Arctic Accelero Hybrid VGA Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on September 6, 2012
The Arctic Accelero Hybrid is a video card cooler with a liquid cooling system for the GPU and conventional air cooling for the rest of the card components. Let’s test it!
The Accelero Hybrid comes in a huge box, shown in Figure 1.
Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: liquid cooler for the GPU, frame with fan, radiator fan, manual, thermal adhesive, heatsinks for memory chips and voltage regulator transistors, power adapter, thermal compound, and installation hardware.
This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.
Figure 3 reveals the sealed liquid cooling system that cools the GPU. It is a premounted system, with the coolant liquid already inside it.
The radiator is shown in Figure 5. It looks exactly like the radiator we saw on the Antek Kühler H2O 620 and on the Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer CPU coolers, which is not a surprise since all these liquid cooling system are made by Asetek.
Figure 5 shows the top of the GPU block, which has an integrated pump.
In Figure 6, you can see the base of the block, which is a pure copper plate with rough finishing.
Figure 7 shows the frame of the cooler, where the 80 mm fan is that will cool the video card components, such as memory chips and the transistors from the voltage regulator circuit.
Figure 8 unveils the 120 mm PWM fan that must be installed on the radiator.
In order to run a performance test, we installed the Accelero Hybrid on our Point of View GeForce GTX 460 video card. Figures 9 and 10 show the card with and without its stock cooler.
The first step of the Accelero Hybrid installation is to fit the GPU block inside the frame, as shown in Figure 11. You also need to connect the wiring present on the frame to the cable on the GPU block. The radiator fan is also connected to the system. A standard peripheral power connector from the power supply powers the entire system. A cable is connected on the video card’s original fan power connector in order to control the whole system based on the PWM signal from the card.
Figure 12 shows the Accelero Hybrid installed on our video card.
The solder side of the video card is shown in Figure 13. Here you can see the backplate where the four screws that hold the cooler in place are inserted.
Thanks to the several threaded holes at the base of the cooler, the Accelero Hybrid is compatible with most video cards.
Figures 14 and 15 show the four sides of the Accelero Hybrid installed on our video card.
After installing the cooler on the video card, you must install it on a motherboard’s slot, and then install the radiator with the 120 mm fan. Arctic suggests several places and ways to install it on the front or rear panels. We decided to install the radiator on the top panel in order to avoid the hot air coming from the processor cooler. See Figure 16.
We tested this VGA cooler with a Point of View GeForce GTX 460 card with 1 GB RAM. The GTX 460 GPU has a TDP of 160 W. In order to get 100% GPU usage, we ran the Folding@Home GPU client.
We compared the Arctic Accelero Hybrid to the VGA stock cooler, the Arctic Accelero Xtreme III, the Arctic Accelero Twin Turbo II, the Gamer Storm Dracula installed with two Xigmatek XLF-F1453 fans (140 mm, 1,000 rpm), and to the Deepcool V6000 VGA cooler.
Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the GPU thermal sensors). During the tests, the left panel of the case was closed.
The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed at the side of the case. We reduced the rotation of all the other fans so they wouldn’t interfere with the results. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which isn’t the case here.
Operating System Configuration
We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.
The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the GPU at full load.
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||GPU Temp.||Temp. Diff.|
|GamerStorm Dracula||11 °C||47 dBA||45 °C||34 °C|
|Arctic Accelero Xtreme III||13 °C||42 dBA||49 °C||36 °C|
|Arctic Accelero Twin Turbo II||11 °C||41 dBA||54 °C||43 °C|
|Deepcool V6000||11 °C||50 dBA||57 °C||46 °C|
|Stock cooler||11 °C||58 dBA||85 °C||74 °C|
|Arctic Accelero Hybrid||15 °C||43 dBA||50 °C||34 °C|
In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the GPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.
The main specifications for the Arctic Accelero Hybrid VGA cooler include:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
On our CPU cooler tests, we learned that liquid cooling systems with relatively small radiators don’t perform much better than huge heatpipe-based air coolers. The Arctic Accelero Hybrid, the first liquid cooling system for video cards we tested, followed the same rule.
The Accelero Hybrid showed a cooling performance similar to the best air coolers we tested so far, keeping a low noise level. The advantage of this product is the space required around the video card, which is far less than that of high-end aftermarket air coolers. This can be particularly important for users who use two or three video cards in the same computer.
It’s a shame, however, that the Accelero Hybrid was not designed keeping in mind the limit of two slots. A video card with this cooler installed will use a little more than two slots, so if you need to install another card, it must be three slots away (i.e., leaving two unused slots) from the first one. In this case, maybe if you install only the block, without the frame, the card can use only two slots. Another drawback of the Accelero Hybrid is its price tag.
For its high cooling performance and overall quality, the Arctic Accelero Hybrid receives the Hardware Secrets Silver Award.