We’re enthusiasts, let’s face it. That’s probably why you
ended up here on this page. As enthusiasts, we enjoy the ‘thrill’ of getting
the most out of our systems, particularly video cards. It wasn’t too long ago
that the concept of adding a fan to a video card was pretty much pointless. A
friend of mine at work, a senior Engineer, equates today’s computer enthusiasts
with yesterday’s “grease monkey’s.” The more I thought about it, the more it
made sense. We maintain our systems, perform routine checks, evaluate and
compare our performance with our fellow enthusiasts.
In the modern era, the GeForce3’s of the world are
squeezing more transistors into smaller areas with each passing year. If you
would like to achieve a little more performance out of your small investment, do
you really need to buy a cooling system, or is the stock HSF good enough?
Furthermore, what good will that added performance do you? Isn't a GeForce3
This article will attempt to answer 2 specific questions:
Do I really need to buy a 3rd-party cooling solution
for my 3D card?
What will the cooling do for me? What will I be able to do that I
A GeForce3 can already achieve awesome performance.
What good is going from 90 to 110 FPS? Well, there are some other features that
the GeForce3 provides, that would be quite nice to add if we could just
squeeze a little more performance out of the chip. This isn’t to say that one
couldn’t enable these settings using a standard GeForce3; rather, we would like
to enable these features and minimize the performance hit.
As I’m now finishing up this article, it almost appears as
if this article is more centered on benchmarks, rather than the product itself.
If you fork out a small bundle of cash, are you going to get a decent return on
your investment? It was pretty easy to show the performance of the HSF, but I
wanted to also assure that it was both running stable, and also provide numbers
that really count.
One thing that I cannot stress enough is the following:
overclocking will never guarantee results. Some chips were
manufactured with better tolerances than others. What can be demonstrated, via
experimentation, is that this particular cooling solution does perform
its main task in lowering the temperature of the graphics processor. In doing
so, there is a much better probability of achieving higher performance, and
therefore, attaining results similar to mine. But again...There are no promises
I sent an email to the fine folks at 2CoolTek, requesting a
BLORB sample for the purposes of a review. They agreed, and sent along the
memory cooling fans as well.
Let's take a look at what you get...
Not shown in the picture is a small amount of thermal paste, as well as
some thermal tape for the memory cooling fins. Next, some general
Unit Dimensions: 15mm H x 50mm W x 58mm L
4600 RPM ball bearing unit flowing 15 CFM
Memory heatsinks: 10mm H x 10mm W x 20mm L
$20.00 for the bundle
Replacing the stock HSF on the VisionTek GeForce3 is a
relative “piece of cake.” There are 2 pins on the HSF which hold the unit to the
chip. There’s a little bit of compound between the 2 as well. All I had to do
was pop the 2 spring-loaded pins from the PCB, and then used a short knife to
slowly/gently pop-off the HSF. Once I did this, I then cleaned the compound from
the top of the GeForce3 chip. A word of caution: I went a little bit further
than most, in that I lapped the chip as well. I don’t feel this step is
absolutely necessary, but I wanted to make sure that there was as flat a surface
as possible between the BLORB and the chip. In case you have never seen the
surface of a GeForce3 chip (or many others), it’s slightly concave. I went out
to the hardware store, and bought some ultra-fine “600 grit” sandpaper. This
stuff is so fine, you really cannot consider it sandpaper. Here’s a screenshot
of the card with the stock HSF removed, as well as the stock memory cooling
Once I was satisfied with the surface, I then used the
thermal compound that 2CoolTek provides with the kit, put some on the chip,
placed the BLORB on top of the chip, and used the spring-loaded clips to fasten
the unit to the PCB. The other nice feature of the BLORB is the fact that the
holes line-up perfectly with the holes on the GeForce3 PCB. No need to drill
holes, etc. Finally, I used the thermal tape that 2CoolTek provided to mount the
memory cooling fins on the 6 DDR chips. That’s it!
Next Page: Measuring