Thermalright HR-03 GTThermalright is well known in the PC world for their elaborate and mostly very effective CPU coolers. Large and shiny, Thermalright’s new HR-03 GT adapts a lot of prior cooling experience at the company to NVIDIA’s 8800 GT cards.
The HR-03 GT is a very different beast than the Thermaltake Duorb we looked at on the page before. Though this shot doesn’t show it that well, the heatsink is LARGE and can take up a lot of room in a case. The benefit though is that Thermalright claims this cooler will allow you to run your GT card without a fan if you desire; passive cooling is a must for some silent-PC-enthusiasts.
The HR-03 GT uses a heatpipe mechanism consisting of six pipes going from the heat plate on the bottom to equi-distant spots along along the cooling fins. The heatsink fin collection itself floats a good fingers width above the heat plate and is held in place by the heatpipes.
You do have the option to install a fan on the HR-03 GT if you’d like to, and you’ll find that we would recommend it. Using some included wire brackets just about any aftermarket fan should fit the bill.
The Thermalright packaging consists of all the required mounting hardware, thermal paste and RAM sinks. There are two different heights of RAM sinks for you to install on the memory of the 8800 GT that differ in their height. Depending on your installation method (standard or behind) you will need to use the low-profile RAM sinks on the modules where the heatpipes will pass over.
Overall I found the installation of the HR-03 GT to be a bit more cumbersome than that of the Thermaltake Duorb due to the double-sided bracket required for allowing both mounting options. It might take a few extra minutes but getting it right is better than doing it quickly.
With the standard installation method the heatsink fins will protrude from the “front” of the graphics card and you can count on it taking up at least two typical case slot positions in this way.
This image should give you a better idea of the relative size of the HR-03 GT on the 8800 GT graphics boards. Obviously if you are going to attach a fan to the top of the heatsink as well you are going to be extending it further and will more than likely take up three slots with the cooler.
This image shows how the HR-03 GT can install so that the heatpipe wrap around to the back of the card and moves the heatsink fins away from the rest of the case. This image is of the cooler on a GTX card, the idea is exactly the same. However, there might be issues with this install type and your system. For example, on the EVGA nForce 680i SLI motherboard, installing it this way was impossible because the fins came in contact with the north bridge heatsink. Take caution if you are planning to install the HR-03 GT in this way!