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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  • EzioAs - Friday, December 28, 2012 - link

    I've seen this cooler being tested before on the HD7970, though I don't remember which site it was but they posted an almost equal result to what you just did. I remember that the temps were very low and noise is almost no concern either because it's so low even when they compared it to the MSI Twin Frozr card (I think it was the 7970 lightning). This review just backup their claim.

    Thanks for the nice review Dustin.
  • Wwhat - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    An interesting remark since the arctic cooling site lists this as being compatible with the 78xx series and NOT with the 79xx series.
    So are you sure what you saw was about a 7970 and not a 78xx?
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    There's a separate 7970 version.
  • JebbyC - Friday, December 28, 2012 - link

    How would a pair of these go in SLI? Could you fit them into two slots, possibly by removing part of the fan shroud?
  • Flunk - Friday, December 28, 2012 - link

    Get a board with 2 slots in between the 16x slots, there are a lot of options.
  • JacobCody - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)
  • Beenthere - Friday, December 28, 2012 - link

    Unless people have a real space limitation, I strongly recommend against using liquid cooling systems for a CPU/GPU unless your intent is to be a hobbyist playing with these cooling systems, which is pretty much impossible with a CLC. If that's the plan then buy a real H2O based open loop cooling system which can deliver better cooling than a highend HSF. They start at $175. and go up. They can be entertaining for a hobbyist even if not a good value. Test after tests has shown that CLCs do not cool as well as a highend HSF, they cost more than a highend HSF and they are noisier than a highend HSF.

    The worst problem however with CLCs is that they not only can leak and cause expensive PC hardware damage, lost data, RMA's, etc. the fact is they DO leak and cause the aforementioned problems. See the Corsair H2O web forums for real tales of horror. It's wise to educate yourself before getting duped into using an inferior CLC cooling system for your PC. If you still want to jump into the water, go right ahead, it's your dime, your time and your arse when the CLC leaks, is noisy or does a poor job of cooling.

    You've been warned so you have no excused for being duped by misleading CLC hype. Technically challenged folks who fail to do their homework often perceive CLCs to be superior because they use water to transport the heat to a radiator. Unfortunately CLCs are not superior in any way other than a smaller footprint if your PC case will not allow a quality highend HSF. If that's the situation you'd be smarter to buy a larger PC case, not a CLC.

    There are plenty of quality HSF reviews to scientifically document that CLCs are inferior in every metric that enthusiasts typically use to determine what CPU/GPU cooling system to purchase. Let the accurate, objective science be your guide not misleading claims. Always remember that CLCs can and do leak and damage PC hardware. HSFs do not leak water and they outperform CLCs.
  • bigboxes - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    So, would this help downloading torrents from the internets?
  • Mygaffer - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    You are such a sad sack.
  • Notmyusualid - Saturday, January 12, 2013 - link


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