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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  • akak1997 - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    Is it possible to post some pictures of the card with the heatsink (with and without fan) when it is installed on the motherboard and case?

    thanks a bunch
  • n0nsense - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    The direct competitor for this monster is Arctic Cooling Accelero S1
    Which is significantly smaller and has less pipes, but will fit normal case and SLI compatible.
    Will be nice to have comparison of this two coolers

    What is ambient temperature for your tests ? my Asus 8800GT (first reference design) running at 70C idle in ~20C ambient.
  • snarfbot - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    i got an accellero s1 on a 3850, and let me tell you, its huge. larger than this by a good margin, i have a 120mm fan on it, mounted in the middle of the cooler with zip ties, i could probably fit 2 side by side without extending past the sides of the cooler.

    its almost as long as the pcb, maybe a centimeter smaller. and almost twice as tall.

    overclocked to 770 core, 1044 mem, it idles at 28c and loads at around 31 32, in crysis.

    it was 23.99 at newegg. pretty unbelievable performance for the dollar.
  • iSOBigD - Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - link

    That sounds great even though the 8800GT's much hotter. I like this cooler for the 8800GT, but I'd love to see it directly compared to the S1, which is much cheaper than most coolers...and yet everyone swears by it. Honestly, my first generation 8800GT is just annoyingly loud at any speed over 40%...and it still goes to 80 degrees or so during games, so I'd love to put a new cooler for it if it keeps it more quiet AND more cool at the same time. Reply
  • iSOBigD - Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - link

    put a new cooler ON it* Reply
  • poohbear - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    i agree, a comparison w/ 2-3 top aftermarket coolers is what i was expecting. I hate it when a huge site like anandtech compares coolers to stock. you didnt even compare it to another aftermarket cooler but a cooler on another videocard. what the hell are u guys on a budget or something??!?! i might as well just check any other amateur site for the review since u really didnt do anything elaborate fitting the anandtech pedigree. c'mon we expect high calibre reviews from you guys, not these paltry small scale reviews i can see on any 2bit site. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    My explanation just created more confusion. I apologize. We also has a Sparkle fanless 8880GT available in another system we were testing. We included those results in the graph to show how the fanless Thermalright performed compared to the Sparkle fanless.

    I will add some explantion in the article to better explain this comparison.
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    The stock Sparkle cooler we tested uses the stock nVidia cooling solution. Almost all the base 8800GT cards out there use this stock cooling design. We have corrected the labels in the graph so it is clear we are comparing apples and apples. Reply
  • poohbear - Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - link

    thanks for the clarifications wesley, we'll be looking forward to that gpu roundup then! i didnt realize this was anandtechs first gpu cooler review, bit of a surprise since they've been being used by enthusiasts since the first vid cards came out.:p Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, March 03, 2008 - link

    A GPU cooler roundup is a good idea, but that was not the goal of this article. This is our first GPU cooling review, and we wanted to see the impact of the aftermaket Thermalright cooler compared to stock cooling. Cooling performance was compared at idle and load, and frankly the performance improvement was better than we expected. The results certainly make the idea of a GPU cooler roundup in the future a good one. Reply

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