The 8800 GT has received numerous accolades for its great balance of price and performance in a single slot. We've also seen in recent reviews that even in a well-ventilated system, the GPU can get quite hot under load, easily peaking above 80C in high-stress testing. Today we review an aftermarket cooler solution for the 8800 GT that promises to reduce that heat.


Thermalright is a company known for high-quality PC cooling products. Their CPU coolers are often the best tested at AnandTech, as is the case now with the Ultra 120 eXtreme, which is at the top of the heap. They can also be behemoths, and the HR-03 GT is no different, tipping the scales at a healthy 410 grams without a fan, underscoring the "go big or go home" philosophy. Let's take a quick look at the specs and installation procedure.  Performance will then be compared to the stock nVidia cooler and to the Sparkle 8800GT, which is another fanless solution.

The HR-03 GT Kit


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  • dare2savefreedom - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    come on man,
    did you write this up before you had to take a dump?
    more pictures - please, especially of what it looks like in a case in a slot - with a ruler showing how much it sticks out

    sli? hello? does it work - will it fit?

    It would have been nice if you coulda gots a
    MSI NX8800GT 512M OC GeForce 8800GT and done a compare since it already has a quad copper heatpipe cooler with a image of a hot babe on it.
  • dare2savefreedom - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    The hot babe image makes it go faster too - even faster than using the color red like the slow little red guys do.

  • tigersty1e - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    The problem with most of these stock coolers is not the stock cooler themselves, but the installation job. Most of the time, the manufacturer applies way too much thermal paste.

    You should do a comparison of the same stock cooler properly installed with an ideal amount of high grade thermal paste.

    BTW, when you removed the stock cooler, could you have resued the stock cooler?
  • derk - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    I happened to try the HR-03 Plus (410 grams without fan), and I found it to be too heavy on the video card was bending under the weight of it. It looked scary. This product is essentially similar to HR-03 GT.

    I replaced the HR-03 plus with an Arctic Cooling S1 revision 2 (268 grams without fan), and I get 35 C idle and 62 C max load with an EVGA 8800GT SC (650 Mhz GPU Core clock)--no fans. The S1 is lighter and mounts more securely to the 8800GT.

    I've had better success with Thermalright CPU Coolers. HR-01 Plus with a Nexxus 120 mm fan is a good combo. I tried this cooler with a Noctua fan, and found that the fan was quiet, but did not move air at all. Any resistance in front or behind the Noctua negated its air moving functionality. The Nexus fan is still pretty quiet and moves air even with obstructions. The design of the Nexxus fan required a little bit of creativity with the Thermalright wire fan clips.


  • Jodiuh - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    Doesn't the Noctua have low static pressure? I remember reading that at SPCR. I've used the SFLEX 1200RPM w/ the HR-03 and HR-03 plus with good success. I'm wonder if the HR-03 plus will fit my GTS 512MB... Reply
  • NARC4457 - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    No, I've got the same error for page 5.

    And I'm definitely interested in a GPU HSF roundup as well!
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    Page 5 is now fixed. Recent revisions to our posting tools still have a few bugs which is why the save and append didn't work as it should. My apologies.

    The test system Matt used for this review is anything but typical. He is working on a full-blown high-end gaming system with a high-end quad CPU and triple SLI. The case and cooling were designed to support and cool this gaming monster. His testing was just a single 8800GT stock vs. 8800GT HR-03 vs. Sparkle fanless 8800GT however.

    You will see more about the system when the gaming system review posts in a couple of weeks. Considering all the extra cooling on the gaming rig it seemed best to add precautions that this system is best case cooling for a passive card.

    The 92mm fan measures below the noise floor of the testing room so it was pointless to report noise. The fanless is zero and the 92mm used is below the noise floor. We did not want to mislead those concerned about noise by reporting the room noise floor as the sound level for the 92mm fan. As always the fan you choose determines the noise level of the Thermalright HR-03.
  • alkalinetaupehat - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    I got to the conclusion in IE and then in Firefox after C/P the link from IE... Reply
  • Kougar - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    Interesting article... could you please elaborate on this "test system", such as the case used?

    Also, for whatever reason I can't view the conclusion page, I get redirected to an error page each time. Using Firefox, but it might be something they installed on the campus computers...
  • rudolphna - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    I want to see them test the ZEROtherm GX710, i use it on my Geforce 6600GT and it works fantastically. Overclocked to 540Mhz (from 450) under heavy sustained load it doesnt top 55 degrees, a huge improvement over the stock cooler (70+ load) and it is dead silent. come on Anand, test some graphics coolers too.

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