman VF700-AlCu I installed on my 7800GT a few hours ago.

I know I know, normally I would disown Zalman for their prices but I won it on eBay for $10.74 shipped. Solid deal and very very quiet cooler while maintaining great temps.
November 15, 2006 11:23:02 PM

There IS something to be said about a cooler that exhaust heat from the case. Also, the 20db for that Vantec is the actual output for that cooler, the 5db measured in the article is the db difference compared to the ambient case noise. So if the case noise was @ 15db, then they would have the same noise level.
November 16, 2006 12:58:53 AM

If you don't have any PCI cards, you can make a very cool looking, cheap and easy to put together duct to exhaust the air out through your expansion slots. Just pick up 1' of 5" dryer duct (chrome) and you are good to go!
November 16, 2006 12:50:43 PM

Quote:
Cleeve, is the block on that double sided?


Yep, which is kinda nifty. :) 
November 16, 2006 1:49:22 PM

How about you guys compare HR-03 to the Aerocase Condor?
IMHO that's the only other cooler in the same category (being able to passively cool Radeon X1900). I'd be really curious to see which one will do better
November 16, 2006 4:39:13 PM

Quote:
How about you guys compare HR-03 to the Aerocase Condor?
IMHO that's the only other cooler in the same category (being able to passively cool Radeon X1900). I'd be really curious to see which one will do better


http://www.silentpcreview.com/article650-page5.html

This place reviewed the Aerocase Condor and it was not able to passively cool ther X1900XTX with temperatures reaching 105C
The HR-03, cross comparison i know, was able to cool the the X1900XTX here better than the Condor, plus the condor is one ugly looking thing, while the HR-03 is sweet looking. Regardless it looks like the HR-03 is the single best heatsink for a vga card
November 16, 2006 5:19:47 PM

Dammit, no 8800 compatibility. =( Hopefully they'll release a new one shortly... and maybe it'll be all-copper, too. Obviously, I'm not saying it's a POS or anything, but if I'm going to bother with an after market VGA cooler I want room temperature under load! :'P
November 16, 2006 5:39:05 PM

Quote:
...if I'm going to bother with an after market VGA cooler I want room temperature under load! :'P


I'm not even sure watercooling will do that, dude...
November 16, 2006 6:24:29 PM

Quote:
...if I'm going to bother with an after market VGA cooler I want room temperature under load! :'P


I'm not even sure watercooling will do that, dude...

Yeah, definitely not, unless I kept my radiator in the fridge. =) Actually... *single broken gear jerking around wildly in skull* Naw, wife would never stand for it. I'm just exaggerating, anyway. All-copper would be a mite sexier, though.
November 16, 2006 6:57:34 PM

You could water cool and then vastly underclock it, then you might be able to get room temps (with refrigerated reservoir of course)....

I generally swap my GPU cooler because (at least with ATI) the stock ones are always way too loud.
November 16, 2006 7:10:59 PM

Well, underclocking is going to defeat the purpose. I don't want room temperature at load for the sake of it, I want it so I can overclock it until it's 70C at load, again! :'P But, this is all assuming I live in a world where I can afford to fry an 8800 GTX trying to get the core clock past 1 GHz. And I do not. =(
November 16, 2006 8:17:22 PM

You could always buy a used small bar fridge and rig that up with your reservoir, or throw an AC unit blowing directly onto it (although that might make your room a little cold and your electric bill a little high).

That bar fridge idea actually sounds kinda fun, maybe I will try that out... it must have been done before... to google I go then!
November 16, 2006 11:14:09 PM

Quote:
Dammit, no 8800 compatibility. =( Hopefully they'll release a new one shortly... and maybe it'll be all-copper, too. Obviously, I'm not saying it's a POS or anything, but if I'm going to bother with an after market VGA cooler I want room temperature under load! :'P


it's not possible to get room temp with air cooler..............
November 16, 2006 11:34:50 PM

Quote:
How about you guys compare HR-03 to the Aerocase Condor?
IMHO that's the only other cooler in the same category (being able to passively cool Radeon X1900). I'd be really curious to see which one will do better


http://www.silentpcreview.com/article650-page5.html

This place reviewed the Aerocase Condor and it was not able to passively cool ther X1900XTX with temperatures reaching 105C
The HR-03, cross comparison i know, was able to cool the the X1900XTX here better than the Condor, plus the condor is one ugly looking thing, while the HR-03 is sweet looking. Regardless it looks like the HR-03 is the single best heatsink for a vga card

I know, but I actually have a Condor at home (right on the machine I'm using right now) passively cooling X1900XT (not XTX) - and it mostly works fine, with proper configuration I can run anyhting and will keep it under 90C under load.

I would really like to see temps for Condor vs HR03 both passive back-to-back. Just from this article I'm not convinced the HR03 is better. BTW the fins look too close to each other for passive cooling
November 16, 2006 11:37:47 PM

Why use passive on an x1900xt? 90 degrees is too hot. Your card will burn out. At least with the HR-03 you can strap on an 800rpm 120mm fan and it will keep cool.
November 17, 2006 12:57:06 PM

Quote:
Why use passive on an x1900xt? 90 degrees is too hot. Your card will burn out. At least with the HR-03 you can strap on an 800rpm 120mm fan and it will keep cool.


Cause I have a fanless machine :D 
I like silence, and it turns out I don't have to sacrifice performance. Conroe runs perfect with Ninja, and the fanless PS never gets hot. My only concern is the x1900xt - it's a bit border case, if HR-03 is better than Condor for passive cooling - that would put that to rest too
November 17, 2006 6:06:00 PM

I see. If you don't have ANY fans in your case though, I am surprised that the condor even works. From the silentpc review... review it seems like without decent case airflow, the cooler wouldn't work at all. If you have no fan on your PSU, CPU, and GPU, how is the heat leaving the case??
November 17, 2006 6:39:11 PM

Well, if you want to see if the HR-03 is better than your condor, run the AtiTool artifact tester for 10 minutes. It's incredibly stressful on the videocard, a helluva lot more than, say, Oblivion.

The HR-03 managed this worst case scenario at about 90 degrees, hot but acceptable. How does the Condor fare?
November 17, 2006 7:09:36 PM

It is possible. Voodoo or Alienware or one of those companies make a high end HS-only computer. It's giant (about double the size of a tower) and weighs about 200lbs, but it seems to work with 0 noise.

It looks impressive with the massive number of heat pipes and copper and even comes with wheels to help move it around.
November 17, 2006 7:14:46 PM

Quote:
Dammit, no 8800 compatibility. =( Hopefully they'll release a new one shortly... and maybe it'll be all-copper, too. Obviously, I'm not saying it's a POS or anything, but if I'm going to bother with an after market VGA cooler I want room temperature under load! :'P


it's not possible to get room temp with air cooler..............

oh its possible........its just not running when your getting those temps hahaha
November 17, 2006 7:38:21 PM

It's actually quite simple - I keep the case side open. It's a workaround I know, but this way I can run with 0 fans - the case is silent so it doesn't matter that it's open. Better than having fans in enclosed case.

About the ATITool - I did run it, back in August when I was trying to undervolt the X1900XT. Undervolting didn't produce any better temps so I gave up. But I never got the temp over 90C during the time I played with it.

One thing though - back then the driver and the catalyst were 6.7. I later installed an update - I think 6.10, the one before last - and the the card started overheating all the time in different games - Oblivion, Civ4 Warlords, etc. So I rolled back to 6.7 and it's fine. I haven't tried 6.11
November 17, 2006 7:47:47 PM

No, you don't understand... the ARTIFACT TESTER app inside of Atitool - nothing to do with voltages.

The Artifact Tester in Atitool will make the card hotter than with any game, so if you want to see if the HR-03 is better than your current passive cooler, try the AtiTool Artifact Tester on it.

In the review with the case closed, the HR-03 managed to get 90 degrees under full load with the Atitool artifact tester running for 10 minutes.

If you're current cooler can't do that, the HR-03 is probably better...
November 17, 2006 9:16:32 PM

Cleeve,
I got what you're saying. And I did test with the 3D thing in the ATITool.

I don't think that gives much info though. Different setup. Anyway, I decided to buy an HR03 regardless, so I'll try it out soon anyway. I have a bad feeling about those tightly spaced fins with no airflow though
November 28, 2006 11:08:13 PM

Why does newegg not sell these? Anyone have a reputable source they bought their HR-03 from? I am wary about buying things from sites I've never ordered stuff from.

thanks
November 28, 2006 11:52:35 PM

My favourite is NCIX, but they're based in Canada, so I don't know what the shipping fees would look like. You can try Tigerdirect, ZipZoomFly and ClubIT. Those are all really great ones.
November 29, 2006 4:58:24 PM

NCIX is a good store. I have dropped thousands of dollars there and I have had no problems with them. Shipping in Canada is vastly more expensive than in the US however, but I think they have shipping estimates on their site.
a b U Graphics card
November 29, 2006 6:10:43 PM



Oh you like that one...well...I wonder why you like it.....cause it produced like over 20 db of noise compared with the 6 db of the cooler with fan tomshardware advised. If you dont care for noise it's a nice looking cooler tough ;) 
The Thermalright's cooler is just a very nice option. I just hope it's also suitable for the direct x 10 cards as I would find that more interesting to know at this time instead of tests with dx 9 cards.

Er, perhaps he like it because it doesn't CONSUME THREE SLOTS like the Thermalright with fan?
January 2, 2007 7:40:05 PM

To revive an old thread - I bought an HR-03 some time ago, and finally got some time to put it on and try it out. Most importantly I got to compare it to Aerocase Condor. "Cooler Gorilla" indeed - in fact compared to the Condor the HR-03 is considerably smaller, and not surprisingly it's cooling performance is not even close (I kind of figured that out when I put them side by side and notice the size difference).

While the Condor is capable of passively cooling X1900XT (with proper configuration), the HR-03 can't get even close. However, I got a crazy idea - I may be able to mount both, since the HR-03 cooling surface is double-sided and I may be able to attach the Condor on top. I'll look for the necessary screws. If I can do that, the resulting setup will definitely be better than either - and probably put all conserns of passively cooling my card to rest...
January 2, 2007 7:53:57 PM

Um, let us know how strapping 2 heatsinks together works out for you. :p 
January 2, 2007 8:58:10 PM

Agreed, with pictures!
January 5, 2007 4:05:43 PM

I just installed my HR-03 cooler and the difference is amazing!

Stock idle was 50C and after 10 minutes of scanning for artifacts is was 90c.
HR-03 Idle is 33C and after 10 mins of scanning it is 61C.
!