Date: June 8th, 2006
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Sapphire
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SMALL HEATPIPE TECHNOLOGY TUTORIAL
Let's keep this as simple as possible to get the basic premise across to all of the Tweaknews readers. Please don't be insulted if this is too basic for your education level, we're just offering the basics to the least technical reader looking for information.
The basic idea behind heatpipe technology is really simple.
1.) With a tube containing a compressed fluid/gas, the fluid comes in contact with the heat source (the cpu core, in this case) which heats up the volatile fluid and turn it to a gas. The energy is absorbed in the gas production process and is ready for transportation.
2.) The heated gas now travels along the inner portion of the tube where it comes to the cooling portion of the heatsink in this example.
3.) The radiator, with or without a fan, will cool the liquid and transfer the energy (AKA heat) to the radiator to be dispersed to the surrounding air. With the heat removed, the vapor quickly condenses back to a fluid and runs along the inside surface of the pipe back down to the bottom where the process can be started all over again.
For another example, you can consider a boiling pot of water with a glass lid as a very very basic heatpipe. When the water boils, the water vapor comes in contact with the cooler glass pot lid which forces the vapor to condense back to water where it dribbles back down the inside of the lid back into the pot.
It's basic, but it gets the point across.
PRODUCT PICTORIAL & WALKTHROUGH
Let's take a virtual walk around your possible new future purchase.
The core and memory side of the cooler is comprised of one solid Sapphire branded block of aluminum which accounts for much of the added heft of this videocard. The fins on this side act as an additional means of directly cooling the memory and the core along with the main remote heatsink the dual heatpipes will be transferring heat to. When benchmarking, this section of the overall cooler does get warm, but nothing I would deem hot at all.
As seen in the above photos, the heatpipes exit the core and memory cooling block and enter into the top heatsink. The heatpipes go through both the heatsink and the block completely.
The heatpipes transfer the heat to this large upper heatsink which has a substantial amount of surface area to aid in getting the heat away from the card as quickly as possible. The heatsink comes complete with an extremely quiet fan which spins at around 1000-1500rpms. From what I have been told, the fan will only come on when it is needed but throughout my testing here, I have allowed this card to idle for about 4 hours in a 22c air conditioned open testbed environment and it never shut off at all. Even so, it is so quiet that it isn't even noticeable so I wouldn't consider it a big deal.
Last but not least in this section is the card's connections. Sapphire for some reason chose to go with one analog and one DVI connection so anyone with dual DVI monitors is unfortunately out of luck with this product. The analog connection needs to go to make this product feasible for everyone. Most people are buying DVI capable LCD monitors and some might even buy two for a dual monitor desktop working environment. The videocard industry needs to let this setup go and stick to two DVI with two converters thrown into the hardware bundle. This will cover everyone's needs.