Thermaltake TMG ND5 VGA Cooler

robgs - 2007-08-03 09:30:48 in VGA Cooling
Category: VGA Cooling
Reviewed by: robgs   
Reviewed on: August 8, 2007
Thermaltake
Thermaltake
Price: $40.00 US

Introduction:

So you’ve had your nVidia 8800 series video card for a while and you’re probably happy with the performance now that they’ve got newer and better drivers available for it. If only you could bring the temperature down a little, to have some fun overclocking it, or even just for the peace of mind that the card is running cooler than the stock 55 to 70 degrees Celsius. As with many other cooling applications, Thermaltake has introduced an air cooler that just might suit your needs. The TMG ND5 is an air cooler that is built specifically to handle the cooling needs of the 8800 series graphics cards. So if you’ve got a 8800 GTS or GTX, this cooler was designed with you in mind.

In 1999, Thermaltake began its operations in Taiwan. In the same year it also started its American branch of the company. Providing the world market with cooling products aimed at the overclocking and gaming market, its momentum has continued to pick up speed and now Thermaltake is also in the business of manufacturing computer chassis and power supplies.

 

Closer Look:

The TMG NG5 comes in a clamshell package, giving you a good view of the heatsink fins and the fan as well. The package has some substance, but not too heavy to be of concern for weighing down your video card. The information on the backside of the package shows some graphs comparing thermal resistance to the stock cooler.

 

 

The package was very easy to open and didn’t require any type of sharp instrument to accomplish. Here we can see what’s inside the package. The little black box contains all of the instructions and all the accessories required for the installation.

 

 

The accessories are thermal tape, screws, isolating washers, heat sinks and a sticker.

 

The heatsink itself is made of copper and aluminum, with the fins covered by a clear plastic cover. The main contact surface for the GPU is solid copper with a pre-applied thermal paste. There is a small piece of plastic covering protecting the heat sink paste until it is ready to be installed.

 

 

I will take heatsink off my 8800 GTX, to show you how its done. So on that note, let's see how this goes.

Installation:

The first thing that we’ll have to do is remove the stock cooler from the 8800 GTX. The removal is quite simple as you just have to remove all of the bigger machine screws on the backside of the video card.

 

 

 

 

Once all of the screws are removed, the heat sink may be stuck to the GPU just through hydraulic action. Just gently apply enough force to separate the two components. I’m pretty sure the white thermal pads that are used on the original heat sink aren’t edible, so use some caution when extracting them and try not to get the compound on your skin.

 

To clean the chips and the GPU, I used some general purpose rubbing alcohol, which doesn’t quite cut the white paste, but works well for the thermal compound on the GPU.  The residue from the white thermal pads does come of with a little work.

 

Now that the video card is clean, we can install the new thermal pads supplied with the TMG NG5.  Basically, the idea here is to make sure the pad covers the entire surface of the chip.

Installation:

Next, install the small self adhesive heatsinks that were provided in the inventory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then on the underside of the heatsink, install the small thermal pad at the very tip as shown in the picture.

 

 

Now to install the new cooler to the video card. When the cooler is applied to the video card, it’s good practice to move the heat sink back and forth slightly to allow the heat sink paste to spread more evenly over the surface of the GPU. This also helps to dispel any air that may be trapped in the paste.

 

Next, we’ll have to install the machine screws to secure the cooler to the video card. The machine screws come with plastic isolating washers that will help to prevent a short circuit on the board. Each screw should be carefully installed being sure not to over-tighten them.  There are seven screws to install.

 

 

All that’s left is to do, is install the video card into the system and plug in the molex connector for fan power. Don’t forget to plug in the power for the card itself and plug in your monitor or screen.

 

 

That’s it for the installation and it wasn’t really that bad. I am sure you were expecting it to be a little more complicated than that. I’m sure you are interested to see how much extra cooling the TMG ND5 will actually deliver. Let’s do some testing to find out.

Specifications:

Compatibility nVIDIA 8800 GTS/GTX(SLI)
Dimension 179.8(L)x122.3(W)x34.1(H)mm
Heatsink Material Aluminum Fin / Copper Base
Heatpipe ø 6mm x 4
Fan Dimension   ø 80 x 25 mm
Fan Speed   1650 RPM
Noise Level   16dBA
Life Expectation   50,000Hrs
Connector 4 Pin
Weight  365g

Features:

Testing:

To test the TMG ND5, I will compare the idle and load temperatures to the stock cooler. The stock temperatures will be recorded after the system has had one half hour to stabilize after start up. To load the video card I will run one instance of 3DMark06, while running nVidia Monitor to record trend of the temperatures during the test. I will record the highest temperature achieved during the test. Then I will perform the same test while the video is overclocked, to try to heat things up.

Test setup:

This graph shows the video card temperature while at no load and under full load, at stock speeds.

 

The next graph shows the video card temperatures while oveclocked at no load and at load. The overclock is at 1100MHz for the ram, up from 900MHz, and the core speed at 659MHz, which is up from the stock 576MHz.

 

 There is definitely an advantage to having the Thermaltake TMG ND5, compared to the stock heatsink. When idle, the temperatures are pretty close, but the TMG ND5 shows its ability under load.

Conclusion:

As I said before, I have never taken the heat sink off of a 8800 GTX before and was a little intimidated by the whole procedure at first. The step-by-step instructions provided by Thermaltake were very easy to follow and made the whole process go smoothly. All of the components fit exactly the way they were supposed to, which is always extremely important. 

The cooler orientation is the only thing that I have any concern about. The stock cooler is designed to vent the hot air out of the back of the computer and the TMG ND5 vents into the interior of the computer chassis. I know from experience that the amount of heat coming off this card is quite high. I have enough fan control on my case to allow me to increase the air flow out the back, but I think it could be something to think about.

Thermaltake products have always performed well against the rest of the cooling industry and continues to do well with the TMG NG5. The cooler is much quieter than the stock heatsink with its fan at full speed. The construction is built solidly on a copper core, with a suitably sized fan. Thermaltake's heatpipe design is efficient and seems to work very well. The TMG NG5 is a definitely a welcomed addition to my system and with a 50,000 hour life expectancy, should keep cooling my 8800 GTX for years to come.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: