Thermalright's New Graphics Card Coolers

The Thermalright V2

With a name like V2, we wonder if this cooler is the spiritual replacement for Thermalright's aging V1 Ultra. Like the V1 Ultra, the V2 is made to work with a variety of video cards. Because of this, the V2 is in a very different market position compared to its HR-03 PLUS cousin, as there are a number of other coolers to compare it with.

While the V2 is compatible with Nvidia's new midrange - including the 8500/8600 series cards - it doesn't seem compatible with ATI's 2400/2600 cards. The 2400 is listed as incompatible with the V2 on the Thermalright site, and when I tried to put the V2 on a Powercolor 2600 XT, I had no luck; the power connector on the card interfered with the heat pipes on the V2, preventing acceptable contact with the GPU. For testing we used a GeForce 7900 GS we had on hand.

The V1 arrived in the first windowed Thermalright box I have ever seen. Compared to Thermalright's usual brown cardboard box treatment, this thing has curb appeal, and it's also packed much smaller and efficiently than usual.

Open the box and you will find Thermalright's typical stock of heat sinks, thermal paste, instruction sheet and sticker.

The V2 looks very different from the V1 Ultra it is replacing. It reminds us of a miniature copper version of the HR-03, with four heat pipes going from the cooling block into a bank of cooling fins. Unlike the HR-03 and V1 Ultra, however, the V1 does not have the option of wrapping around the video card. It is a relatively thin part (which is good), and sits tight immediately above the GPU.

Installation is where the V2 shines compared to its overly-complex predecessor. The V1 Ultra is an infinitely adjustable mess compared to the new V2. Instead of the V1 Ultra's odd sliding bracket system, the V2 offers multiple screw holes for varying sizes of video card mounts. Choose the right holes for your application and you're good to go.

On a side note, I forego the memory heat sinks on the 7900 GS because the memory isn't cooled in any way on the stock card and I didn't see the need to muck about with the sinks.

Just like the HR-03, the V2 can be used passively without a cooling fan, or actively with an 80 mm fan. Unfortunately, the V2 does not come with a fan, although the V1 Ultra did. We'll see if the V2 is worthwhile as a passive cooler in our test results, and we'll also try it out with an active 80 mm fan we purchased separately.

With the quick installation over, let's look at our test system and get down to the business of benchmarking.