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REVIEW: Thermaltake ND-1 VGA Cooler

s1rrah

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Processor E6400 2.14ghz @ 3.6ghz (24/7)
Motherboard Asus P5B-Dlx WiFi
Cooling Scythe Infinity (pressure-mod) w/ Dual Silverstone FM121's
Memory Mushking Extreme DDR-2 PC6400
Video Card(s) EVGA 7900GT - 1.5 volt mod @ 700/852
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Case TT Armor w/ 250mm side panel fan
Audio Device(s) Sound Blaster Live 5.1 ( what else? )
Power Supply TT 500 pure power silent
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#1
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REVIEW: Thermaltake ND-1 VGA Cooler
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I've been wanting a new VGA cooler for a while now.

I'm using a 1.5v volt modified 7900GT overclocked to 700/850 and so every little degree counts.

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Let me just say right off the bat, I did not include the Zalman VF-900 in this review as a comparison cooler because other reviews online have cited *identical* temps to those produced by the Vantec Iceberq 6.

That said ...

Since I already own the Iceberq 6 from Vantec, I decided to use it as the main performance reference cooler and then use the stock EVGA cooler that shipped with my 7900GT as further perspective. Saves me some money that way ...

Sorry to Zalman folk, but as this reviewer cites ... it's performance is about identical to the Iceberq 6.

Moving on ...

The Vantec Iceberq 6 that I've been using for six months has kept me within sane temperature limits but since a friend recently installed the ND-1 and has been raving about it's performance, and since I love reviewing new hardware, and since it was only about 35 dollars ... I decided to pick it up and give it a try.

:)



Test Method
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The test is simple:

- Run system idle after boot for 15 minutes - Record IDLE GPU temp.
- Run Nvidia's Geoforms demo for 15 minutes - Record LOAD GPU temp.
- All tests conducted at a room ambient of 25C.
- All cooler's mounted with Arctic Silver 5


For those of you who don't know what the Nvidia Geoforms demo is ... here's a link; I find it invaluable as a GPU stresser when set to ridiculously high resolutions and detail levels.

Click the below image if you want to see what the Geoforms demo looks like when running; it's a small .WMV video file:

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[youtube link in case the above doesn't work]



Test Equipment
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E6400 @ 3.5ghz
EVGA 7900GT w/ 1.5v VMOD @ 700/850

As stated above, the 7900GT card has been volt modded to run at 1.5 volts and is sporting a rather silly overclock over it's native 500/750 clock speeds. It gets really hot as you'll see from the stock cooler's temperatures.

On to the testing...



EVGA Stock Cooler
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I was a little scared to run this as my overclock and volts are sort of high, but figured it wouldn't hurt for a 15 minute test.

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Here's the numbers:

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GPU Idle: 52C
GPU Load: 81C

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That's about what I was expecting to tell you the truth; the cooler didn't work *that* good with a stock card, but add a volt mod and a big overclock and it's meltdown city.

Next up ... my tried and true Vantec Iceberq 6...



Vantec Iceberq 6
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This is the cooler I've been using with this 7900GT for about six months now; it's been really great so far and I think it's a rather fine product considering it's kept a fat and volt modded 7900GT at acceptable temps for so long.

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Here's the numbers:

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GPU Idle: 45C
GPU Load: 67C

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Not a bad showing over the stock cooler; a full ~14C better at load and the idle temp is way more appropriate as well (~7C).

But what I find after installing and testing the ND-1 is that, sadly enough and though I'm somewhat attached to it ... the Vantec's role as my main VGA cooler is now over.



Thermaltake ND-1
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Those of you who are familiar with Arctic Cooling's NV Silencer series will undoubtedly recognize this as a blatant design hack of that notoriously successful cooler line.

But I'd go so far as to say, and having read my fair share of NV silencer reviews, that the ND-1 is a much better performer:

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As with OCZ's knockoff of the Scythe Ninja CPU cooler ... when a competing company in the cooler business rips another companies design, we as end users should consider it more of a tribute than a rip off ... I mean, that just means there's more good coolers available, right?

So I got the ND-1 installed and set about the testing.,..

Here's the numbers:

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GPU Idle: 40C
GPU Load: 57C

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Holey MOLEY!

A full ~10C better than my beloved Iceberq 6!

And even more shocking (granted with a seriously voltmodded and overclocked card) ...a whopping ~24C better than the stock EVGA 7900GT cooler.

I'm just doing this for fun and all ... and because I need to keep my gear for a long time ... but SHEEZSH! that's some seriously good improving over *both* of my previous coolers.

Yes. Occasionally and very occasionally, Thermaltake does get it right in the cooling department.

As with the Thermaltake Spirit RS coolers I installed and tested a couple weeks ago, the ND-1 is about as good as it's going to get when it comes to VGA coolers using air alone (barring the HR-03, of course, which we all know is the reigning king).

In summation ... here's a handy info-graphic showing the overall performance of each cooler:

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Notes along the way
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One thing fun that I did while having my 7900GT out of the case was to add some RAM sinks to a few IC's on the back of my card that get sizzling hot during gaming and load testing:

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Thought you 7900GT owners might like to see and possibly replicate if you have some spare sinks laying around! :thumb:


Some Pr0n in Parting
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Finally ... here's some more pics of this incredibly photogenic VGA cooler from Thermaltake:




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[this review brought to you by iNSOMnIA!!]

:toast:
 
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#2
Very nice review and cooler. What cards is it compatible with (jw...good to know random things)
 

s1rrah

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Processor E6400 2.14ghz @ 3.6ghz (24/7)
Motherboard Asus P5B-Dlx WiFi
Cooling Scythe Infinity (pressure-mod) w/ Dual Silverstone FM121's
Memory Mushking Extreme DDR-2 PC6400
Video Card(s) EVGA 7900GT - 1.5 volt mod @ 700/852
Storage Generic Samsung SATA
Case TT Armor w/ 250mm side panel fan
Audio Device(s) Sound Blaster Live 5.1 ( what else? )
Power Supply TT 500 pure power silent
Software GiMP
#3
Very nice review and cooler. What cards is it compatible with (jw...good to know random things)
This is the Nvidia model ... works with 6000 series, 7000 series ...

The also make one for the ATI cards ...

Check thermaltake's site for more info ..
 

quickie

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Cooling Xigamtek S1283, 2x Antec TriCool 120mm Case fans
Memory 2x2GB OCZ, DDR2-800
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Storage WD 640GB AAKS; WD 500GB AAKS
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Case Sonata II
Audio Device(s) Audigy 2ZS
Power Supply OCZ GameXStream 700W modded with Scythe SFF21e
#4
good job!
I’m curious on your opinion in the noise difference between the Iceberg 6 and ND-1, if there is any at all?
 

s1rrah

New Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
262 (0.06/day)
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Processor E6400 2.14ghz @ 3.6ghz (24/7)
Motherboard Asus P5B-Dlx WiFi
Cooling Scythe Infinity (pressure-mod) w/ Dual Silverstone FM121's
Memory Mushking Extreme DDR-2 PC6400
Video Card(s) EVGA 7900GT - 1.5 volt mod @ 700/852
Storage Generic Samsung SATA
Case TT Armor w/ 250mm side panel fan
Audio Device(s) Sound Blaster Live 5.1 ( what else? )
Power Supply TT 500 pure power silent
Software GiMP
#5
good job!
I’m curious on your opinion in the noise difference between the Iceberg 6 and ND-1, if there is any at all?
No detectable difference ... I can't hear either one of them over my other much larger case fans ...

Thermaltake rates the noise at 16dba ... and that's about what it seems like ... very silent. I'd say noiseless really ...
 

quickie

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Processor Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 @3.0Ghz
Motherboard Gigabyte P35-DS3L rev2.0
Cooling Xigamtek S1283, 2x Antec TriCool 120mm Case fans
Memory 2x2GB OCZ, DDR2-800
Video Card(s) ASUS Radeon 3450 256mb
Storage WD 640GB AAKS; WD 500GB AAKS
Display(s) Dell 23" SP2309W
Case Sonata II
Audio Device(s) Audigy 2ZS
Power Supply OCZ GameXStream 700W modded with Scythe SFF21e
#6
thanks, good to know for future reference.

i like performance, but i much prefer a quiet computer.