Thermalright's Shaman VGA Cooler: The Quiet Giant?

Conclusion: Bigger Is Better!

Thermalright's new Shaman graphics card cooler delivers irrefutably superior cooling and noise performance compared to the competition we've tested. All it really asks for in return is a lot of space and a notable monetary investment. It's admittedly large, but shouldn't be so sizable as to be problematic in a majority of full ATX enclosures.

The Shaman can be purchased for $80 from frozencpu.com, and at this price the Shaman is a solid value compared to competing VGA coolers that we tested, products that are all priced similarly. The Thermalright representative suggested that it will be available on Newegg.com in the near future for a few dollars less.

(Ed.: Extra emphasis is put on the comparison above because we have to remind you that superior thermal performance does not guarantee your graphics card is going to overclock significantly higher. Deriving an extra $80 worth of value from a board that simply might not want to operate any faster is difficult using any of these products. You'd be infinitely better off saving up for a second GeForce GTX 460 or Radeon HD 6850 used in SLI/CrossFire.

With that said, perhaps you're simply trying to quiet down a card you have no interest in replacing. Fair enough. Who're we to tell you where to spend your money? Be warned, though, knocking 10 degrees from your load temps doesn't translate to an extra x MHz of headroom, especially if you don't have control over your card's voltage settings.)

There is only one real problem that we have with the Shaman, and that's the bundled VRM heatsinks that suffer from thermal tape too weak do the job. While this can be fixed with better thermal tape or thermal adhesive, the problem is unacceptable for a critical cooling component like the VRM.

Yes, Thermalright offers the VRM-G2 dedicated VRM cooler, and it can be used as an alternate VRM cooling solution on the GeForce GTX 480. This is an interesting product in its own right and is quite attractive for overclockers. Priced at $35, however, this is a sledgehammer for a job that calls for a claw hammer. It's also quite large, and can create even more case compatibility issues than the Shaman itself, due to the large offset cooling surface.

In the final analysis, we cannot deny that the Thermalright Shaman VGA cooler has market-leading potential, and there probably isn't a better graphics card cooler available on the market. Having said that, it deserves to have a bundled VRM cooling solution that simply works out of the box. Be sure you're buying aftermarket graphics cooling for the right reason, and you won't be disappointed by what this product can do.

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  • Anonymous
    Great it you only have 1 GPU and no other expansion cards because the thing takes up like 4 slots
  • dstln
    It looks like a good option for enthusiasts who want a quiet system. Besides that, I fail to see the point.
  • tomskent
    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?
  • tomskent
    A picture of the card in the case would of been nice
  • nebun
    so how am i going to set this up in SLI?
  • duk3
    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.
  • Tamz_msc
    Wow!
  • mx2138
    I'm a tad bit interested on the total weight card+cooler...
  • fatkid35
    ultra mega E peen points. this in a case would look like the backside of your refrigerator.seriously, go look right now!
  • zodiacfml
    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.
  • Lutfij
    behemoth!!!

    I'm switching to watercooling before i try to live next to this monster.
  • dEAne
    It is just right for me - but the space is my problem.
  • akula2
    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 :)
  • dmcfc
    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..)
  • Yuka
    I need to see that thing inside a case; this review is incomplete without one, Mr. Don. Well, IMO that is.

    Cheers!
  • bullit7
    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.
  • geofelt
    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.
  • Anonymous
    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.
  • jaquith
    Real cooling -> Koolance!
  • rolli59
    Just another product I will never buy since std GPU cooling has always been enough for me.