Installation, Part 2

Congratulations! You've assembled the shroud on the Arctic Cooling Accelero Hybrid. You're halfway to a quieter, frostier graphics card. Now it's time to run the risk of somehow damaging or even frying your gaming hardware. It's time to install the heatsinks.

Arctic Cooling includes a thermal glue for applying the RAM and VRM heatsinks that is, make no mistake, a glue. That means that once you've gone down this road, there's no turning back for you and your card. Those heatsinks are there to stay, and if you want to go back to air cooling you'll probably have to buy an aftermarket cooler from Arctic. I initially tried to use thermal tape for this so that I wouldn't be locked in, but found that while it might have sufficed for testing, it wasn't going to be a long term solution. Figuring "in for a penny, in for a pound," I used the thermal glue. As far as I can tell, the glue Arctic Cooling includes is nonconductive, and it'd have to be, since it's so thick that it's difficult not to let a little strand here or there touch the PCB.

Arctic Cooling includes a wide variety of heatsinks for use with your card. The glue has a minimum one hour curing time, and a little dab will definitely do you. Once you've let the glue cure, though, it's good to go and definitely reliable. You'll want to cover the RAM and all the VRM circuitry, as VRMs can run ridiculously hot on high end video cards. There's also insulation tape included to make sure the heatsinks don't touch anything they're not supposed to and thus cause a short, but if you're careful you won't need it; I didn't.

Interestingly, putting the whole card together isn't actually as difficult as everything else is, just a little fiddly. There's a black foam pad you want to install behind the GPU die on the back of the card so the backplate doesn't come into contact with any circuitry. From there, Arctic Cooling suggests spreading the included MX-4 thermal paste onto the waterblock and pressing the combined block and shroud into place.

The fiddly part comes in when you have to line up the backplate with four spacers above the mounting holes in the PCB and then get the screws to go through the backplate, the spacers (which are not adhered to the PCB), the PCB, and into the waterblock. I found the easiest way to do this was to gingerly place the spacers on the back of the card, put the screws through the appropriate holes in the backplate, then carefully lower the backplate into the spacers, which you can then slide to push the screws through the PCB, and eventually line up with the waterblock. Screw everything in, and you're actually pretty close to done.

The power cable for the shroud connects easily enough to the PCB, and then there's a single molex lead that comes out of the shroud. This is going to wind up providing the additional power needed to drive the pump. Arctic Cooling also includes a PWM-driven 120mm fan that attaches to the radiator (the PWM lead actually connects to the shroud as well), and from there it's really up to you where you want to install it inside your case.

Of course, when you're done you think to yourself "oh, that wasn't so bad," but the reality is that Arctic probably could've done more to make this a much easier process. All of the spacers should've already come with adhesive attached to them, the insulation tape is finicky, and good-quality thermal tape or adhesive for the heatsinks would've been appreciated. The glue definitely does the trick and seems to transfer heat exceptionally well, but the permanence of it makes me antsy. I also feel like the shroud didn't need to be so unusually shaped; there's no card it's ever going to look good on, though the 80mm fan apparently does wonders for cooling the PCB components.

Installation, Part 1 Testing Methodology
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  • nosaj999 - Thursday, January 03, 2013 - link

    Conveniently NewEgg has put this beasty on sale!

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • xcomvic - Thursday, January 03, 2013 - link

    Get it while it's hot! Please update the article with new price at the end. This will definitely make it a stronger case for an award don't you think? Reply
  • qepsilonp - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - link

    I would consider buying it if it wasn't stuck on that GPU so I could maybe use it on my next GPU given that I personally couldn't justify the price. Reply
  • dllyncher - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    I just installed this cooler on my EVGA GTX 660ti Signature2 FTW and my temps are kind of confusing. Idle temps are around 24C which is the same as the stock cooler. The unusual part is that while running EVGA OC Scanner for 10 minutes, temps reach 45C versus 39C with the stock cooler. I know I have installed it properly as I've checked many times. If anyone is having the same problems please let me know so I know it's not just me. Reply
  • Maleorderbride - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    My Titan was only running at ~68% of TDP at 88F ambient (hot, I know) and this thing cooled the VRMs enough that I am now at 93.4% TDP at the same ambient.

    Installation was a needless trial, but put a movie on and take your time.
    Reply
  • theNiZer - Saturday, December 07, 2013 - link

    I really like this unit - much more than the now popular Kraken G10, because you can fit Accelero Hybrid in a mini itx case!

    And of course, being able to 'pump' the how gpu air out of the mini itx case is important to avoid gpu throttling and maximize efficiency.
    Combine this with coolermaster Elite 130, nice!
    Reply
  • editorsorgtfo - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    The best HSFs are spiffy coolers, but there are drawbacks to using the most efficient ones. The impressively-high-performing, dual-tower/dual-fan Noctua NH-D15 exemplifies them: first, it stands quite tall, at 16.5 cm, and can present a space problem in less than capacious cases. It is wide, and can preclude the use of RAM with any but the most modest heat spreaders, since memory stick height is limited to 32 mm. It is also massive, weighing in at 1.32 kilos -- almost 3 pounds! -- and has a high center of gravity, due to its stature. The effect of that much leverage on a vertically-mounted motherboard, if jostled, can easily be total destruction, with the processor, socket and rear mount being ripped right out! Even the static torque of the NH-D15, over time, could lead to mobo failure, which may not be covered by warranty.

    None of those issues exist where using a CLC, even one with integrated waterblock and pump: Silverstone's brazed, screwless waterblock eliminates a major point of leakage; Antec's Kühler further reduces obtrusiveness and physical stress on the motherboard by moving the pump(s) off-block to the fan axles.

    Rig damage by cooler sux, whether it's the result of fluid leakage from an AIO or excessive weight of a HSF pulling a board apart. Maybe a bungee counterbalancing a massive HSF would quietly help alleviate gravitational torqueing of the motherboard; if you install a CLC, inspect it often for signs of loss of seal integrity and leakage. "To be forewarned is to be forearmed."

    Each type of cooling systen has its strong points, yet comes up short in others. Given a bit more development time, CLCs will become more refined, and their problems largely ironed out.
    Reply

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