Arctic Accelero Hybrid 7970 Cooler ReviewRHKCommander959 - September 26, 2012
Category: VGA Cooling
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With power of modern graphics cards, many equipped with stock OEM heatsinks tend to run at the verge of conventional thermal limits. If not taken seriously, heat can degrade lifespan and performance. Also, an increase in noise output is likely as the blower or fans throttle to try and keep up with the demand. In most cases, overclocking is limited by the cooling system, so manufacturers sometimes offer custom heatsink setups (at a price). With better cooling solutions, it may be possible to push the speed further.
Just as there are aftermarket CPU heatsinks, there are aftermarket graphics cards heatsinks. Most are air-to-air designs, but some higher-end solutions are liquid-to-air; also known as water cooling. Usually, water cooling kits are either a full-cover water block that cools the entire card, or a cheaper GPU core-only block. The core-only design is usually paired with air-to-air heatsinks for the memory and power circuits. Futhermore, most water cooling kits are intended to be installed with a pre-existing or custom cooling loop. With that said, more and more companies are releasing affordable closed loops for those who want an all-in-one solution – a system already plumbed and has a pump, heat exchanger, tubing, and so on. Today, ARCTIC COOLING has provided its new Accelero Hybrid 7970 graphics card cooler for testing!
The front of the box has a clean white background with some black and blue adornments. ARCTIC COOLING has started to go by ARCTIC, as reflected by the logos, with a crescent C in the background. The cooler is pictured in the center. The radiator, fan shroud, fan housing, and tubing are all black. Both fan impellers are white and the shroud has a few stickers of the company and part name. At the bottom, the part name is listed and designated as a Graphics Card Cooler for Enthusiasts. Flipping over to the back shows two more pictures in great detail, alongside some specifications and features. The cooler is compatible with the following AMD Radeon models: 7970, 7950, 7870, 7850, 6970, 6950, 6870, 6850, 6790, 5870, 5850, and 5830. The fan shroud has room to run the coolant hoses, and sits over the water block and heat sinks. It is angled to blow air from the back of the card towards the front and out the expansion slots. This is similar to most stock designs, except that a fan is used instead of a noisy blower. Cooling performance is listed on the back for a 7970; according to ARCTIC, the Hybrid cooler at 2,000 RPM fan speed runs 28°C cooler versus the stock cooler at 3,000 RPM. Noise levels were also compared with the same fan speeds, plus the water cooling pump. In their specifications, the Hybrid operated at 0.4 Sone while the stock cooler was at 5.2 Sone. Thermal Adhesive glue performance was compared against generic 0.15 mm Thermal Tape; adhesive looks to have a thermal transfer rate of 0.86 °C/W while the tape has a rate of 2.56 °C/W. Both were tested on an Accelero L2 PRO at 25°C ambient.
The sides of the packaging feature a blue background with white lettering. The first side has several features listed out in a dozen languages. The other side shows a table with specifications, as well as several pictures showing some features and installation possibilities. The main features are the low power consumption – under 7.5 W – for both fans and pump, fluid dynamic bearings for both fans, 416 mm tubing length, 503 g heat exchanger, and 363 g module weight. Radiator installation requires an open 120 mm fan slot. Some cases won't have one, but there are fan adapters to convert to 120 mm from 80 mm or 96 mm mounting holes, which are the two other common sizes. That inevitably allows most consumers to install this cooler!
Opening the box, the water cooling kit is well protected against damage. The pump is integrated into the water block, with the whole loop sealed and placed into the formed cardboard case. A white sleeve protects the radiator's fragile fins from being damaged. The 120 mm PWM fan lays in the center, with tape holding it still. The other half of the package is a piece of plastic that holds the shrouds, heat sinks, thermal paste, and thermal adhesive glue.
The hardware includes a backplate and backplate pad, thermal paste and adhesive glue, one zip tie, four strips of lined plastic, an expansion port grill, a Molex to two-fan adapter, and three bags with screws and washers. 31 heat sinks are included to cool the memory and power circuits, actively aided by the fan shroud. A large foldout installation manual lists the separate pieces and shows how to properly install the heat sink.
On to the next page to see the cooler in detail!