In the recent years, we have seen the power consumption of graphics cards sky-rocket. What's worse, this trend looks set to continue.
Both ATI and NVIDIA's new and future graphics cards will consume more than 150W of power! Now, that's a lot of heat to dissipate.. and that's where high-performance graphics card coolers step in.
Today we'll be looking at three high-performance graphics card coolers. All three are based on heatpipe technology.
Heatpipes have been used in CPU coolers for several years now. Even the AMD Athlon 64 X2 stock coolers use heatpipes. Graphics card coolers have been slower to catch on, possibly due to the size and weight constraints of such coolers.
But today, there are a number of solutions from various manufacturers. Our competitors today are the Zalman VF900 Cu, the Sytrin VF1, and the Thermalright V1. These coolers were all purchased from retail outlets, and a Radeon X1800GTO from HIS was used for all the tests.
Many third-party coolers, included those tested, come with heatsinks for the graphics card's memory chips. However, for the purpose of this review, none were used during as it is both inefficient and hazardous to keep installing and removing the heatsinks.
This is a performance-oriented review. Hence, more emphasis will be placed on the pure performance of each cooler, although some consideration was given to their noise levels as well. Let's take a closer look at the contestants!
Zalman VF900 Cu
Not much needs to be said about Zalman and their VF900 graphics card cooler. We already have a complete review of the Zalman VF900. But allow me to make a few comments of my own.
The Zalman VF900 has one of the best heatsink bases I have ever seen. It is completely flat, well-polished, and totally immaculate. I do agree with Chai's criticism in his review about the lack of spare parts but this is a somewhat minor issue.
Sytrin is a relative newcomer to the PC cooling scene, but their VF1 cooler has been making waves around the Internet, earning many awards and accolades.
I was able to purchase two of these VF1 coolers. Unfortunately, these were the regular versions, and not the "VF1 Plus" version which includes RAM heatsinks, as well as a crossblow fan and a PCI bracket to support it. But let's take a look at what the standard VF1 has to offer.
The package contains just the basics - the heatsink itself, a pack of screws, various other mounting accessories, a sachet of thermal paste, a manual, and a bracket for installing an axial fan. More on that later.
There is also a packet of silica gel to keep your heatsink nice and dry. Makes perfect sense.