Installation, Part 1

Of course, in order to actually test the Arctic Cooling Accelero Hybrid, we must first install it. I had on hand a bone stock, reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680, a card which is in my opinion the perfect candidate. The GTX 680's stock cooler isn't bad, but it can get a little noisy if you start overclocking the card at all, and it's not as robust as the cooler on the venerable GTX 580. To be fair, that card had a much higher TDP than the GTX 680 does.

The first step was just getting the existing cooler off of the GTX 680, and NVIDIA doesn't make it easy. The 680's cooling comes in three pieces: the outer shroud, the heatsink, and the baseplate. The shroud is easy enough to remove, secured with a total of six Phillips head screws. Disconnecting the radial fan requires removing another internal Phillips head screw with a precision screwdriver, and then the heatsink comes off by removing four more Phillips head screws from the rear of the card. Of course, the baseplate itself isn't so kind: there are fourteen T6 Torx head screws on the rear of the card that must be removed, along with an additional three Phillips head screws attached to the I/O shield.

With the original cooling system removed, you'll need to clean the thermal paste off of the GPU die, and Arctic Cooling recommends using an eraser to gently remove any residue that may be on the RAM and VRM dies. After doing so you'll want to safely set aside the video card, as we now need to work on one of the two major parts of the Accelero Hybrid: the shroud. The plastic shroud has kind of a goofy shape and doesn't feel particularly sturdy, and I kind of wish Arctic Cooling had gone with a bit more staid and practical of a design. In the above photo, in the ring to the left of the 80mm fan are three circular rubber pads which have to be applied. These dampen vibration from the waterblock.

And above is the waterblock installed into the shroud. This is an involved process, unfortunately. The easy part is getting the waterblock into the shroud and wrapping the tubing around the plastic wedges inside. There are three channels for the tubes to go through; the orientation in the image is for the GTX 680, while other cards would shift both tubes down a channel. The waterblock is screwed into place, and then the tubes are held in place by metal washers mounted into the shroud.

The four clear spacers covering the mounting points of the waterblock have to have adhesive applied to their backs, and they're all roughly the size of a Grape Nut. This requires a ridiculous amount of precision, and I hope your hands are steadier than mine. Arctic Cooling could've done us all a huge solid by including these spacers pre-adhered like the rubber pads used to cushion the waterblock instead of making us remove tiny circles of double-sided adhesive. You also have to refer to their included table to see which spacers to use, as certain cards require 1.5mm spacers (like the GTX 680) while others require 4mm spacers. From there, you'll have to connect the power plug off of the waterblock to a header inside the shroud located just above the block.

Introducing the Arctic Cooling Accelero Hybrid Installation, Part 2
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  • EzioAs - Friday, December 28, 2012 - link

    I've seen this cooler being tested before on the HD7970, though I don't remember which site it was but they posted an almost equal result to what you just did. I remember that the temps were very low and noise is almost no concern either because it's so low even when they compared it to the MSI Twin Frozr card (I think it was the 7970 lightning). This review just backup their claim.

    Thanks for the nice review Dustin.
    Reply
  • Wwhat - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    An interesting remark since the arctic cooling site lists this as being compatible with the 78xx series and NOT with the 79xx series.
    So are you sure what you saw was about a 7970 and not a 78xx?
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    There's a separate 7970 version. Reply
  • JebbyC - Friday, December 28, 2012 - link

    How would a pair of these go in SLI? Could you fit them into two slots, possibly by removing part of the fan shroud? Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, December 28, 2012 - link

    Get a board with 2 slots in between the 16x slots, there are a lot of options. Reply
  • JacobCody - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)
    http://goo.gl/uvsGa
    Reply
  • Beenthere - Friday, December 28, 2012 - link

    Unless people have a real space limitation, I strongly recommend against using liquid cooling systems for a CPU/GPU unless your intent is to be a hobbyist playing with these cooling systems, which is pretty much impossible with a CLC. If that's the plan then buy a real H2O based open loop cooling system which can deliver better cooling than a highend HSF. They start at $175. and go up. They can be entertaining for a hobbyist even if not a good value. Test after tests has shown that CLCs do not cool as well as a highend HSF, they cost more than a highend HSF and they are noisier than a highend HSF.

    The worst problem however with CLCs is that they not only can leak and cause expensive PC hardware damage, lost data, RMA's, etc. the fact is they DO leak and cause the aforementioned problems. See the Corsair H2O web forums for real tales of horror. It's wise to educate yourself before getting duped into using an inferior CLC cooling system for your PC. If you still want to jump into the water, go right ahead, it's your dime, your time and your arse when the CLC leaks, is noisy or does a poor job of cooling.

    You've been warned so you have no excused for being duped by misleading CLC hype. Technically challenged folks who fail to do their homework often perceive CLCs to be superior because they use water to transport the heat to a radiator. Unfortunately CLCs are not superior in any way other than a smaller footprint if your PC case will not allow a quality highend HSF. If that's the situation you'd be smarter to buy a larger PC case, not a CLC.

    There are plenty of quality HSF reviews to scientifically document that CLCs are inferior in every metric that enthusiasts typically use to determine what CPU/GPU cooling system to purchase. Let the accurate, objective science be your guide not misleading claims. Always remember that CLCs can and do leak and damage PC hardware. HSFs do not leak water and they outperform CLCs.
    Reply
  • bigboxes - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    So, would this help downloading torrents from the internets? Reply
  • Mygaffer - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    You are such a sad sack. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Saturday, January 12, 2013 - link

    +1 Reply

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