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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  • boyang1724 - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    This is quite pathetic actually. Just get an Antec 620/ Corsair H60 cooler and a bracket from dwood for any high end gpu. Also comes with a fan mount, and only costs around $70-80 total. Brought my GTX 670 down from 80C+ max to 55C, and idle from 38C to 25C. It's a much better deal than this thing.
  • SodaAnt - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    I'll second this. You get just as much performance for only around $60 (in my case). Plus it actually seems easier to install than this thing.
  • BrightCandle - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    A custom water loop specified at 10C delta can produce temperatures around +20C delta at peak load. So these figures are certainly pretty decent comparatively. This goes a long way towards custom loop performance for less cost. Its about the same amount of pain in terms of modifying the GPU for watercooling however, just without the pain of cutting the tubing, fitting larger radiators and other water cooling pain.

    Your methodology doesn't mention your soak time for the water loop. Due to the heat capacity of water you do need to run at peak load for 30 minutes. So it might not be quite as impressive as it first appears.
  • mayankleoboy1 - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    "Your methodology doesn't mention your soak time for the water loop. Due to the heat capacity of water you do need to run at peak load for 30 minutes. So it might not be quite as impressive as it first appears. "


    Unless you allow the water temperature to stabilise for some time (1 hour ?) , these results are erroneous.
  • Death666Angel - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    I get ~20K delta between ambient and GPU with my WC rig (4x120mm radiator mounted to the side of the case). It cost me 382.52€, 117.74€ for monitoring and control equipment and 51.56€ for the 4 fans, the rest for the WC stuff (pump, connectors, radiator, tubes...). But I also cool my CPU (which achieved 500MHz higher OC compared to my air cooler (Noctua NH-C12P)) and the system is not audible for me. The GPU was bought used with the WC mounted already and cost as much a new retail, so I got the cooler for free. I can use this equipment for the next CPU, mainboard, GPU upgrade. I can reinstall the stock air cooler on the GPU easily. I can add other components to the loop.
    I just don't see how these CLCs are seen as competing with custom WC rigs. Yes, they are a bit more expensive, but they also deliver many more options. CLC for CPUs does at least offer a few extra things (better clearance around the socket, extra fan controls...) but I doubt this offers that much more compared to after market GPU air coolers.
  • ziv_ew - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    how dose it compare to the eVGA 680 Hydro Cooper?
  • IanCutress - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    Makes me think of the total cost of a pair of MSI Lightnings or ASUS CUII TOPs with these coolers. In simulations the GPU gets hammered extensively over days, and the cooler the whole system the better.
  • dannoddd - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    I'd really like to see this put up against one of the DWOOD systems, where you take your choice of ALC mixed with his $8 bracket and put it on any card. I've been concerned about doing it due to the lack of VRM/RAM heatsinks. I think it'd be great if you could grab one of those and bench it against this setup and compare the difficulty of installation.

    Great article Dustin, love your work.
  • DanNeely - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    As fiddly as this is I suspect that if you've got a supported card a custom loop and a full cover heatsink would be less work to assemble than gluing all the individual ram/vrm sinks in place. Unfortunately they still don't have nVidia 6xx parts available yet.
  • Shiitaki - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    Rather ironic, I had commented in the last water cooling article that the gpu is the one that needs water cooling, not so much the cpu. Why is the radiator mounted to the video card? That's the only reason it's so expensive, and it's silly given how many fan mounts come in cases these days.

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