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Thermalright T-Rad2 GTX & VRM R3 Video Card Heatsink Review


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Introduction


System cooling is one aspect of the enthusiast PC that should never be overlooked and goes beyond what CPU cooler you happen to have.  In fact anything that tends to generate heat should be investigated to determine if the current cooling method is adequate or should be upgraded.  OEM coolers typically do an adequate job when it comes to cooling at stock speeds however can quickly become saturated with heat and damage your expensive components if left unchecked.  In this review we will be looking at a new set of video card coolers from Thermalright called the T-Rad2 GTX and VRM R3.
As many of us know the reference cooler tends to do a pretty good job at keeping any GPU cool and is why many of us overlook swapping them out for an aftermarket solution.  Depending on ambient temperatures, and overclocking conditions these stock coolers can quickly turn your cool running video card into a meltdown waiting to happen, not to mention the noise complaints due to excessive fan noise.  Aftermarket coolers are designed to address this by increasing heat capacity and thus lowering the dependency on high speed fans to keep temperatures in check.
The first of the two heatsinks is the T-Rad2 GTX that is designed for the GPU and will take up 2 to 3 expansion slots on a motherboard. The heatsink runs the full length of the Radeon HD5780 and comes with 2 x 90mm fans that hook into a 3-pin motherboard fan headers.  If you would rather use a single fan solution you'll find mounting hardware for a single 120mm fan included as well.
The base of the T-Rad2 GTX is machined flat and features a micro texture to accept and distribute thermal paste.  6 x 6mm heatpipes are used to quickly move heat away from the GPU and get the heatsink a nice industrial look.
Each of the 6 heatpipes make some rather artistic bends as they reach the finned radiator.  Performance is dependent on making sure each heatpipe is a certain length based on projected heat load which is why you will see some of them crossing over each other.
Each of the heatpipes occupies the entire length of the radiator to maximize heat dissipation.
The second portion of this heatsink combo is designed specifically for the VRM on Radeon HD 5870.  Voltage regulators tend to run extremely hot on the Radeon HD 5870 and keeping them cool is key for a successful overclock.  The VRM R3 does allow for a multiple cooling options including being actively cooled with any 80mm fan, cooled by case fans, or passively cooled by ambient air.
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