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Temperature Testing & Conclusion
Given the overclocked frequencies on this Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT, we were quite pleased to find the ZEROtherm working as advertised. The core and memory chips were significantly cooler than the default. Removing the shroud seemed to help, with slightly improved temperatures. However, the Zalman VF700-AlCu on the Gigabyte was still marginally better, with all the temperatures lower than the ZEROthem. Of course, the Gigabyte had slightly different overclocked speeds from the Leadtek so that could be a minor factor to be considered.
While we have no scientific way of testing the noise output, it was quiet in our usage, with only a low hum at the maximum fan speed. Even when we removed the shroud, noise levels were acceptable so if cooler performance is your sole concern, by all means take the flimsy plastic off. The LEDs also vary in brightness according to the fan controller setting.
With a going price of around US$45, the ZEROtherm Hurricane HC92 Cu 8800 appears to be more expensive than some of the other alternatives around. It does offer a solid copper package with heat pipes and for this 8800 edition, more than adequate heatsinks for all the MOSFETs and memory chips. The size of this cooler however is quite a concern for us, as it's not merely the usual two-slot solution but effectively takes up three expansion slots in total. In this era of fully featured motherboards, it may not be as critical as before but it is still a hefty sacrifice.
The all-important thermal performance while good, was matched by the Zalman solution on the Gigabyte that we compared against. (In fact, the Zalman cooler can be purchased separately at a much lower retail price.) Performance may be further enhanced with your favorite choice of thermal paste though pitting it against the reference cooler does put the ZEROtherm in much better light. The presence of a fan controller and the LEDs may appeal to some enthusiasts, while its versatility is of course a big factor for these third party coolers. In the end however, it's a decent performer though with a price tag that may be a bit on the high side for the whole package.
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