Arctic Accelero Hybrid 7970 Cooler ReviewRHKCommander959 - September 26, 2012
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The cooling loop is intended to be maintenance-free and as such, does not offer any service ports. The loop is plumbed and ready to go. Users only have to uninstall the previous cooler on their video card and install the components. Having a closed loop makes installation far easier, as there is no need to do any maintenance. Plus, with separate cooling loops, there are less components at risk if a failure occurs somewhere, such with a pump or fan seizing.
The water block is also the pump – it can be powered by a fan connection or Molex. The base is copper – it is rough, but decently flat. Lapping could be beneficial here. The pump runs off 0.26 A at 12 V. Two black highly flexible tubes run between the pump/block and the radiator. Fin density is moderate – high amounts of fins require a loud fan to push air through, but provide the best temperatures, while a low density can use the slowest and thus, quietest fans, but aren't as capable. Having moderate fin amounts is ideal between both qualities – a decently quiet fan can still provide good temperatures!
The fan shroud is black with a few stickers and white impeller to give it color. There are a few holes for airflow as well. Flipping the shroud over gives us a better view of the impeller, along with its wiring and connectors. Near the center is where the water block/pump sits. Most of the air exits towards the right and out your case. The fan is 80 mm and operates between 900-2000 RPM, flowing up to 13.1 CFM. The fan draws 0.13 A at 12 V.
The fan impeller is white and has a sticker for ARCTIC with a website link. It sits inside a black housing which has ARCTIC COOLING on the side. The fan has a fluid dynamic bearing and uses 0.22 A at 12 V through a PWM connection. The fan operates between 400 – 1,350 RPM and moves up to 74 CFM.
Assembling the cooler is simple enough, as long as you carefully follow the instructions. Some double-sided tape is included to attach nylon spacers to the pump/block for proper depth for the 7970. The pump/block is mounted to the shroud with four screws in the larger holes – rubber washers are applied to the shroud to keep the pump stable and prevent vibrating. The hoses are kept in place using two washers with screws. The Molex cable connects to the fan via its fan connection and also powers the pump, so the graphics card itself isn't taxed electrically. The shroud fan has the PWM wires separated from the power cables, so it could be actuated by the graphics card as it would the stock fan. A piece of paper in the shape of the block unit is included to help show users where to avoid heatsink placement. Lay it on top of the GPU core and line it up as if it were the block, do a test fit with the heatsinks and make sure none touch – leave a small gap. To know where you need heatsinks, look at the stock cooler and see where there was thermal tape and thermal paste! Any components that had either would probably need a heatsink. The 7970 series has a memory IC at the bottom that is too close to the core for a full-sized heatsink, so a long/narrow one is used in its place. For optimal airflow, I laid the heat sinks out parallel rather than having them all pointing to the core.
With everything installed, it is immediately apparent that the shroud will let most of the air recirculate back into the case rather than flow out. A positive-pressure case design (an abundance of incoming air versus exhaust capabilities) will aid this. The power cord exits right out of the side – some users may opt to run it a different route for better cable management. Sleeves would have been a nice touch too. The hoses are nice and flexible, but exit to the rear of the card, which could make it hard to mount the radiator to the top or rear of a case. The hose can get in the way of the power connectors as well. To help with this, I removed the nearest washer to get clearance. With the shroud installed, the card is slightly taller than two spaces, but may fit albeit tightly with a neighboring card. Just make sure the back of said card doesn't have any tall components nearby. A different shroud design could potentially improve cooling capabilities of the components, but isn't easily possible since this is intended as a more universal design.
Next is the Specifications and Features page, followed by testing!