by Rory Buszka on March 16, 2007 in Cooling
Thermaltakes slogan for their TMG cooler lineup is “Quality Life Starts With Silence.” We have been pleased with the cooling performance of their products in the past, but silence and good cooling ability are two difficult things to put together. Let’s take a look at how well both the A2 CPU cooler and AT2 GPU cooler perform in our tests.
The exterior design of the Thermaltake TMG retail packaging is attractive, though it seems that Thermaltake still doesnâ€™t demonstrate the same command of the English language as many other Asian component manufacturers. The TMG boxes offer noise comparisons to standard references, in this case the stock AMD boxed CPU cooler and ATI reference cooler.
The box for the A2 CPU cooler also shows an exploded assembly diagram of the various parts involved, as well as their features and benefits. The A2 CPU cooler is packed in a cardboard box, while the AT2 is packaged in a PET clamshell package which thankfully didnâ€™t require scissors to open.
The A2 CPU cooler itself is packaged in a PET clamshell, with the socket clip and photo instructions loose in the box. This packaging looks sufficient to keep the cooler safe in transit, even in situations where the box might be severely disrespected. This packaging reflects clever engineering â€“ obtaining the most protection possible from the least material. Also included were a TMG-series case badge, and a treatise on a design philosophy called â€œKey 3 Spiritâ€.
The AT2 GPU cooler is larger than one might expect for such a unit, with a very tall cooling fin assembly. In the included accessory pack (the small black cardboard carton) were an instruction manual, mounting hardware, the â€œKey 3 Spiritâ€ paper, a Thermaltake TMG-Series case badge, the photo installation instructions, and a strip of pink bubblegum-like, adhesive-backed thermal interface pads for transferring heat from the cardâ€™s memory chips.
Thermaltake TMG A2 CPU Cooler
|Model||A2 (CL-P0373)||The names of the coolers in the TMG series indicate the chips whose mounting schemes each cooler is designed for. A stands for AMD; this cooler is designed for AMD CPUs.|
|Compatibility||AMD Athlon 64 X2 (Socket 939, AM2)|
AMD Athlon 64 FX (Socket 939, AM2)
AMD Athlon 64 (Socket 754, 939, AM2)
AMD Sempron (Socket 754, AM2)
|This cooler is compatible with every AMD CPU available today. Socket A users are left out in the cold, however.|
|Exterior Dimensions (H x W x L)||103mm x 102mm x 115mm||This is a sizeable cooler, but itâ€™s not enormous. Its design ensures that it wonâ€™t interfere with any surrounding components.|
|Heatsink||Copper Base, 4x 6mm Heatpipes, Aluminum Fins||The heatpipes are nickel-plated, so they match the finish of the aluminum fins. The fins are fine and closely spaced, and all the heatpipes exit and enter the base and fin structure on one side.|
|Fan Description||92mm square x 38mm tall; frameless; 7-blade impeller; 12V||This fan looks like the fans that Arctic Cooling uses on their most recent Alpine and Freezer models.|
|Fan Performance||300-2500RPM via 4-pin PWM connector; 35.14 peak CFM||This fan is capable of running extremely slowly. Whether it is effective in moving air at those speeds is another story. The 4-pin PWM connector is becoming more commonplace.|
|Noise Level||16 dBa||Itâ€™s hard to reconcile this figure with the airflow specification, especially for a 92mm fan.|
|Life Expectancy||50000 Hrs||Thermaltake offers a very long 6 year warranty, assuring you that the Enter-bearing motor will outlast just about any userâ€™s upgrade cycle.|
|Weight||385G||This cooler isnâ€™t what Iâ€™d call heavy, though itâ€™s no featherweight. Those with nightmares about an enormous heatsink ripping free from its mounts and going for a stroll inside their case can put those fears to bed.|
Thermaltake TMG AT2 GPU Cooler
|Model||AT2 (CL-P0373)||The names of the coolers in the TMG series indicate the chips whose mounting schemes each cooler is designed for. AT2 stands for ATI.|
|Compatibility||ATi 1800 GTO/XL/XT (Crossfire)|
ATi 1900 GT/XT/XTX (Crossfire)
ATi 1950 XTX (Crossfire)
|This cooler is only compatible with ATIâ€™s upper-end Radeon X1800, X1900, and X1950 cards, though it will only work with cards based on ATIâ€™s reference design and cooler. This list is a veritable whoâ€™s-who of hot GPUs. This cooler doesnâ€™t block the Crossfire cable.|
|Exterior Dimensions (H x W x L)||34mm x 128mm x 161mm||This cooler is big, and tall. It wonâ€™t work in most HTPC cases, since it sticks out beyond the top of the card by a good inch.|
|Heatsink||Copper Base, 3x 6mm Heatpipes, Aluminum Fins, Aluminum Memory Plate||This cooler uses widely-spaced fins, which are more efficient when the fan is optimized for low noise and low airflow impedance, like the AT2â€™s blower wheel is. An extra aluminum plate surrounding the base conducts heat away from the memory modules.|
|Fan Description||80mm diameter x 25mm thick centrifugal blower||This blower uses a special reverse-swept vane design which is optimized for low pressure operation and reduced noise.|
|Fan Performance||1650RPM; 10.24 CFM||This fan operates at one speed, since it doesnâ€™t connect to the video cardâ€™s own power connector, but draws its power straight from a 4-pin connector.|
|Noise Level||16 dBa||Weâ€™ll see. This noise level should be inaudible even in a quiet room.|
|Life Expectancy||50,000 Hours||The Enter Bearing design is expected to last as long as anybody needs a cooler to last. Dust in the motor can reduce the fanâ€™s lifespan, no matter what bearing system is used.|
|Weight||345G||This cooler mounts securely to the video cardâ€™s PCB, and feels significantly lighter than the stock cooler, whose fins are â€˜skivedâ€™ from a solid block of copper.|
|Power Connector||4-pin Molex||This cooler draws its power directly from the power supply, via a 4-pin pass-through connector. Iâ€™d still prefer to see a 3-pin motherboard connector, however, or a connector like that used on the video card itself. The 4-pin connector is workable, though.|