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A generalized name for a class of x86-based CPU heatsink/fan combos. Highly-efficient. Practical testing has placed these units at 7- to 10-degrees Celsius cooler than included fan/heatsink combos. Common low-cost cooling solution among overclockers.

An unconventional looking heatsink, manufactured by thermaltake.
Golden Orbs are so named because the original orb was made of gold-anodized aluminium. Orbs are cylindrical, with a heavy base, and an array of fins reaching up at an angle to form a tube, inside of which the fan is mounted. This design allows the fins to be longer than a cuboid heatsink of the same height, and the fan to be positioned closer to the base of the fins, cooling them (and therefore the processor) more directly. The proximity of the fan to the fins leads to increased air turbulence compared to a cuboid heatsink, making the orb a lot more noisy.

Orbs were initially mounted to the processor by a screw mechanism, where the heatsink had a built-in clip, which closed on the socket when the heatsink was rotated, at the same time pushing it down to improve contact with the processor. When the first flipchip athlons were released, with their exposed die directly under the heatsink, this mounting method caused catastrophic damage to the die, grinding corners off, and often shattering it. Intel flipchip Pentium III and Celeron proved more rugged, not being damaged by this treatment.

Thermaltake quickly released newer modified Orb, intended not to damage AMD processors. It has a flatter base, and a conventional clip mechanism. To differentiate between the two versions, it was left as plain aluminium, and called a silver orb.

Recent products in the same range include the super orb, a double-height orb with two fans, half-height orbs for slimline systems, and tiny orbs to cool northbridge chips and graphics cards.

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