I've divided the review by systems (Socket types) due to the dimensions of the Blue ORB. Thermaltake specifies this cooler is compatible with Socket-775 (Intel) motherboards, Socket-939 and Socket-940 (AMD) motherboards. At 140mmx66mm it's a big ole boy with 144 extruded aluminum fins and a total mass of 869g. The unit most certainly has substantial surface area to dissipate processor heat.
The mounting hardware is strictly through-mount style (for AMD) Thermaltake supplies a sturdy back-plate and stand-offs which screw into the back-plate where it protrudes up through the mounting holes. Unfortunately trying to place adequate pressure on the mounting screw to feed it into the initial stand-off threads was next to impossible without damaging either the Ziff socket, area surrounding the socket or CPU if you slip.
I ended up having to remove the unit and compress the springs to relieve tension before they would reach the stand-offs. Even then the tolerance was so tight I was only able to tighten the screws just enough so they were secure in the standoffs and this still left the back-plate bowing (as well as the motherboard) from the tension. I can understand given the unit's mass why Thermaltake would want a sturdy mount; however, they might have considered end-user's whom lack a GI Joe Kung-Fu grip.
I was concerned as I began installing the HSF due to its massive size, as I just wasn't sure it would clear anything especially the DIMMs with memory installed. It did and as you can see below there’s decent clearance but forget any water-cooled memory or Corsair's XPERT
series. Any other memory should be fine including Crucial Ballistix Tracer
As I mentioned earlier, both the A64 3500 and Intel P4 630 feature Integrated Heat Spreaders (HIS). This is paramount to the ORB’s design which is based on the Dr Thermal archetype minimalist base plate
we spoke of earlier, because processor heat is concentrated at the center of the IHS. The CPU core occupies only 60% of the IHS total area at the center therefore the small base-plate footprint isn’t implemented simply for the sake of prudence or material cost, but a much more involved theory. The HIS extends beyond the core to disperse ever increasing heatsink weight so it’s not concentrated on the core which is fragile and susceptible to cracking if “rocker” action occurs. The edges of the HIS rest upon the CPU “package” PCB surrounding the core containing traces and their corresponding pins.
For Socket-775 a source of speculation is the hole in Intel's IHS, which was thought to act as a release for epoxy fumes during production or simply to allow heated air to escape. Whatever the reason may be for the “vent” on the HIS, the minimal footprint incorporated into Intel stock HSF’s and Thermaltake’s ORB will take advantage of certain aspects of the IHS. Air trapped beneath that IHS at its edges is better left to dissipate through the HIS copper itself rather then placing a base-plate over it. The temperature differential between the center of the HIS where the core makes contact is substantial. Then by the Zeroth Law
of thermodynamics it’s actually advantageous to leave those areas exposed.