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Review: Super Orb

by David Ross on 27 November 2000, 00:00

Tags: Thermaltake (3540.TWO)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacm

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Super Orb

When Thermaltake released their previous coolers such as the Golden Orb and the Chrome Orb they really impressed everyone with their new cutting edge design, however one area that they weren't impressing upon was cooling power! :-( Sure they could keep up with the Alpha's and GlobalWin's, but they could never match or better their cooling power....... until NOW!!

Bring on the Super ORB!!!! standing almost two stories high and sporting two fans, this mutha is gonna make you think twice about Thermaltake beating those Alpha's ;-) Lets get down to the specs of this thing shall we?

Pictures from Thermaltakes Website with permission


Application wise this cooler can be used on any AMD Socket462 processor up to 1.5GHz and considering we're only at 1.2GHz at the moment there ain't gonna be nothing to worry about for a while yet ;) Looking at the above picture you'll notice that there are two fans? yep that's right 2 of em. The bottom fan takes care of most of the hot air being transferred by the heatsink and any warm air left over is disposed of by the slightly slower top fan. A problem most people might come across is that having 2 fans will of course require 2 fan headers? Not so, Thermaltake's got you covered ;) included with the Super ORB is a 3-4pin connector which I would recommend using on the bottom fan as it's going to be drawing more current that the top fan.

  • Top Fan = 34dBA @ 5000rpm shifting 17.3cfm of air

  • Bottom Fan = 22dBA @ 5500rpm shifting 25.45cfm

The packaging for the Super ORB is interesting in its own right, the hexagonal box is pretty cool and its looks alone may actually increase its cooling power ;-), also included in the package comes some thermal paste? Hmm Thermaltake have finally realized that most people would prefer to put on their own paste rather than rely on that crappy thermal interface stuff they normally stick on there (a sure sign that this cooler is aimed at overclockers? maybe.).


First thing I'm gonna say is, like most people out there who are serious about overclocking their Durons or TBirds? then your probably going to own an Abit KT7 motherboard or plan on owning one soon? Well I'm using that very motherboard and upon first glance you'll notice that a row of capacitors look very close the 462pin socket on the board? yep too close for my liking ;( A test placement of the Super ORB reveals that some modifications will have to be done to either the ORB itself or the motherboard? Hmm after pondering that one over for a while (it wasn't a hard decision to make) I decided to modify the ORB, lets face it, you'd be pretty pissed off if you'd try to bend over the capacitors and snapped them, wasting a £120 motherboard for the cost of a £25 (or thereabouts!) cooler. So mod the ORB it is, how d'ya go about doing that I hear you ask? Here it is in Four easy to follow (hopefully?) steps...

  • Step One: Place the ORB on the socket and mark out how high the capacitors reach up to on the fins

  • Step Two: Using a Dremmel or hacksaw, cut out an L shape from the ORB up to the height as previously marked out

  • Step Three: MAKE Sure that all aluminum dust is cleared away before application!!!!!

  • Step Four: Place the ORB on the socket again, and this time it should clear the capacitors :)))

After modding the ORB it's time to slip it on and see how she handles, if only it were that easy! The clip design may look relatively simple and straight forward, until you actually come to use it. This is where Thermaltake is going to lose marks in my book, after fiddling around for 2 minutes the first side of the clip eventually goes onto the 3 lugs on the ZIF (zero insertion force) socket, then it's just a case of pressing in the clip on the other side of the ORB whilst pushing down on the heatsink and lining it up with the lug on the opposite side of the ZIF socket and releasing the clip and she's on :))))

Test Set-Up:

  • AMD Thunderbird 1Ghz @ 1Ghz

  • Abit KT7 rev UL Bios

  • 128Mb Kingmax BGA Ram

  • Super ORB Cooler

Right time to warm up that processor :), a couple of hours running the SETI program should see to that. The program puts full load on the processor as it runs through endless Fourier Transformations (anyone doing calculus higher modules will have done Fourier's theory), running one of these calculations manually can take between 5 minutes up to a couple of hours :((( yet the processor takes on the full task of doing these calculations in a matter of seconds :))) The TBird processor's seem to be much faster at completing a SETI module when compared to INTEL processors.

After about 2½ Hours of running SETI the Full Load temps look like this:

Full Load

Running to a maximum temperature of 44 Degrees Centigrade

Under no load i.e. idle, the temps run something like this when using the Super ORB:

Idle Temps

Showing a difference of 15 Degrees Less than Full Load


Thermaltake have provided us with a top quality cooler which is quieter than most on the market and at a lower cost and most importantly of all this has to be one of the best looking coolers in the world :))) The Super ORB is one of the first socket coolers to employ a dual fan set-up (or at least the first one that I've seen ;) The Super ORB is also rated up to 1.5GHz so this future proof the cooler for a while to come. The shape of this cooler may prove to be a problem to some motherboards out there, the Abit KT7 definitely requires the Super ORB to be modified before it will fit. So if you plan on buying this cooler, check your motherboard first and more importantly check whether or not there is going to be any obstructions near the ZIF socket!

All in all if your overclocking on a budget and need the extra cooling power then the Super ORB is definitely for you + the looks alone would make this top of the list in my opinion (handy if you have a perspex window on the side of yer case ;)