Arctic Accelero Hybrid VGA Liquid Cooling Solution Review
ARCTIC or formally known as Arctic Cooling is a leading company in terms of miscellaneous cooling products for computer hardware and more for over 10 years. ARCTIC’s expertise ranges from noise suppression for PCs, audio, peripheral equipment and power supplies, right through to entertainment products. ARCTIC itself is an umbrella brand for sound, equipment, hobby and living product ranges.
ARCTIC has been providing a wide range of GPU coolers over the past years with its ARCTIC Accelero series. Coolers such as the ARCTIC Accelero Extreme and Accelero Hybrid have been well known for their great air cooling and with the launch of ARCTIC's Accelero Hybrid, the company has took the next step in GPU cooling solutions.
ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid - The Air and Water Hybrid Cooling Solution
As the title suggests, ARCTIC took the leap ahead by providing the industry's first Hybrid cooling solution for GPUs with the Accelero Hybrid that provides combines both air and water to offer unprecedented cooling performance to the GPU.
The ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid works the same way as AIO CPU coolers from Corsair as an example that don't require an hectic amount of work for fitting them inside a PC. The Accelero Hybrid is an easy to fit all in one VGA cooling solution that can dissipate upto 320 Watts of heat off of GPUs. The VGA cooler is perfect for users that don't want to stumble upon the know hows of custom liquid cooling setups.
The cooling solution has two key parts, a 120mm radiator bundled with a 120mm PWM fan and a GPU cooler shroud that holds an independent fan that provides cooling to the VRM and power phases located on the VGA's PCB. We tested the card on our GeForce GTX 680 (Kepler) and GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi), Following is the list of VGA's the ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid is compatible with:
AMD Series: Radeon HD 8870HD 7870, HD 7850HD 6970, HD 6950, HD 6870, HD 6850, HD 6790, HD 6770HD 5870, HD 5850, HD 5830HD 4890, HD 4870, HD 4850
NVIDIA Series: GTX 680, GTX 670, GTX 660Ti, GTX 580, GTX 570, GTX 560Ti, GTX 560 SE, GTX 560, GTX 480, GTX 470, GTX 465 , GTX 460 SE, GTX 460
It should be noted that ARCTIC sells a separate model of the Accelero Hybrid that allows compatibility with the Radeon HD 7970, you can find it at the official page here.
ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid Technical Specs
Specifications (Graphic Card Module)
|Max. Cooling Capacity||320 Watts|
|Fan (mm)||80 mm, 900 - 2,000 RPM (controlled by PWM)|
|Bearing||Fluid Dynamic Bearing|
|Air Flow||13.1 CFM / 22.3 m3/h|
|Noise Level||0.3 Sone|
|Fan Current / Voltage||0.13A / 12V|
|Pump Current / Voltage||0.26A / 12V|
|Fan Power Consumption||1.56W|
|Pump Power Consumption||3.12W|
|Cold Plate Material||Copper|
|Dimensions (Product)||243 (L) x 112 (W) x 44.2 (H) mm|
|Net Weight||363 g|
Specifications (Heat Exchanger Module)
|Fan||120 mm, 400 – 1,350 RPM (controlled by PWM)|
|Bearing||Fluid Dynamic Bearing|
|Heat Exchanger Type||Aluminum 1.0"|
|Air Flow||74 CFM / 125.7 m3/h|
|Noise Level||0.3 Sone (F12 PWM Fan Only)|
|F12 PWM Fan Current / Voltage||0.22A / 12V|
|F12 PWM Fan Power Consumption||2.64W|
|Tube Length||416 mm|
|Dimensions (Product)||150 (L) x 120 (W) x 52.8 (H) mm|
|Net Weight||503 g|
|Limited Warranty||2 years|
|Dimensions (Packaging)||330 (L) x 188 (W) x 260 (H) mm|
You may note how the technical sheet of the Accelero Hybrid lists two segments of the VGA cooler individually. First up is the Graphics Card Module which includes the cooler shroud which is made of plastic and colored black. This section of the cooler includes a 80mm PWM controlled fan that operates from 900 - 2000 RPM maintaining an airflow of 13.1 CFM while producing only 0.3 sone noise level. This is fairly low for a 2000 RPM fan and can be barely heard unless you're sleeping right next to the cooler. The contact plate is made of pure copper and offers 320W of cooling power to the GPU.
The second segment of the ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid includes the Heat Exchange Module which is to be exact the radiator pump and the fan supplied with it. Just like any traditional Liquid cooling solution, the ARCTIC Accelero's pump is made up of dense aluminum fins stacked within it that are cooled off by a 120mm PWM controlled fan that operates at 400 - 1350 RPM maintains an airflow of 74 CFM and a noise level of 0.3 sone. Ofcourse, the heat is fed through liquid carried within two tubes that measure 416mm in length.
Moving on we will show you how to install the Accelero Hybrid on a graphics card. We used the MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti HAWK for testing, installation procedure can be seen in the following pages.
Unboxing The Package
The ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid comes in a large cardboard packaging with a large product image at the front.
Information and features along with the GPU compatiblity list of the Accelero Hybrid are listed at the back and sides of the packaging. The side also shows the types of configurations which users can set of the Accelero Hybrid inside their PC chassis.
There's a second cardboard package inside the box with a plastic top. The plastic section holds the cooler shroud, VRM/Memory heatsinks and a syringe containing the ARCTIC MX-4 thermal greases which is with a doubt one of the best thermal interface available to enthusiasts.
Below, inside the cardboard packaging is the radiator itself fitted along with the copper water block. It should be noted that the Accelero Hybrid is infact an ASETEK made 570LC platform accompanied with a low-profile pump. A ARCTIC F12 PWM Fan is located at the center of the package. Do note that the VRM heatsinks are kept in place with tape so if it gets loose they would fall in the gaps beneath the pump.
The smaller stuff such as screws, spacers, thermal glue, holding bracket, noise dampeners, molex connector and a full slot air bracket are contained within plastic bags.
With the unboxing complete, Let's move onwards to the installation procedure.
Installation Part 1
In part 1 of our installation process, we will do the basic stuff such as taking off the stock cooler from the GPU and installing the copper block to the cooler shroud.
First of all make sure you have the necessary stuff to take off the cooler from the GPU. In our case it was relatively easier since with the GTX 560 TI HAWK, we just had to take off a few screws from the back and off came the Twin Frozr III heatsink.
Following we have the bare GTX 560 Ti PCB. As you can note, we didn't felt the need to equip it with any VRM or memory heatsinks since they were already accompanied by a custom made heat bracket by MSI. But in the case you have a reference model of any compatible card with no heatsinks installed, than do install the provided ones otherwise heat can permanently damage your card. To do so, apply the thermal glue provided in the white tube, apply a little on the memory chip and place the heatsink on top of it. Let is stay in place for atleast 30 minutes.
Make sure to clean your GPU's PCB off of an dust particles and remove the stock thermal paste from the GPU's core. Don't install the MX-4 just yet!
Now, take out the Accelero Hybrid's cooler shroud and the radiator. First of all you would have to apply spacers between the screw holes on the cooler shroud, four of them.
Take the copper water block and place it over the spot and tighten it using screw driver. When you are done, you would have to adjust the coolant pipes too. Make sure they pass through their paths adjusted on the shroud and tighten them with two large head screws, the final product would look like this:
Installation Part 2
Part two of the installation is where we focus on installing the PCB with the water block (now fitted inside the cooler shroud).
To do so, first of all take the rubber material from the plastic package and fit it beneath the bracket that's supplied with the Accelero Hybrid. Tighten the mounting bracket with the copper block from the backside of the PCB. Don't excessively tighten the screws otherwise it may damage the GPU.
This is all that need's to be done, the ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid is not fitted on your GPU. Time to insert it into the PCI-e slot but before doing so make sure of a few things. Plug in the 4-Pin fan connector from the cooler shroud to the PCB. There's a second molex connector which comes with the F12 PWM fan, connect it otherwise the fan won't operate.
Finally you can fit the whole thing inside your PC. But you still have to make some adjustements. Our setup is based on the Z77 platform and makes use of the Phanteks PH-TC14 super heatsink cooler and an HAF 932 chassis.
The Phanteks cooler uses three 140mm fans so we had to remove the one located near the exhaust vent and the exhaust vent fan itself too which is supplied with the chassis. We thought this would make enough room for the coolant transfer pipes but we were wrong. The pipes got stuck half way through so we had to take the radiator out of the chassis. We couldn't relocate the radiator on the front since the space is occupied by the drivebays.
Make sure that you have an adequate chassis and a smaller heatsink package before installing the ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid cooling solution.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-3570K @ 4.5 GHz|
|Motherboard:||ASRock Z77 Extreme6|
|Power Supply:||Xigmatek NRP-MC1002 1000 Watt|
|Hard Disk:||Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.12
Kingston HyperX 3K 90GB
|Memory:||2 x 4096 MB G.Skill ARES 2133 MHz DDR3|
|Case:||Cooler Master HAF 932|
|Video Cards:||MSI GTX 560 Ti w/ ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid|
|Video Drivers:||NVIDIA ForceWare 310.90|
|OS:||Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit|
We used the MSI Afterburner 2.3.0 and GPU-Z v0 .6.6 to monitor temperature and clock frequencies using the two coolers. We will be comparing the ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid against the MSI Twin Frozr III heatsink to get a idea of how well the cooling solution performs against custom made heatsinks from manufacturer's.
We used the default settings of 950 MHz core and 1050 MHz memory clock while testing the ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid but also pumped up the frequencies for an overclocked performance test which can be seen later on in the article. The ambient temperature in our testing environment stayed at 19.5°C and we gave the GPU a 10 minute stabilization period after each result obtained.
ARCTIC Accelero Cooling Performance Results
At default clocks, we tested the card while running Battlefield 3. Each test was ran under stressful conditions for 10 minutes before we gave the GPU a break for the next test. Following are the results obtained:
As you can note, the ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid provided exceptional cooling to the GF-114 GPU core. Almost 11C lower than the Twin Frozr III heatsink and even better when put under max cooling capacity. We noticed a slight increase in noise level but its nothing to worry about while playing games. With reference solutions, we can easily be looking at around 15-20C lesser temperatures using the ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid. Let's move on and see how it performs under overclocking.
Overclocked Performance Results
For overclocking we pushed the GPU to the 1034 MHz core and 1138 MHz memory clock which is a pretty high overclock for the GTX 560 Ti. Following is the GPU-Z shot:
With these settings, we tested the card once again under stressful environment playing Battlefield 3 multiplayer. Again the ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid yielded some impressive results with a whole 20C cooling performance at max capacity. Results can be seen below:
While our results are limited to the core of the GPU only, it should be noted that most reference design graphic cards don't feature VRM or memory heatsink and rely on air from the fans located on the cooler shroud. ARCTIC's bundled adhesive heatsink solution gives the VRM and memory chips much needed cooling which would not only allow better stability but also provide better overclocking in long term need.
Well we got to say, ARCTIC did a really well job by offering consumers with a new cooling solution for their hardware. The ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid is just as easy to use as an all-in-one CPU liquid cooling solution but there are a few downsides of the cooler. Price is a major factor here and ARCTIC is asking a hefty $179.99 US for the Accelero Hybrid. If i had a choice, i would rather spend that extra cash on a GPU with custom overclocked GPU solution and be a happy man. The point is that, ARCTIC's Accelero Hybrid definitely performs per expectations delivering better cooling performance over reference and custom coolers but at the end of the day, users don't go for cooling as much as they want better performance out of their GPUs hence spending that extra cash on a faster card is a better option.
Our test results came with a 10-20C improvement with the Accelero Hybrid over the Twin Frozr III heatsink which is quite a big improvement. For reference designs, we can imagine ever better cooling. A reference GTX 680 goes for a price of $449, adding the Accelero Hybrid puts the cost just around the $600 level. Its upto the users whethe they are aiming for better cooling and lower noise levels or better performance by dishing out money on a factory overclocked GPU. Additionally, the ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid is build entirely for enthusiasts. You would need a proper casing and CPU heatsink to allow compatibility with the liquid cooler. So the price point and compatibility leaves the casual users out.
Overall, if you are an enthusiast DIY PC guy looking for a liquid cooling solution for the GPU that performs well at lower noise than reference model than ARCTIC's Accelero Hybrid is the perfect choice for you.