Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo VGA Cooler Review
By Gabriel Torres on October 14, 2008
Accelero Twin Turbo is a VGA cooler from Arctic Cooling compatible with a myriad of video cards, including Radeon HD 4850 and 4870 from ATI/AMD and GeForce 9800 GTX+ and GTX from NVIDIA. We tested this cooler with a Radeon HD 4870, a card that is famous for heating a lot. Let’s see if this cooler can really cool down this the hot VGA.
This cooler has two fluid dynamic bearing (made in Japan) 80 mm fans (up to 2,000 rpm each) responsible for cooling down a 30-fin aluminum heatsink, which is connected to the cooler’s copper base using four copper heat-pipes. The unit comes with pre-applied grey thermal paste (MX-2). According to the manufacturer this cooler can dissipate up to 120 W.
The power cable can be connected directly on the video card original fan socket or can be connected directly to the power supply, using an adapter that comes with the product. On the first case the speed of the fans will be controlled by the video card, while on the second the fans will be rotating at a constant speed, which you can select, as you can choose feeding the fans with +7 V (which is easily achieved by connecting one wire to the +12 V output and the other wire on the +5 V output) or with +12 V.
The cooler also comes with eight passive heatsinks for memory chips and four passive heatsinks for the transistors from the voltage regulator circuit.
The installation process is quite easy. First you have to remove the standard cooler that comes with your video card, obviously. Then you need to remove all thermal paste that is currently applied on the GPU and also use a pencil eraser to clean the memory chips and the voltage regulator transistors. This step is very important, because otherwise the passive heatsinks won’t stick to the memory chips and transistors. Then you can go ahead and install the passive heatsinks, which can be done by simply peeling off the paper available on the bottom, positioning the heatsink on top of the component and applying pressure. Depending on your video card you may not use all heatsinks that come with the cooler.
After the passive heatsinks are installed, the next step is installing the cooler itself to the video card. The base of the cooler can be moved up and down if you see that after installing the cooler it will be on the same line as the PCI Express edge contacts or lower, what will prevent you from installing the video card on your motherboard. So before screwing the cooler to the video card, make sure that they will fit your system correctly. If not, adjust the base to a different position until you find the correct spot.
The cooler doesn’t touch the passive heatsinks, but they are located very close to the cooler’s heatsink. So the two fans indirectly cool down the memories and the voltage regulator circuit, too.
As mentioned, you have three options for the power cable. You can connect it on the original fan power socket located on the video card, you can connect it directly to the computer power supply at +7 V or you can connect it directly to the computer power supply at +12 V. We will test these three options.
The only big drawback from Accelero Twin Turbo is that your video card will take up three slots on your computer, not only two. This may prevent you from installing a second video card on your system. We will talk more about this on the conclusions.
Before going to our tests, let’s recap the main features from Accelero Twin Turbo.
Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo main features are:
With a digital thermometer we measured the temperature of several different spots on the video card (Radeon HD 4870 running at its default configuration) using the standard cooler and using Accelero Twin Turbo. We tested the reviewed unit under three scenarios: with the fans connected directly to the video card power plug (“PWM” column), directly to the power supply with it feeding the cooler with +7 V (“+7 V” column) and directly to the power supply with it feeding the cooler with +12 V (“+12 V” columns). During our tests room temperature was at 22° C (72° F) and we ran the Folding @ Home GPU client to make the video card to reach its maximum temperature. The results you can find in the table below.
Here is a brief explanation of the spots we placed the probe from our digital thermometer.
As you can see Accelero Twin Turbo can in fact achieve a performance worst than ATI’s stock cooler if you connect it to the on-board power connector. Thus it is recommended that you connect this cooler directly to the power supply. At +12 V the performance was really impressive, with the GPU running 15° C cooler and with the memory running 12° C cooler. What really impressed us was the drop on the amount of heat being thrown out of the system, which decreased 26° C.
In our tests with a Radeon HD 4870 Accelero Twin Turbo achieved a performance worst than ATI’s stock cooler when we connected the reviewed cooler to the standard fan connector available on the video card (the temperature of the air being thrown out of the system dropped dramatically, however, from 63° C to 51° C). So we recommend you to connect the reviewed cooler directly to the system power supply.
You have two options when connecting Accelero Twin Turbo to the power supply: +7 V (lower fan speed and thus lower noise level) or +12 V (higher fan speed and thus higher noise level). At +7 V Accelero Twin Turbo was a little bit better than ATI’s stock cooler, but if you are really worried about temperature you should run this product at +12 V, where it lower the GPU temperature by 15° C, memory temperature by 12° C and the hot air being thrown out of the system by amazing 26° C. The heatsink was running 11° C cooler than the heatsink from the stock cooler, which is nice.
It is always important to remember that these results were achieved with a Radeon HD 4870, a GPU that is famous to heat a lot. You may get better results with different video cards.
The only thing we really didn’t like about this product is that after installing it our video card was now taking three slots from the motherboard and case, covering the second PCI Express x16 slot from our motherboard. This was a real bummer, since we originally had two video cards installed.
So if you have an SLI or a CrossFire system forget about this cooler. It will prevent you from installing your second video card. If you are running a single-VGA system, however, Accelero Twin Turbo may be a good option.