Accelero X1 – Design & Installation
Arctic Cooling has been making video card and CPU coolers since its founding in 2001. It has always put silence first, but has never sacrificed performance. Until the Accelero coolers were released, Arctic Cooling designed coolers with a fan blowing across the heatsink, and then exhausting the hot air outside of the case. Both ATI Silencer models and NV Silencer models had the same basic design, just different mounting holes to accommodate different PCB (printed circuit board) designs. You can see an example of the NV Silencer 5 Rev2 used by ASUS for its 7800GTX TOP reviewed by us here
The Accelero models are a major change compared to the Silencer models. The major difference is that the Accelero coolers no longer exhaust air out of the case. Initially this may seem like a major step backward, heating up the case. However Arctic Cooling had a specific reason for doing this. The Accelero Coolers are designed to work with the BTX form factor. Although we may never see it in mainstream use, Arctic Cooling decided to future-proof its coolers.
Because the only differences between the Accelero X1 and X2 are the mounting holes, we will only display the X2 cooler, but when it comes time for installation, both coolers will be thoroughly covered.
The Accelero coolers come with the unit itself, screws and washers, thermal pads, and instructions.
A new feature of the Accelero units is the six (6) copper heatpipes that help move the heat away from the all-copper base and onto the numerous large aluminum fins. The cooler comes with pre-applied MX-1 thermal paste made by Arctic Cooling. At the top of the cooler is the 60mm fan used for previous versions of the Silencer coolers. The Accelero coolers also come with the power connector plug customized to its card. The X1’s power cable fits into the 6800, 7800 and 7900 series port right on the PCB. The X2’s power cord fits into the X1800 and X1900 series boards. That is the second of two differences between the Accelero coolers. Let’s get to the installation process.
Installation of the Accelero X1
We are going to test the Accelero X1 on the BFG 7900GTX. Although it isn’t NVIDIA’s hottest single card (that honor goes to the GeForce 7800 GTX, consuming 100Watts), it is NVIDIA’s newest, and has a gigantic and effective cooler. The 7900GTX’s cooler, borrowed from the Quadro 5500 (NVIDIA’s professional graphics line) is larger, with a larger fan and more fins. Therefore if the Accelero was to even tie the stock cooler, we would consider the Accelero a successful design.
The 7900GTX has nine (9) screws that hold the cooler to the GPU and board. The black ones are the outside screws, and the four silver ones are the inside screws, holding the core of the cooler affixed to the GPU. There is also a screw next to the DVI pots on the side of the board. Unscrew that first. Then carefully unscrew first the outside and then the inside screws on the back and pull the cooler away from the board. Unplug the power cable from the board as well.
The first picture has the cooler assembled, and the next has the cooler removed. Next, using rubbing alcohol (90% isopropyl) and Q-tips clean off the GPU core to look like this:
Next, remove the paper covers off of the thermal pads and place them over the RAM chips. This process is quite annoying as the thermal pads stick to your fingers, and doesn’t want to come off. Although this process should take about 30 seconds, it took well over 3 minutes to complete due to the poor design of the pads. Remove the covering on the cooler’s core that protects the layer of thermal paste and line up the cooler with the mounting holes. Place the Accelero X1 down the board and turn over the card carefully.
The screws included with the Accelero X1 have two different sizes, 6mm and 8mm. For the four inside screws, you will need to use the 6mm variant. Thread them through a washer and place each one in the opening. Then screw each one evenly in. Next, take the 8mm screws, thread them through a washer and repeat the previous step with the 5 outside points. Make sure you tighten all of screws until they don’t go any more without using excessive force.
Turn over the cooler and plug in the power cable right into the board. The two pin connection fits the 6800 series cards while the four pin power cable fits the 7800 series and 7900GTX cards. Once assembled, your result should be similar to ours.