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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  • nosaj999 - Thursday, January 3, 2013 - link

    Conveniently NewEgg has put this beasty on sale!
  • xcomvic - Thursday, January 3, 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • theNiZer - Saturday, December 7, 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!
  • 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.

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