Thermalright's New Graphics Card Coolers

The Thermalright HR-03 Plus, Continued

In all other respects, however, the HR-03 PLUS is similar to its basic HR-03 brethren. Like all HR-03s, it can be mounted in two different configurations: either wrapping the heat pipes around the card for a smaller signature, or with all of the cooling hardware on the GPU side of the card. And like all HR-03s, you can elect to run the cooler passively, or you can purchase a separate 90 mm cooling fan to run the cooler actively.

In the HR-03 PLUS' monolithic and nondescript cardboard box (a Thermalright tradition), the cooler was well packaged with all of the necessary components. Heat sinks for memory and other components are included, as well as a very generous tube of Thermalright thermal paste, an instruction sheet and a Thermalright sticker for pimping your rig.

Installing the HR-03 PLUS on our 8800 GTX was a fairly simple affair. We started by removing the stock cooler, and then placed the various little memory heat sinks on the card. In doing so, we discovered our only real complaint about the HR-03 PLUS: the memory heat sink adhesive was very weak. Even after pushing the heat sinks on with as much finger strength as we dared use on our precious 8800, they would often fall off. Some became unattached during the installation of the card into the case, while others fell off during the benchmarking tests when we would hear an odd "tap" sound before discovering that the sink had fallen onto the sound card below it. Having metallic parts fall onto running computer hardware was not something we fancy, so we'd recommend using some thermal adhesive if you plan to use the HR-03 PLUS' heat sinks.

Aside from the heat sink issue, installation was smooth sailing with our 8800. It was easy to configure the HR-03 to wrap around the video card and to attach the cooling fins on the top of the card. Because the HR-03 PLUS is made only for the GeForce 8800, configuring the cooler specifically for the card is a simple process.

There are included clips if the user wishes to mount an aftermarket 90 mm cooling fan, which we did for our active cooling tests. We think that Thermalright could hit a real home run here by including a fan for its users.

Now that we've had a look at the HR-03 PLUS, let's look at Thermalright's other newcomer, the V2