Introducing the Arctic Cooling Accelero Hybrid

Traditionally in the desktop space, the next step after high quality air cooling has been high quality liquid cooling, usually centered around custom designed cooling loops that cost a pretty penny in equipment. The industry has met this desire halfway by producing closed loop liquid coolers for the CPU not unlike the ones we tested recently, but interestingly the real power monster in most enthusiast desktops has needed to be served by reference coolers and sometimes exotic custom solutions offered by partners. Any type of liquid cooling has continued to be the province of the more extreme enthusiast.

Arctic Cooling changes some of that today with the Accelero Hybrid. Aftermarket VGA coolers aren't totally uncommon, but generally they're harder to build and market due to the more specific needs of cooling a graphics card. You have to cool the GPU, the video memory, and the voltage regulation, and the layouts of these parts varies from vendor to vendor and card to card. The Accelero Hybrid includes a 120mm radiator courtesy of Asetek, a cooling shroud for board components, and enough tiny parts to choke all but the heartiest of housecats. At $169, it also costs a pretty penny. Is it worth the effort, the money, and the risk?

I'll make an admission: I've been putting off reviewing the Accelero Hybrid for a little while. I'm not new to replacing the cooler on a graphics card, but the Hybrid is something much more involved. A visit to NewEgg or even to other sites that have reviews of it will tell you it's pretty difficult to actually install, and the idea of possibly bricking my GeForce GTX 680 wasn't a particularly pleasant one. At the same time, the promises Arctic Cooling make of the Accelero Hybrid's performance border on outlandish and even more interesting, judging from other reviews, the Hybrid seems to live up to those promises.


Source: Arctic Cooling

While it's reasonable to expect the Accelero Hybrid to produce excellent performance, it's also easy to be skeptical. The RAM and VRM cooling is no doubt totally serviceable, but I've seen this particular Asetek radiator have a hard time keeping an overclocked Intel Core i7-2700K running under 70C. How am I supposed to believe it'll handle a potentially overclocked GPU pushing 200W or more and do so under 60C or even 50C? The only way to find out for sure is to test it.

Installation, Part 1
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  • DanNeely - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    They didn't. You did by not reading much of the article before snarking. Look at the second picture on page 2 of the article. The radiator is detached and can go in any standard 120mm fan mount; the shroud attached to the card is to direct air onto the heatsinks covering the ram and VRM chips. Reply
  • funguseater - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    Absolute garbage.

    Been using a $49 Antec Kuhler 620 on my GTX480's overclocked to 850MHz core and they NEVER break 73 degrees. Bought a $8 custom fan bracket for mine but first just used zip-ties, and this is a GTX480 the Hottest girl on the block. This thing is so overpriced it is ridiculous. Wish I had access to an accelero to compare system cooling results but the cheapo kuhler 620 will fit any GPU cooling need.
    Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    I wish GPU vendors offer more GPUs with waterblocks on them pre-built. Sometimes one or two vendors offer them but usually at a premium more expensive than buying a VGA card with standard cooler and the waterblock separately, which doesn't make much sense given the GPU doesn't need a standard cooler and sink anymore.

    I hate GPU fan noise and I hate thorttling, although I don't OC much I found watercooling is worth it. However last time I was careless with the VRM cooling on the HD6950, the VRM size is so small and hard to cool without specially made waterblock. I went DIY route and got the card burnt out, $400 down the drain for me lol
    Reply
  • funguseater - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    Yeah, thats why when I use a sealed CPU unit like the H70 or Kuhler 620 I just leave the stock blower fan and heatsink on, you can just leave the fan at a solid 40% and never hear it, and it cools your VRM just as well as stock. The CPU cooler just bolts ontop of the card all you do is remove the "heatpipe section" and replace with the sealed cooler, whamo 30degree drop under load. YMMV, laser cut steel adapters with fan mounts can be found online if you don't use a reference model GPU. Reply
  • CaedenV - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    I put an AC cooler on my old 9800GT back in the day. It went from sounding like a vacuum cleaner with the stock cooler, to dead silent with a passive radiator, while keeping the load temp 15*c cooler. It was unbelievable.

    Only problem was that they used cheap thermal tape to keep the ram heat-sinks attached, and every once in a while one would fall off, causing really annoying problems until I would reattach it. A few months later another would fall off, etc etc, and it was that way until I finally upgraded. But other than that it was perfect.
    Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    At that price it's not worth it. Especially when you add a h100 your looking at $300. You could build a custom loop for the price of just the article cooler. Add that it's not a simple bolt on like the CPU version and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It actually just looks like they took the CPU version and strapped it into a plastic gpu case. I think they need to go back to the drawing boards and design the gpu cooler from the ground up. Not just slap the CPU cooler on a gpu. Reply
  • TekDemon - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    Buying one of these is rather pointless unless you're going to overvolt the GPU...
    So...anandtech...where's my sweet overvolted charts? =p
    Reply
  • mi1stormilst - Wednesday, January 02, 2013 - link

    get a higher end card than the one you planned on getting and avoid all this headache from the get go ;-P Reply
  • woogitboogity - Wednesday, January 02, 2013 - link

    "Not for the faint of heart" kind of says it all. I was burned BAD by liquid cooling 4 years ago and to be fair I did bring it on myself given the circumstances. Back then there were a few companies exploring a middle ground beyond the "old car radiator" DIY types with actual purpose built components that were supposed to fit together based on pre-existing on water hoses used in labs. Still despite how much it cost me in the end, I will not deny that having my North Bridge, CPU and Graphics Hardware running a few degrees over ambient at full load was downright intoxicating for as long as it ran. It then made a mockery of what I thought was a reasonably watertight seal. The fact that what they sell now are all closed loop cycles with pump and heat sink already integral parts out of the box is absolutely no surprise to me and I expect it to stay that way for good reason. Also, when you start doing funny stuff with memory heat sinks you sometimes have to add clear paste to protect the contacts on the board from weird impedance changing effects from the thermal conductive paste and the copper block itself. I wonder whether this was also a factor as well in bricking half the hardware I had installed on my ill-fated PC.

    If you have money to burn, or to be more accurate, money to replace what is burned out, then go for it. But make no mistake that you are as off-warranty as off-warranty gets. I know the product offerings are safer and have come a long way but newer electronics that are 10 times as fast can be a 1000 times more delicate. For myself, I work with fairly advanced electronics in high energy physics, so I do not say it lightly that I will not touch the innards on anything from a nice Workstation/Desktop. Not unless it is already broken, for the purposes of seeing if I can fix it to beef up a machine I don't care that much about.

    Nice article though, despite the difficult memories it brought up of finding a water puddle in my case. :-)
    Reply
  • stoatwblr - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Moisture detectors are fairly readily available and can be rigged to cut the power.

    (contaminated) Water on unenergised circuitry is fairly benign. Just wash it off.
    Reply

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