ZEROtherm Hurricane HC92 Cu 8800 VGA Cooler Review

ccokeman - 2007-10-27 19:20:56 in VGA Cooling
Category: VGA Cooling
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: October 28, 2007
Price: $TBA

Introduction:

As an enthusiast and gamer, one of the first improvements that we normally make involves replacing the stock cooling. Why you ask? Well, how many of you have been five or six hours into an all night gaming session and started getting video card issues? Artifacts, texture tearing, blocks of the the screen blacking out, or even snow (small white dots all over the screen). You wonder what the issue is. Overheating of the video card components might be the culprit, as heat is the enemy of the hardware we love so much. To make an aftermarket cooler worth the investment, it has to perform at a level better than the stock cooling. Not just one degree, but several degrees better at a minimum. We make the distinction that minimal gains are not what we look for in a replacement cooling solution, but that substantial improvement is what we look for to push our hardware to the max. Will the ZEROtherm Hurricane HC92 meet or exceed that standard? Let's find out!

The Hurricane HC92 Cu 8800 is built to be used on the Nvidia 8800 series GPUs, but is also compatible with Nvidia products from the 7600 series up to the 8800 series. The only exceptions are the 7800 AGP and 7000GX2 cards. On the ATI side, compatibility ranges from the X1600 on up to the X2600 series. Support is absent for the X2400 and X2900 GPUs. After the cooling performance gain I experienced with the ZEROtherm GX815 Gaming edition VGA cooler that was reviewed here on OverclcockersClub.com, I am looking forward to the results of our testing.

ZEROtherm (APACK) was formed in 1999 through a partnership between three engineers from the Electrics and Telecommunications Research Institute. The company has had ongoing success, including contracts with ASUStek to supply the cooling for its line of video cards, as well as being the OEM cooling solution supplier for ASUStek and Elsa's nVidia's 8600 series of cards.

 

Closer Look:

The packaging displays the Hurricane HC92 Cu through the front panel. Listed on the front are some of the features of the product. Boldly on the front of the box the company proclaims that this cooler is optimized for the 8800 series GPU. The rear of the package shows the specifications and features, as well as some manual fan speed profiles and temperature guidelines to show what type of performance to expect.

 

 

Opening up the box, the cooler is packed tightly into a clamshell type enclosure. The contents are kept separate to showcase the cooler through the front of the box. Included with the cooler are memory heatsinks as well as ZEROtherm's own branded thermal paste, a fan speed control and a set of detailed installation instructions.

 

Closer Look:

After removing the cooler from the packaging, it really looks like nothing else I have seen to cool a video card. It features four heatpipes connected to copper fins, with an enclosure over the heatsink that has an alien type look. The top of the enclosure has a grill meant to symbolize the high wind movement in a hurricane. Looking at the underside of the cooler you can see just how large it really is. The contact surface is protected from damage with a clear adhesive tape that includes a warning message to remove it before installing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The heatpipes appear to be sealed up quite well. The crimp and solder job is better than some others I have seen on the market. Removal of the warning label from the contact surface shows that the surface is almost mirror polished. It is nice to see this on a VGA cooler.

 

 

The fan enclosure wraps around the 92mm fan to direct air into and over the heatsink, as well as to create airflow down onto the board to cool the memory. It looks as though the heatsink does not do anything to duct air out the back of the case, but rather discharges it back into the case. This could definitely create some heat issues in a poorly ventilated case.

 :

 

The cooler is designed to work in three different configurations. There is the standard configuration which includes the use of the fan enclosure, High performance mode allows for the removal of the fan enclosure, and finally, there is silent. With silent mode, the fan can be removed to maximize the cross flow ventilation to help cool the heatsink and VGA card.

 

 

The heatsinks that come with the cooler are aluminum and are anodized a bright green color. There are three different types of heatsinks sent in the package. The NVIO cooler, the MOSFET sinks, and the memory heatsinks. Each has its place and are attached with thermal tape. For the GPU heatsink, ZEROtherm has included some thermal paste.

 :

 

The fan on the Hurricane is controlled manually instead of using a built in thermistor to manage fan speeds. The controller is a variable speed controller that can be secured inside or outside the case.

 :

 

The attaching hardware for this cooler is similar to the hardware on the GX-815 by ZEROtherm. The nuts have a positive stop to prevent over tightening the cooler onto the card. This is a handy feature to have considering the investment that is made purchasing a video card.

 

Now that we have a good idea of what we are working with, let's get it installed.

 

Installation:

Installing a radically different cooler on a pricey video card is not something normal people would attempt, especially when the first attempt meets with some serious resistance. But as an enthusiast, the old adage "If it ain't broke don't fix it" does not apply. The first thing to do to get this cooler installed would be to remove the video card from your system after shutting it down and removing the main power supply plug. After removing the card, it is best to do the work on a clean table in a well lit area to make sure you can see clearly and not lose any parts during the tear down and assembly.

Here is the card we will be installing the cooler on. It is an EVGA 8800GTS 640MB model. After pulling off the stock heatsink, the board is left bare. Start by cleaning the memory and graphics core to get them clean. Start installing the heatsinks by removing the backing paper on the thermal tape and installing them by pushing down to seat them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the memory sinks are on, it is time to install the heatsink. The heatsink is held on with a series of studs and nuts that provide the correct amount of tension on the heatsink to keep it in place. Install the studs into the proper holes on the heatsink and apply the supplied thermal paste to the GPU core. Then flip the assembly over and lower the card onto the heatsink so that the studs protrude through the PCB. Install the nuts onto the studs and tighten them down in a criss cross pattern until they are seated. Flip the card over and it's ready to be installed into the system.

 

 

 

To get the card back into the system just reverse the steps taken to pull it out. But there is another step before you fire it up. The fan speed controller needs to be attached to the fan and to an onboard fan header to power the fan. Once the side panel is back on, we can let the games begin.

 

 

Once the card is installed, it becomes apparent that running two cards in SLI will be darn near impossible with this cooler. Why you ask? The card covers all or part of four expansion slots. This thing is huge.

Specifications:

ZEROtherm Hurricane HC92 Cu 8800:

Dimension

169.7x97.1x54.5mm (6.7x3.8x2.1 inch)

Weight

372 grams ( Without optional components)

Material
Base                          Pure Copper
Heatpipe                  Pure Copper
Fin                             Pure Copper

                     Memory Heat sink   Aluminum

Fan Size

92x25mm (3.6x.98 inch) 3 blue LED

Fan Speed

1500-3300 RPM +/- 10%

Acoustic Noise
19.0-40.1 dBA
Bearing Type
UFO Bearing
Rated Voltage
50.-12.0 VDC
Life Expectancy
40,000 hours
Max Airflow Rate
.76~1.63 m3/mm
Connector

2510-3 pin( White) or equivalent

Fan Controller:

Dimension
 

Extension Cable Lenth

1,000 mm (39.37 Inch)
OutputVoltageRange
5-11 VDC
Connector
2510-3 (White )Or Equivalent

 

Features:

Testing:

I will be testing the capabilities of the Hurricane HC92 Cu by load testing it with 3DMark06. The test I will perform is to loop the full test three times and show the results at the end of the run. This cooler has three separate modes that it can be used in. Standard, which includes the shroud around the heatsink fan, Performance mode is run with the removal of the shroud, and Silent mode has the fan and shroud removed. I will be testing the cooler and show how well it performed against the stock cooler. Temperatures will be monitored using Rivatuner version 2.03. The EVGA stock heatsink fan is controlled by Rivatuner and set to 40% fan speed for the low speed testing and to 100% for the high speed tests. To check case temperature, I will use my Kestral 4100 Airflow tracker in lieu of the onboard monitoring software included with the motherboard. This way I will have a real world case temperature rather than a calculation from the onboard monitor. All measurements will be in degrees Celsius. The testbed system is as follows.

Testing Setup

 

 

Lower is Better

 

Lower is Better

 

Lower is Better

 

The Hurricane does perform slightly better under load than the stock heatsink does when used in standard mode. When the shroud is removed, the results were better than the stock cooler by five degrees Celsius. A pretty big gain if you ask me. Case temperature was not really as big of an issue as I thought it was going to be. With results within 1.5 degrees Celsius, it was a non issue for me. My case is better ventilated than most, but if low speed fans and poor airflow are already an issue, then this cooler may compound the issue.

Conclusion:

Was I surprised by the performance of this cooler? Not at all! After reviewing a previous release, I had high hopes that the Hurricane would repeat the performance of the previous cooler. Did it, you ask? It certainly did. What this cooler did was beat the stock heatsink hands down. The case temperatures were actually going to be my greatest concern going into this review since the cooler exhausts the hot air into the case. I found it to be a non issue with a rise in case temperature of only 1.5 degrees Celsius. Low fan speed testing revealed the stock heatsink to be four degrees Celsius better than the Hurricane in standard mode. Once the testing was done in performance mode, the Hurricane bested the stock heatsink by six degrees Celsius. and that was at a low fan speed setting. When ramping up the fan speed to the maximum, the Hurricane came out on top again with a difference of two degrees Celsius. Performance mode again did even better with a temperature difference of five degrees Celsius. Improvement all around where it counted. The documentation included with the cooler shows a noise level of 41dBA for the fan when in high speed mode. 41dBA is actually very noticeable if you have low speed fans in your case. I am a member of the club that has five high speed fans pushing air in and out of my case and I did not hear the heatsink fan at all. If you need a cooler for that hot running 8800 series card to make sure that you can make it through that all night frag fest, you should give this cooler a shot.

 

Pros:

Cons: