Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo VGA Cooler Review
Reviewed by: TheScavenger
Reviewed on: October 28, 2008
Heat is a by-product of computer hardware. Overclocking increases heat production. Excess heat can damage expensive hardware and ruin system stability. This line of deductive reasoning is known and easily understood by overclockers worldwide. This conclusion leads me into a question. What can be done about this heat? The answer is obvious. Arctic Cooling. Arctic Cooling, founded in 2001, is a Swiss-based manufacturer of computer hardware cooling components. Arctic Cooling is famous for its CPU and VGA heatsinks, such as the Freezer 7 Pro and the Accelero S1. Today I will be looking at one of its latest VGA coolers, the Accelero Twin Turbo.
The Twin Turbo is a dual-fan, high performance cooling solution for a variety of current and older video cards. Compatibility ranged from the X1300, to the HD 4870 on the ATI side and from the 6600 to the 9800 on the Nvidia side. I was impressed with the peformance of Arctic Cooling's Accelero S1 Rev. 2, so I have high hopes for the Twin Turbo.
The Twin Turbo is packaged in typical Arctic Cooling fashion. The contents are tightly wrapped in clear plastic, which offers a nearly unobstructed view of the product's front. The front of the package simply states that the Twin Turbo is a cooling solution for graphics cards. The rear of the package details the specifications of the Twin Turbo, card compatibility and also mentions the six year warranty.
After opening the clamshell package, you can see the Twin Turbo's bundled accessories. Those accessories include detailed instructions, 10 memory heatsinks, 4 voltage regulator heatsinks, 2 vented PCI brackets, mounting hardware and a Molex power adapter. The Molex connector allows you to plug the Twin Turbo's fans directly into a power supply.
I got my first unobstructed look at the Twin Turbo after I removed the heatsink from its packaging. The superior design and build quality of the cooler is exactly what I have come to expect from Arctic Cooling. The overall layout of the Twin Turbo is similar to Arctic Cooling's other VGA coolers as well. The smoke-colored fan shroud, housing two 80mm fans, is very attractive, as is the layout of the four copper heatpipes. The fan shroud also has two product identifying stickers on it.
Since the Twin Turbo measures 54mm tall, it will occupy 3 PCI slots when installed. A heatsink this tall might interfere with adjacent PCI-E slots on certain motherboards. Take this into consideration when installing an SLI or CrossFire setup. Arctic Cooling's own MX-2 thermal paste is pre-applied to the heatsink surface. The heatpipes and heatisnk base are both solidly constructed and show no obvious machine marks. On a side note, when the Twin Turbo is installed on an RV770 based graphics card, the fan's power cord is excessively long.
The accessories include detailed multi-lingual instructions, 2 vented PCI slot brackets, a Molex fan power adapter and mounting hardware. The Twin Turbo's mounting hardware is contained in a zip-loc bag. Four small screws and washers are provided to attach the base-plate to the printed circuit board.
The Twin Turbo is also packaged with 8 memory heatsinks and 4 voltage regulator heatsinks. Both sets of heatinks are constructed of aluminum and are backed with thermal tape to promote adhesion with the video card.
Removing the factory heatsink and fan shroud from a graphics card is generally a simple process, although it may seem intimidating to a novice. The process is actually simple if you follow the directions and take certain precautions in regards to static electricity. Wearing an anti-static wristband is recommended to help control static discharge. Also, you should always shutdown your computer and remove the power cable before attempting to work on it.
Today, I will be installing the Twin Turbo on a graphics card in dire need of aftermarket cooling - a reference model ATI HD 4850. With GPU idle temperatures in the mid-70s at the factory frequencies, the 4850 is a prime candidate for the Twin Turbo. Installation of the Twin Turbo is very simple.
All of the 4850's mounting hardware is found on the opposite of the PCB that the fan is on. There are 8 screws going directly into the PCB and 4 holding the backplate in place. Start of by removing all of these screws and lifting the fan-heatsink assembly away from the graphics card. Once this is finished, the 4850 will be completely bare. Next, clean the factory thermal paste off of the GPU and install the memory and voltage regulator heatsinks. Also, Arctic Cooling's website mentions that a heatpipe might interfere with the installation of the upper-most memory heatsink on a 4850. This was not an issue for me, but Arctic Cooling suggests offsetting the memory heatsink to allow clearance.
Now, lay the Twin Turbo upside down on a flat surface. Install the four cylindrical white washers on the sticky portion of the heatsink retention bracket. Note that the retention bracket has two sets of holes to accommodate a variety of video cards. In this, I used the outer set of holes for the 4850.
Next, lower the video card on to the Twin Turbo heatink base, until it rests gently on the GPU. Install the four red washers and 4 screws through the PCB and into the heatsink base. To finish the heatsink install, plug the fans into the socket on the video card.
After installing the 4850 back on the motherboard, you can see that there is just enough room to fit a graphics card into the second PCI-E x16 slot.
Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo:
212L x 103W x 34H (mm)
80mm x 2 fans
1200-2000 RPM (controlled by PWM)
40 CFM / 68m3/h
Max. Cooling Capacity:
Fluid Dynamic Bearing
Radeon HD 4870, 4850, 4830, 3870, 3850, 2600, 2400, X1950, X1900, X1800, X1650, X1600, X1550, X1300
GeForce 9800GTX+, 9800GTX, 9800GT, 9600GT, 8800GTS (G92), 8800GT, 8600, 8500, 8400, 7950GT, 7900, 7800, 7600, 7300, 6800, 6600
- Unmatched cooling performance- up to 120W
- Efficient heat transfer via 4 heatpipes and 30 fins
- Two ultra quiet 80mm fans with low noise impeller
- Patented fan holder eliminates the buzzing sound
- RAM and voltage regulator cooling
- SLI and Crossfire compatible
- Pre-applied MX-2
- Lightweight, transport safe
- 6 year warranty
I will test the thermal efficiencies of the Accelero Twin Turbo by stressing the graphics card with three consecutive runs of 3DMark06. I will run three seperate tests at 25% (low speed), 50% (mid speed) and 100% (high speed) fan speed. I will also record the GPU idle temperatures after 10 minutes of idle time. The recorded load temperatures will be taken from the maximum temperatures reached during the 3DMark06 stress test. The temperatures achieved by the Twin Turbo will be compared against the stock heatsink at 25%, 50% and 100% fan speed as well. The fan speed will be set using RivaTuner 2.11. Temperature monitoring will be handled by RivaTuner as well. Furthermore, I will test both the Twin Turbo and factory heatsink by overclocking the 4850s GPU and memory frequencies to their highest stable speeds. I will record the overclocked idle and load temperatures as well. All recorded temperatures will be in Celsius. Ambient temperature around the test system is 19.4 degrees.
- Processor: Intel Q9450 Core 2 Quad 333x8
- Motherboard: Gigabyte X48-DQ6
- Memory: Mushkin XP2 Redline 8000 2 x 2GB 5-5-5-12
- Video Card(s): Palit HD 4850
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800 watt Modular power supply
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: NEC DV5700
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition
- Video Card(s): Palit HD 4850 675/1050
Lower is Better
Lower is Better
The Accelero Twin Turbo was the winner in every test. The factory heatsink was clearly outmatched by a far more superior product. The temperature differences between the two products were as high as 36 degrees in some tests. At its best, the factory heatsink got within 6 degrees of the Twin Turbo. In addition, the Twin Turbo fans were much quieter than the factory fans at every speed setting. At any speed above 50%, the factory fan was simply unbearable. AIso, I decided not to test the stock heatsink at an overclocked load with only 25% fan speed, in fear of damaging the card.
I could not have been more impressed by the Accelero Twin Turbo. This level of performance is exactly what I have come to expect from Arctic Cooling products. The Twin Turbo easily beat the factory heatsink in every temperature test by up to 36 degrees. This Arctic Cooling product really shined at low fan speeds. The Twin Turbo load temperatures at 25% fan speed were lower than the factory heatsink temperatures at idle at the same fan speed. I suspect that thermal performance could not be any better, unless the card was subject to water cooling. Furthermore, the fans on the Accelero produced significantly lower noise than the facory unit. The Twin Turbo truely epitomizes heatsink high performance. I could not ask for any more from a VGA cooler. I highly suggest buying an Accelero Twin Turbo if you have a compatible graphics card.
- Performance at load
- Performance at idle
- Low fan noise
- Impressive build quality
- Beautiful design
- Easy installation
- 6 year warranty
- Price-to-peformance ratio