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Thermalright's Shaman VGA Cooler: The Quiet Giant?

Thermalright's Shaman VGA Cooler: The Quiet Giant?

Thermalright's Shaman is the largest VGA cooler we've ever seen. Having recently reviewed three competing aftermarket graphics cooling solutions, we're eager to find out if size really matters when it comes to overclocking the ultra-hot GeForce GTX 480.

After we wrote our last VGA cooler roundup, Thermalright brought its newest entry in this segment to market: the Shaman. Thermalright claims two world firsts for this cooler: the first VGA cooler designed to accommodate a 140 mm fan and the first VGA cooler with eight 6 mm heat pipes.

Of course, we're always looking to put claims of superiority to the test, so we're itching to compare this unit to some of the products reviewed in the past.

Let's have a look at how Thermalright's new VGA cooler stacks up against the competition:

Arctic Cooling
Accelero XTREME Plus
160(L) × 132(W) × 38(H) mm290(L) × 104(W) × 56(H) mm212.5(L) × 110.5(W) × 65(H) mm239(L) x 98(W) x 51(H) mm
Weight:500 grams
(without fan)
622 grams759 grams
430 grams
(without fans)
Fans:Single 140 mm fan
Three 92 mm fansTwo 92 mm Case Fans
Two 92 mm Fans
Power Cables:
Single Motherboard
Fan Header
Single Graphics Card
Fan Header
Two Motherboard
Fan Headers
Single Motherboard
Fan Header
Copper Cooling Block
Aluminum Heat pipes
and Cooling Fins
Copper Cooling Block
Copper Heat Pipes
Aluminum Cooling Fins
Copper Cooling Block
Copper Heat Pipes
Aluminum Cooling Fins
Four mounting hole size options:
Radeon 3870/4800/5800
and GeForce 250/9800GTX,
GeForce GTX 200 series,
GeForce GTX 480 and 8800,
GeForce GTX 460
Radeon 6950/6970
GeForce GTX 570/580
Five compatibility set options:
VR001-Multiple Radeon/GeForce Cards
VR002-GeForce GTX 200 series
VR003-GeForce GTX 470/465
VR004-GeForce GTX 480
VR005-GeForce GTX 460
Six mounting hole size options:
43 mm, 51 mm, 53 mm,
58 mm, 61 mm, 80 mm
VF3000F: GeForce GTX 480
VF3000F: GeForce GTX 465/470
VF3000A: Radeon HD 5800 series
VF3000N: GeForce GTX 200 series

From the raw specifications, we can see that the Shaman's 140 mm cooler does stand out amongst the crowd. A large fan has the potential for higher airflow combined with lower RPMs (and consequently lower noise) compared to smaller fans. Of course, the drawback is the significantly larger size of the cooler, standing more than 20 mm higher than the next-largest competitor, and even higher when the fan is attached. As a result, the Shaman won't fit in anything smaller than a full-width case with at least 6 3/4" inches of clearance from the motherboard.

Enough statistics for now though; let's have a closer look at Thermalright's VGA cooling beast.

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  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , December 28, 2010 3:26 AM
    Great it you only have 1 GPU and no other expansion cards because the thing takes up like 4 slots
  • 2 Hide
    dstln , December 28, 2010 3:28 AM
    It looks like a good option for enthusiasts who want a quiet system. Besides that, I fail to see the point.
  • 8 Hide
    tomskent , December 28, 2010 3:50 AM
    It would of been nice to take a picture of the card looking down on it from the top so we could see/estimate how many slots it would take up.
    how many slots does it exactly take up?
  • 6 Hide
    tomskent , December 28, 2010 3:58 AM
    A picture of the card in the case would of been nice
  • 3 Hide
    nebun , December 28, 2010 4:02 AM
    so how am i going to set this up in SLI?
  • 2 Hide
    duk3 , December 28, 2010 4:18 AM
    It's not a case, it's a test bed.
    You aren't going to set this up in SLI, especially with the VRM heatsink going one way and the 140mm fan going the other.
  • 0 Hide
    Tamz_msc , December 28, 2010 4:29 AM
  • 1 Hide
    mx2138 , December 28, 2010 5:06 AM
    I'm a tad bit interested on the total weight card+cooler...
  • 0 Hide
    fatkid35 , December 28, 2010 5:25 AM
    ultra mega E peen points. this in a case would look like the backside of your refrigerator.seriously, go look right now!
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , December 28, 2010 6:04 AM
    thanks for the nice conclusion. on the same note, watercooling and large air heatsinks are same with this cooler right here, there isn't much to be gained in terms of adding more clock speed.
    for the right reasons, i would still get WC or large sinks.
  • 1 Hide
    Lutfij , December 28, 2010 7:06 AM

    I'm switching to watercooling before i try to live next to this monster.
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , December 28, 2010 8:18 AM
    It is just right for me - but the space is my problem.
  • 0 Hide
    akula2 , December 28, 2010 8:46 AM
    Prolimatech and Thermalright are the best CPU coolers in most of the solutions. Personally I use them and very much satisfied with their performance on my Workstations. But, if one is looking for a cost effective solution then Cooler Master Hyper212 plus is still the best bet. Choice if yours :) 
  • 1 Hide
    dmcfc , December 28, 2010 11:09 AM
    akula2Prolimatech and Thermalright are the best CPU coolers in most of the solutions. Personally I use them and very much satisfied with their performance on my Workstations. But, if one is looking for a cost effective solution then Cooler Master Hyper212 plus is still the best bet. Choice if yours

    the cm 212+ is a cpu cooler, this article is about a vga cooler, there is no way both of those can be compared...

    Ok I just don't see the point of this other than trying to make the pc quieter, it takes a lot of space, my guess is that it's not possible to crossfire or sli any cards if both of the cards are using this cooler! If one of the cards is not using it the pc is going to be just as loud so there is no point of having it on not even in one of the cards! So this cooler is just for people that want a quieter pc with a single card with just one gpu (as they don't work with dual-gpu like the 5970..)
  • 0 Hide
    Yuka , December 28, 2010 11:44 AM
    I need to see that thing inside a case; this review is incomplete without one, Mr. Don. Well, IMO that is.

  • 4 Hide
    bullit7 , December 28, 2010 12:55 PM
    The whole point of this test was to see how well the Shaman compared to the other products and you invalidated the test when you added the additional VRM cooler. What you SHOULD have done was to get the better thermal tape and tested it with the cooling parts in the box, not go and add an additional part that screwed the whole test. Yes, it's only the VRM, but it still counts because Thermalright put their own parts in the box for a reason. I call for a retest.
  • 1 Hide
    geofelt , December 28, 2010 1:05 PM
    The results are impressive for a cooler on a test bed. But... most of us will have the card and cooler installed in a case. Where does the hot vga air go? Right back into the case where it heats up both the air used to cool the graphics card AND the air used to cool the cpu. That is why A direct exhaust type cooler will be more effective. Let's see a test of these coolers installed in a case.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , December 28, 2010 1:13 PM
    Disappointed that TH did this review with an additional component rather than the out-of-box cooler only. It is completely misleading no matter how much it is disclosed, that the added vrm cooler is not part of the product being reviewed. If the card were to fail due to the vrm chips cooking, that needs to be part of the review. Instead you are effectively covering a manufacturer deficiency by adding another product.
  • 1 Hide
    jaquith , December 28, 2010 1:49 PM
    Real cooling -> Koolance!
  • 0 Hide
    rolli59 , December 28, 2010 1:55 PM
    Just another product I will never buy since std GPU cooling has always been enough for me.
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