Today I have the ThermalTake Max Orb in my hand. The ThermalTake Orb series comes in Ruby, Gold and Blue, and now with have the Max version which is huge. Of course there are a whole bunch of heatpipes thrown in too…
Thermaltake Technology Co., Ltd. started its core business based on our extensive knowledge of PC thermal management during the era where the area of performance CPU cooling was only exclusive for “overclockers” orPC enthusiasts. With the company’s initial launch of Orb coolers, it created waves of shocks and appraisals throughout the gaming and overclocking communities. Thermaltake quickly became the name gamers turn to when they need high-end and reliable thermal solutions.
With company’s core business of CPU cooling still growing at a vast rate, Thermaltake made another grand entry to the PC chassis industry. To date, Thermaltake has always been considered as the pioneering company that revolutionized the PC chassis industry with Xaser series enclosures. The typical and traditional beige and plastic front panel design was outdone by Xaser series chassis’s atypical gaming red and aluminium front panel. It was also the first enclosure available to public with Hardcano unti which provided users full control over computer’s thermal management system.
In the year 2002, Thermaltake announced Purepower line of power supply unti for the ever-growing power-hungry PCs. Purepower series PSU quickly gained recognition with its extensive warranty and high-reliability guaranty.
Today, Thermaltake has grown into a world-class company with state-of-the-art testing and R&D facility based in Taiwan along with 60+ engineers and ID team covering each application segment such as Liquid Cooling, Air Cooling, PC Enclosure and Power Supply for main-stream users, high-end solutions, system integrators and industrial applications; thus achieve Thermaltake’s company motto, “COOLall YOUR LIFE” !
Intel: LGA775 (Core 2, Pentium / Celeron)
143 x 144 x 95.2mm
Copper base with aluminium fans
Copper tube 6mm in diameter
120 x 120 x 25mm
1300 ~ 2000 RPM
Max. air flow
Max. air pressure
2.22mm in H20
16 ~ 24dBA
The Max Orb comes packaged in a black and red retail cardboard box with poorly translated English describing its key points. On the sides you’ll find diagrams explaining how the heatpipe and heatsink blades work together getting the heat away from your core.
At the top you find a plastic window which shows you one corner of the flower-like fins that is the Max Orb. The plastic forms part of the clamshell that holds all of the bits and pieces with the Orb. Fortunately, it’s held together with a single piece of tape, rather than welded shut meaning my gas axe can stay in the drawer.
Once opened, you’ll find an AM2 backing plate, a universal retention frame, a sachet of thermal grease, a load of screws and nuts, and the manual.
The manual comes in all languages and isn’t that helpful as it reads as if translated by Google.
The Max Orb itself is circular in design and is just larger than a CD/DVD. It looks big and should be able to dissipate a lot of heat as a result. The base of the cooler is copper yet coloured silver and so are the 6 heatpipes that direct heat to different places. As the fins aren’t in direct contact with the bottom of the heatsink, the heatpipes also provide the Max Orb with structural strength and raise the fins above any conflicting motherboard components.
Opposite to where the heatpipes connect with the fins, you’ll find a small knob which controls the speed at which the non-standard 110mm fan rotates at; between 1300 to 2000 RPM. It seems odd that the speed knob is built into the cooler as it means that you can’t easily change the speed on the fly. However, it is nice to be able to manually set the cooler to the lowest speed that your PC will work at.
The bottom of the heatsink is protected by a small piece of clear plastic which when removed shows the shiny surface beneath. It’s quite well lapped but there are small visible machine marks present. It’s flat and should make for good contact with your core.
The logo on the fans spindle looks a little dated and not the usual futuristic font/style that most manufactures go for. That said you won’t be able to read/see it when the fan is rotating.
The ideal behind having a circular setup for the heatsink fins is to all air to flow in several different directions rather than just one (as with a normal, basic heatsink). This should increase air turbulence and hence make sure that the most amount of heat is taken away from the cooler. The heatpipes are key to this design as they have to evenly ‘load’ the fins with heat so that one side isn’t hotter than the other.
To enable this cooler to be used on several different motherboards, the fins of the cooler are raised to prevent them from conflicting with any other surface components that may be present. There is also the universal retention frame which can be used with lGA775, AM2, 939 and 754. The 939 and 754 installation methods require the stock backplate which the retention frame screws to. The AM2 method uses the included backplate which means that you’ll have to remove your motherboard to install it. If you have an LGA775 motherboard, then you simply use the included ‘push pin modules’ which use the screw holes on the motherboard.
The raised fins and large fan mean that not only will your CPU be nice and frosty, but airflow will be created over your RAM and PWM area which can only be a good thing.
The fins themselves on the cooler aren’t very sturdy and are quite thin to provide a larger surface air for heat to escape from. They easily get distorted from their intended shape/position and as such, the cooler is quite delicate.
I decided to install this cooler on our AM2 system which meant removing the motherboard and sticking on the backplate. Once this was done, I cleaned up the core with a little TIM clean, and whacked on some Jetart Nano heatpaste as it performs as well as Artic Silver 5 but doesn’t need three years to cure.
Once the universal retention frame was in place, you have to hook one end of the Max Orb onto a lip in the frame, and then screw the other end onto the bolt which projects from the opposite side of the frame. Pretty simple stuff.
Once installed, the whole setup was nice and secure. Which is good news as the cooler is relatively heavy weighing in at 465g. I would have no problems with transporting this case around with the cooler installed.
As with our other CPU cooling reviews, I’ll follow the usual testing method:
Record the ambient temperature
Let the PC idle for 30 minutes and record the average temperature
Power up StressPrime on both cores with Folding@home running for 30 minutes
Record the average temperature
As this cooler has a variable speed control, I’ll test at maximum and minimum speeds.
Once the cooler was turned on, the 110mm fan lit up blue thanks to the LED’s built into the fan. The variable speed control doesn’t affect how bright the LED’s are so you won’t have a dimmed fan if you choose to run at a lower RPM.
At low speed, the fan doesn’t make a great deal of noise and is pretty silent. It’s not perfect as there are no vibration dampening mounts present, so the main cause of noise is the fan rumbling in the case. The delicate blades show a major flaw. Due to the turbulence that the air creates around them, at high speeds they shake and rattle which creates a tinny knocking sound which gets quite annoying after a while. The rumbling from the fan vibration also gets worse when the fan is cranked up a notch.
As the fins are easily bent, they can come into contact with the fan itself and make a horrible grinding sound. If you treat the cooler with care this shouldn’t happen though.
While I may be labouring the noise point, its annoying as it’s not the usual sound that rushing air makes. Instead it stands out from the rest of your case noise, rather than just adding to it. It’s far from deafening, but it is still there.
ThermalTake Max Orb (min)
ThermalTake Max Orb (max)
CoolerMaster Hyper TX
Stock AMD cooler
After running the benchmarking on the cooler, there isn’t a huge difference between max and min RPM and so it’s a good idea to leave it mid-way which stops the fan rattling and keeps noise to a minimum.
The results are pretty awesome. Couple this cooler with good case ventilation and you’ll keep your CPU happy and have plenty of room to overclock with.
There are key changes that if implemented would make this one of the best coolers around. It’s much better than the stock AMD cooler and the CoolerMaster Hyper TX but the noise aspect is a major one in my mind. Use a few vibration killing rubber fan mounts and there wouldn’t even be hint of this issue.
If you are looking for an eye-catching, interesting heatsink with fantastic performance, but couldn’t care less about noise, pick this product.
|Variable fan speed||Rattling noise|
|Awesome performance||Delicate fins|
|Component clearance; motherboard compatibility|
I’d like to thank ThermalTake for providing us with the cooler.
Discuss this review in our forums