Thermalright's V1 Ultra
Best price found: $49.22
The V1 Ultra has been revered in cooling circles since its arrival. Does its unique design give it the edge to surpass the other contenders?
Thermalright's entry into the VGA cooling category is very interesting. Like all the other coolers in this test, it cools by pulling heat from the cooling block via heat pipes. Unlike its competitors, however, those heat pipes support a radiator and cooling fan on the complete opposite side of the card. The idea is that the heat won't be trapped on the bottom of the card where there is little or no airflow, but instead will be pushed upwards towards the case fans and out of the case. This is very similar to many silent cooling solutions on specialty video cards, like Gigabyte's Silent Pipe II series. As with the Accelero X2, the V1 Ultra is very tall, which might pose problems in a tight PC case.
Thermalright's V1 Ultra package
The V1 Ultra is a little challenging to install compared to the other coolers in this test, but not really difficult. The hardware is simply more awkward to handle than the other coolers because it wraps around the card. The V1 Ultra is a universal cooler, and its one-size-fits-all solution is unique as it utilizes a bracket that surrounds the GPU, with the cooler assembly then screwed to the bracket. It took some care, but the V1 Ultra installed well and without incident. The included power cable was a 3-pin motherboard fan type; once again, it would be nice if a Molex adapter were included.