Noise, Overclocking and Final Thoughts
Noise Levels

The reference NVIDIA 8800 GT cooler itself is very quiet, which is both good and bad; bad because the fan stays TOO slow thus allowing the GPU to get hotter than we’d like.  Both of the tested cooler produced MUCH better cooling results without a lot of noise. 

The twin fans on the Thermaltake Duorb do produce more noise but not enough that I would consider it loud compared to anything else we have tested in recent years.  To be fair Thermalright has an advantage – it’s passive and doesn’t have a fan!  If you do decide to buy an external fan for the HR-03 GT cooler picking one that is high quality and low noise will give you the best experience; pick a cheap one and prepare yourself for some incessant droning noise. 


Overclocking the GPU will obviously be on the minds of users that buy one of these aftermarket coolers so we had to take that for a spin of course.  The unfortunate part with these coolers is that the memory chips are not part of the active cooling setup and instead rely on individual heatsinks.  Because of that, memory overclocking will probably not be as interesting as even the stock 8800 GT cooler but the GPU should scale very well.

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For this test I took the EVGA 8800 GT card, already overclocked from the 600 MHz core clock reference speed to 675 MHz, and pushed it even further. 

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I was able to push the core speed up ANOTHER 75 MHz without causing me any stability issues through several hours of gaming.  With such a huge drop in load temperature between the stock cooler and the Thermaltake Duorb we knew that would present additional headroom for clock rates.  Taking the G92 up to 750 MHz gives us a total overclock of 25% which is very substantial. 

Pricing and Availability

A quick look at our pricing search engine shows the Thermaltake Duorb selling for as little as $49 including shipping.  It is available at a good amount of stores including Tiger Direct.

The Thermalright HR-03 GT model is a bit harder to find probably because it is much newer.  Looking at other previous HR-03 models like the HR-03 Plus, I found it in our pricing engine for about $56 with shipping, but this does not include a fan for active cooling.  Tack on a bit for that as well.

Final Thoughts

The simple fact is that going from a stock cooler to either of these replacements from Thermaltake or Thermalright is going to be a great move.  Each option has its strength and weakness; the Thermalright HR-03 GT takes up more valuable case space and doesn’t come with a fan for those that want to use active cooling (which I recommend).  It does however provide the option for passive cooling and also presented the best cooling results once we did put a fan on it. 

The Thermaltake Duorb only uses less case space while providing active cooling and doesn’t require an additional purchase or installation step.  Its cooling is very close to what the active Thermalright solution provided and it was still worlds above the NVIDIA reference cooler.  The Duorb is also the cheaper of the two options; another plus. 

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Thermaltake Duorb

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Thermalright HR-03 GT


Be sure to use our pricing engine to find the best prices on GPU coolers and anything else you might need:

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