Zalman’s CNPS9700 has been the Godzilla of coolers and a Best of the Best champion for more than a year. But it’s finally facing its Megalon in Thermaltake’s DuOrb cooler. Unlike the CNPS9700, which has an 11cm fan strapped to the side of its imposing copper and aluminum frame, the DuOrb’s heatsinks are stretched out horizontally. The extra-wide cooler, shaped in a 20-centimeter-wide figure eight, comes with two 8cm blue and red LED fans tucked inside two rings of copper fins.
The design is certainly unique, but we dislike the look of the red-blue fan combination. It’s a slap in the face of case aesthetics. We’d much rather see no LED fans at all than this mismatched lighting pattern.
We’re used to seeing coolers get taller and taller, and there’s a good reason for this—there aren’t any components above your CPU that could get in the way. Thermaltake’s horizontal expansion could prove troublesome for enthusiast builders. Install the cooler one way and you’re blocking (albeit also cooling) your RAM slots. Install it the other way and you might block a PCI Express slot.
But there’s something to be said for this cooler’s girth. The extra pudge and dual-fan design allow the DuOrb to match the CNPS9700 degree for degree in the cooling race. We recorded results within one degree of each other in both our idle and CPU burn tests—and the DuOrb uses less air power to achieve this parity. Since two fans split the cooling workload, the DuOrb runs much more quietly than the CNPS9700.
We’ve installed Zalman’s cooler dozens of times, and we’re still bothered each and every time we have to attach a screw to the device’s retention plate. By contrast, the DuOrb’s installation—which still requires motherboard removal—entails no heaving or straining to mount the cooler overtop our CPU.
While this device certainly trounces the Zalman in noise level and installation, our apprehensions about the cooler’s size keep the DuOrb out of our hall of fame. We don’t mind that the DuOrb will make upgrading our rig more challenging, but not everyone will be so forgiving
Great cooling, quiet, easy installation process.
Takes up a worrisome chunk of space above your motherboard.
100% Burn (C)
Best scores are bolded. Idle temperatures were measured after an hour of inactivity; load temperatures were measured after an hour’s worth of CPU Burn-In (four instances). Test system consists of a stock-clock Q6700 processor on an EVGA 680i motherboard.