Turbo Module - VGA Cooling Author: faceless105 -- Posted: 2007-08-22
Amongst all power users you'll find the common agreement that better cooling will give you better performance. One area in particular gets more attention then most and that area is VGA cooling. That is why today we will be following up our review of the Accelero S1 with the attachment fan modules as well as the thermal compound MX-2 by Arctic Cooling.
The Accelero S1 is a passive cooler. This means that it relies on the cooling already in your case to disperse the meat that it collects. As such it is massive. This allows it to disperse the heat as much as possible and it does this with four copper heat pipes and a load of heatsink fins. With the upgrade attachment you can attach fans to the previously passive Accelero S1.
I'll try not to talk as much about the Accelero as I've already reviewed it before, but with the larger size, this cooler does disperse heat much faster then your average passive cooler. Installing the fans is incredibly easy. All that you have to do is simply snap them into place with the heat sinks.
Since I last reviewed this, I've decided to move it to a new graphics card that I felt needed the extra cooling. Today we'll be placing it on an X1300. Like before the installation isn't very difficult. I've found the most time consuming part to be removing the stock cooling, but this did give me a chance to try out the new thermal compound :)
Just like the Accelero S1, the fans install very easily. They simply snap into place. From here you can route the wires however you please.
Time for the first hand experience. The cooler is large so you will have to dedicate a little time to rerouting wires around it. This isn't a big deal for most people as anyone who has a window in their case already knows how valuable wire management skills are :)
Now for the testing...
I thought of the three most common areas to test in. First is basic computing, just browsing the web, nothing out of the ordinary. Second would be watching DVDs. Finally the last test would be doing some gaming. I found that without the fans this cooler is nearly identical to the stock cooler in performance. I think this really shows the ability of a passive cooler to compete with a non-passive cooler. Once you add the fans you're able to start seeing some real differences. While the final tests did show only a three degree change from the stock cooling it is still a fair improvement.
With temperature every degree counts. This change is roughly 6 degrees difference in Fahrenheit and can be the difference of putting your temps above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So while it isn't a huge change it is definitely more then worth it.
Now for some focus on the fans themselves. I found these fans to be fairly impressive. They were nearly silent but still managed to push a good amount of air through the cooler. The only downside is the fact that they don't have a grill, which most VGA coolers don't actually. Now even though this was the only downside I saw to them, it wasn't a problem at all.
I also want to talk about the thermal compound. It wasn't focused on nearly as much as the cooler but it has a few cool specs that I want to share. One of the leaders in this area is Arctic Silver 5. Arctic Coolings'MX-2 out performs Arctic Silver 5 and it doesn't stop there. One of the really cool features it offers over Arctic Silver 5 is that it is non-conductive. I'm sure a lot of you are saying, "big deal!?" well when you apply your thermal compound your pretty literally applying it inside of a giant circuit board and any stray compound could become a potential problem. I've been working with computer long enough to see what can happen when connections are shorted. While it isn't always harmful it's produced some very creative results that are extremely hard to diagnose. So this single feature could save you a couple hours and give you better performance.
I'd like to thank Arctic Cooling for giving me the opportunity to continue review their products. I've been incredibly impressed by everything I've seen so far and I know I will continue to be impressed well into the future. I think this cooling feature would be most ideal for those of you with passive coolers because this would allow you to get the most improvement, but for anyone looking for any kind of improvement, this one is still for you. Additionally I strongly recommend checking out the MX-2 thermal compound for the next time you need to either change your VGA cooler or even your CPU cooler.
I'm up for any discussion you guys can throw at me so I'd love to hear all of your questions and comments on this.