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Thermalright HR-03 GTX Aftermarket Cooler Review

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Cooling' started by Cold Storm, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    Thermalright has always been a staple in the world of computer modding. A well known item from them is the “TRUE” 120mm cooler. To me, that was a great cooler that could still be named as “King” of all CPU coolers. Now, can they make the King of the VGA too? One can only debate on who is ruler. But, I am here to shed light onto their HR-03 GTX cooler. Since, by design of the GTX260/280 (65nm) series cards, it shows that it shouldn’t need one… Now, are they right?
    The Thermalright HR-03 GTX cooler can be found at numerous places online, and to be sold at $59.99us.


    * For this review I will be doing the following set up*
    • Maximus Formula x38 Board
    • Q6700 CPU
    • 4gbs (2x2gb) G-Skill Pi 1100mhz Ram
    • Custom Water set up for CPU
    • Western Digital 250gb Sata 3.0 hdd
    • Vista Ultimate x64
    • Auzen X-plosion 7.1 sound card
    • GTX280 video card
    • Cooler Master Real Power 750w

    The Features of the Cooler is of followed:

    • 6 quality heatpipes for maximum amount of heat transfer to work with 120mm*25mm fan for best configuration to suit your needs (fan not included).
    • Nickel-plated heatpipes to reduce oxidation effect, maintaining top performance for long term usage.
    • Proprietary through holes on fins for efficient ventilation and proficient cooling.
    • Heatpipes soldered to every heatsink fin to increase heat transfer efficiency.
    • Includes the VRM heatsink with proprietary thru holes adapted from the High Riser Series for best heat dissipation.
    • Sleek and stylish appearance.

    Technical Specs:
    • Dimension: L133 x W156 x H38 mm Weight: 410g
    • Recommended Fan: 120 x 120 x 25mm fans
    • Heat pipes: Six heat pipes Nickel Plated
    • Base material: copper

    While the Package components are:
    • 1-HR-03 GTX Heatsink
    • 1-VRM-Heatsink
    • 1-HSI Heatsink
    • 1-Bracket Mount
    • 1-Backplate
    • 6-Ram Heatsink A
    • 2-RAM Heatsink B
    • 2-RAM Heatsink C
    • 2-120mm Fan wire clip
    • 4-Screw Cap
    • 4-Screw
    • 4-Washer
    • 1-Chill Factor
    • 1-Thermal pad

    They give you everything for the card, but the fan itself. In this review, I go with two different CFM fans and then throw out the “warning” that they say with using the cooler. Try out how good it is, via passive!


    Now for a close look of the cooler, and everything that comes with it.

    [​IMG]

    Once open, you can see that it comes all polished and with a famous “sticker”.

    [​IMG]



    Then, when you take out the cooler, there is a trap on the bottom where all the rest of the cooler components are at.

    [​IMG]


    Here is a comparison shot of the size of it compared to a Mountain Dew can

    [​IMG]



    To take off the protective cover of the GTX 280 you’ll need the following tools:
    • A small Philips screw driver
    • Knife/ Flat Head screw driver
    • Needle Nose Pliers

    I say a knife for the fact that it’s easier to pry the case off. Due to the fact that it was a huge pain in the behind to even take it apart. I guess it is the fact that nVidia believes that there will never be a reason for you to take off that case around the video card. I do want to note that when you do take off the cover, that you start taking off the cover at this section of the card.

    [​IMG]

    Since there won’t be any components there to mess up.



    Here is what I have found to make it easier to take off the casing of the card:
    • Start with a knife or a flat head screw driver to start the prying of the card
    • When you start to fully ply the cover off, it’s best to use your hands with it.


      [​IMG]

    • Also do it a slow pace. If you do it fast, you could tear the memory chips off due to the tape.
    • It is also better to take off the back of the card first.


      [​IMG]

    • At the end of the card is the fan connector, so I suggest when you have it taken apart enough, just pull it off. You might need to use the needle nose pliers to do that.


    Then once done with the back end, just follow do the same you did with the back side to the top cover. It took around 10 minutes to fully take it apart. I also suggest that you clean all the chips, besides the GPU and Ram Chips. That way you make sure it’s all clean and ready to go.

    Now, after the fun of taking it a part, we get to put on the cooler! As you can see from the pictures below, it has some nice silver heat sinks for it.


    [​IMG]


    And the reason I got it!!!

    [​IMG]



    Now, I won’t go into detail on putting it together. If you can’t read instructions, then I suggest that you shouldn’t even be modding. But, I do want to forewarn people on the ram sinks. You do have to apply some pressure on them, or they may fall off, like so.

    [​IMG]

    Now, once it is done, you can bask it its glory, like I did.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    There is a warning that I do have to throw out now. Once you put it in the computer, it becomes a 3 slot cooler with the fan on it… So, I had to take out my Physx card in order to even place it in my Maximus Formula board. Then, the other warning is that I had to move my sound card to the top of the motherboard so that the fan doesn’t dig into it. Dig in it I said. Yeah, I’ve found one thing that makes this cooler, besides it taking up 3 slots, a problem. It tends to bend the PCB of the card if it’s in a case. So, for myself, I threw some Styrofoam covers of a power supply tv connector, to give it proper stability.

    [​IMG]


    It’s finally in the case. So, what to do next? Do I say temperature workout!? To me, I feel that if you use Furmarks with its stability test for 120secs, then you have reached the max temps of what it will get at while gaming and so forth. I may be wrong in it, but to me, it seems right on the numbers. Before I threw on the cooler, I was reading temps of: 48c at idle and 76c load.

    [​IMG]


    Those are some good temps since I’m in a tropical area and the house is kept at 24c. But, I’m always looking for something to give me “better” temperatures! In the review start, I said I was going to do passive and a few other ways. Those where not a lie.

    I used two different types of fans on the HR-03 GTX cooler. The first fan that I will show is the fan that comes with the Xigmatek HDT-RS1284 cooler. It has 61cfm at 20.1dbs, so it pushes a pretty good amount of air, and is silent. The fan does do pretty good for it. The temps went down to 40c on idle (8c drop) and was at 71c load (5c drop).


    Xigmatek fan at idle

    [​IMG]


    Xigmatek fan at fur load

    [​IMG]

    For a small db/cfm type fan, the temps are pretty good. But, still not good enough for me! Since I know there is still a good db/cfm rated fan out there! So in walks the Scythe Kaze-Juni “Slip Stream” 1900rpm fan. It comes in at 37dbs and 110 cfms.. That’s pretty good since the “Ultra Kaze” 3000rpm fan comes in at 45dbs and 133cfm. It’s a nice difference. But how nice you may ask? Pretty nice to spend about $10 at most places. It drops a total of 2c more than the Xigmatek at idle (38c), but a whopping 13c (58c) off from the Xigmatek’s fur. I know it may look strange. And some may say it is fubar, but after doing the test 3 times over a week, It’s true.


    Scythe Kaze-Juni at idle

    [​IMG]


    Scythe Kaze-Juni at fur load

    [​IMG]



    So, the winner in that is the Scythe Kaze-Juni fan. It’s still silent over my radiator fans. But, there is one thing I wasn’t kidding about… That is passive cooling. Now there is only a few reasons why a person would go passive. They have great air circulation, or is trying to get something for a HTPC. How were the temperatures? They weren’t what I cared to have it as… The card didn’t want to boot right when I was starting with the fan off, so I had to pull the power on the fan, and let it sit for 30 mintues before I took the temps. So, after 30 mintues of it being off, It read at 58c. That’s pretty high for the card. Not even having my stock cooler on, did it get that high on idle. So, I was a tad scared to even try fur. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. So, Fur for 120secs. Scary tempetaures happened. It got to 110secs before it started to slow down on fur, so heat was getting to be a issue. But, after 120secs it hit 104c. Almost double idle…

    Passive at idle (30 mins after unplugging the fan)

    [​IMG]

    Passive at 120secs fur

    [​IMG]


    It wasn’t something I would love to see. In today’s building of HTPC’s there really isn’t a need to take the stock cooler off, unless it’s really needed to have a aftermarket cooler added on. You can get great air flow due to the types of fans you can get.


    Price: $59.99 USD

    Pros:
    • Great looking cooler to have
    • With the right set up on fan, you can get it as cool as you want and as silent as you want.
    • Includes everything to set it up yourself but the fan

    Cons:
    • Can take some time to get the case cover off.
    • Tends to bend the PCB if you have it in a case.
    • Takes up 3 slots of your motherboard
    • No way it can be passive cooler


    To me, to say if the Thermalright HR-03 GTX could be king isn’t really a right thing to say. The Arctic-Cooling Accelero XTREME cooler isn’t out yet. So, this is the only one that is out besides you going water. But, with the ability to set up this cooler the way you want it, sound and pull wise, then it’s a great thing to buy. But, only, if you don’t mind the few little cons that some may think it’s not worth it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
  2. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    I want to add something to me, as being special.. I do want to thank Random Murderer, my unblood blood brother, for helping me with this review. If I didn't ever meet him, or Thought Disorder, I would never of been a Computer Geek again. They got me the cooler for Christmas, and I know I've gotten everything I have learned, besides from here, threw Random. Thanks Bro, your the brother I never had.
    :toast:
     
  3. kiriakost

    kiriakost New Member

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    Well you got me right on time , selecting VGA cooler for my new HD3850 AGP .

    True Thermalright its a respectable company,
    and i am one happy customer of them,
    complete satisfaction over five years now with their legendary CPU cooler.

    But about this one , its a bit too much for my taste.

    The only powerful argument , are if you truly need that to cool something like the latest BIG VGA players.

    I will not bother to debate about the size of it , i have select Zalman solution, due the fact that i do not need anything as extremely powerful cooler on air.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
  4. BrooksyX

    BrooksyX

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    Looks nice but honestly its just looks way to big to be practical to most people. I use most of the pci/pci-e ports on my motherboard.
     
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  5. LittleLizard

    LittleLizard

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    thx, i already read a review of that one but the version non gtx, as i said before, u should do reviews here at tpu
     
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  6. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    The cooler is a massive one. I won't lie about that. If your one that used all their slots, then it's not worth the buy. The Gtx 260/280 cards don't even need the thought of a aftermarket cooler. To be honest about it. The only reason one would put on this cooler is to see if they can cool the card better and not as loud as the card's at 100%... And to me, it did just that with the fact of setting up the cooler you want.
    I used the Zalman cooler on my 3870 and loved it. Just had to make sure, to dust it ever more so then when I had the stock cooler on it...

    I told trt that once he showed me that link, I would try it. Why not? it's all ways fun to mod anything and everything of your system!!
     
  7. DonInKansas

    DonInKansas

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    I'm pretty surprised your temps were as high as they were running passively. Isn't this cooler designed to run at good temps passively?
     
  8. kiriakost

    kiriakost New Member

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    GV-1000 ? ;) 23C down than stock.


    Well that box looks overpopulated to me :D


    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
  9. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    Well, via the Thermalright.com, it shows that you should have a fan on it. Every place you can order one, has the same "warning" of factor...

    I believe going passive with the low end cards that are made for HTPC's are the right thing to do But, cards like this, shouldn't even be thought. Since it's a high end card.. Those should be cooled as much as possible.. But, those are my beliefs.. And since my house is all was 80*f it really hurts going passive...

    Edit:

    Overpopulated? Just have my soundcard and water set up.. Nothing else. Fan's set up all for cooling...
     
  10. LittleLizard

    LittleLizard

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    when someone design a cooler that is capable of run a gtx 280 passively, it also discovered the way to freezing humans to the eternity
     
  11. kiriakost

    kiriakost New Member

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    Your picture , your camera , your hand ... next time do your best on it . ;)
     
  12. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    huh? I don't get what your going at???
     
  13. kiriakost

    kiriakost New Member

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    look , you zoomed too much , no one can see the total picture of the box,
    i gave a friendly advice , that possibly lost in the translation.
     
  14. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    But it was on the CARD, not the CASE... so why should I have done my full case???
     
  15. Random Murderer

    Random Murderer The Anti-Midas

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    :eek:
    thanks man.
    nice review, btw.
    :toast:
     
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  16. kiriakost

    kiriakost New Member

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    My personal interest was to see if it is spacy enough .

    Passive cooling needs space . Lots of it .
     
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  17. Binge

    Binge Overclocking Surrealism

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    Love the review :D Keep it Cold!
     
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  18. Thermopylae_480

    Thermopylae_480 New Member

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    If you're doing a review where temperature is an issue the computer you use and how it is set up is important. Temperature results vary depending on how the air can flow through the case.
     
  19. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    Well for the passive part of it, I still have the 88cfm fan blowing towards the card like all ways, and two 40mm fans doing the exhaust of the air.
     
  20. Thermopylae_480

    Thermopylae_480 New Member

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    Not a huge deal. Interesting, and glad you shared.
     
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  21. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    I just don't get why it was even hit up. Most reviews will never show the set-up of the system. You see what the system is, word wise, but then that's it. No matter if it's passive or not.. That's the only reason I was asking the guy why do I need a picture of the case itself.. It's of a product... We don't egg on the reviews here because they don't show the whole set up... I'd trust a review here, over any one's review..
     
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  22. trt740

    trt740

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    very nice review, very nice:toast::D:rockout::respect: To heck with anyone who says different, not a single review I have seen on this forum does a better job than his.
     
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  23. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    Thank you Trt. I do want to stress that I'm not trying to go at anyone. I just don't see how taking and showing your case is part of a review. The people on here, and of other sites do great jobs on reviews, and from them I try to make my own...
     
  24. trt740

    trt740

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    well I am bias since you are my bud :D Still the truth is the truth great review :respect: I'm getting one, Thermalright and Noctua are by far the best air cooling companies for quality, looks, performance and when price is no object . For value and performance it is Arctic cooler but in most cases they cannot match the quality or looks.(not always but most times).
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
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  25. thoughtdisorder

    thoughtdisorder New Member

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    Excellent Review CS! Very well written and thorough! :toast:

    Glad it worked out in your set up! :)
     
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