Personally, I haven't looked much into purchasing aftermarket cooling for any of my graphics cards I currently run. This is mainly due to the fact that I own GTX 280's and their very complex cooling system. However, on my spare 9800GTX+, cooling of the RAM and power management chips aren't so important, as they don't get very warm, even when left exposed to open air. Keeping the core at a lower temperature for F@H does help to keep the overall temperature of my room down, because we all know NVIDIA cards tend to run a fair bit warmer than their ATI counterparts.
Most of the cooler submissions I have received lately are better than stock temperatures, but some require $80 to be spent for a lot of flash and very little gain. Seeing such things, I had sort of lost hope for the GPU air cooling segment, and assume manufacturers were throwing in the towel and allowing end users to just go to water cooling as the way to combat, sometimes well over 80 degree temperatures, like when my GTX 280's are Folding. There is a bit more involved with water cooling, but when an air cooler asks the same price as some full coverage water blocks, it really makes you ponder the idea of going to water to solve heat issues.
Today we are looking at a submission from Arctic Cooling, the Accelero Twin Turbo Pro. By now I would assume most of you have seen the numbers produced by the Accelero line up of products. Up to now, every time I see a post in a forum about one, members are very pleased with their results and the fact that they don't have to beg, borrow, or steal the money to afford the cooler in the first place. There is already a Twin Turbo as well, but Arctic Cooling is attempting to improve on an already good cooler, in attempts to produce a great cooler.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Arctic Cooling Twin Turbo Pro (A/C TTP for short) is a slightly larger version of the Twin Turbo they have already released. This time not only do they step up from 80mm fans to 92mm fans, but the overall size of the 30 aluminum fins is greater, too. With more fin surface area in play, the decision to increase the fan size is obvious, but in doing so Arctic Cooling also raised the CFM from 40 to 54 which should go a long way towards cooling the fins sufficiently.
At 446 grams the TTP is a bit weighty, but not so much that it wants to bend the card or try to pull it out of the PCI-e slot. Just like its predecessor, the TTP also is designed to cope with 120 watt heat loads, and with the fluid dynamic bearings and a special design of the fan blades, Arctic Cooling also attempts to give you a great performing cooler with little to no noise added to the system.
As of this moment the Accelero Twin Turbo Pro is not on shelves, but expect it to make its debut shortly. Via some correspondence with Arctic Cooling, I was able to find out that the MSRP of this is 34,90 Euro or $49.90 USD. As I already mentioned, some of the coolers I have tested make you shell out up to and over $80 for minimal performance gains, so this sub $50 asking price already has me interested in what it can accomplish. Let's have a close look at the Accelero TTP, do some testing, and see what Arctic Cooling brings to the table.
Arctic Cooling ships the Accelero TTP is a minimalistic, clear plastic, snap together package. This gives a buyer a great look at the product, and you know exactly what you are getting without having to open things up first. The revision of the Twin Turbo gets some new compatibility as well.
On the reverse side is where most of the valuable information can be found. There is a list of the main features, a chart from some in-house results on a HD4850. To the right there are the specifications and a parts checklist.
Sorry, but the nail file was all I could find to open the packaging. I wanted to be sure to show the vast list of compatibility. This is a known compatibility list; you may or may not have success on other cards. It isn't so much the mounting holes position, as much as it is where the core is located on the PCB.
The bottom of the packaging holds three features lists in languages that are spoken widely in Arctic Cooling's European market.
The Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro GPU Cooler
The Accelero TTP uses a full coverage shroud like many others from AC. This time the shroud housed two, eleven bladed, 92mm fans to remove the head from the thirty fins underneath.
The TTP uses pretty short fins (top to bottom) that proved both a lower profile to the card, but also a fair bit of clearance to the heat sinks and capacitors on the PCB. The fins are pressed on to the four copper heat pipes, and each fin is stamped with the Accelero Twin Turbo Pro logo.
Spinning the TTP around to get a look at the heat pipes, shows AC makes some very gentle bends in the pipes to get them turned around and back into the fins. This keeps the pipes from kinking, and lower performance.
The power plug could be seen in the last few images, but I wanted to get close up and show this in more detail. AC has wired the fans to run off of one connection, or in this case the possibility of either a 3-pin fan header or a 4-pin header that can go directly back into the graphics cards fan power header to allow the bios to control the fan speeds. There is an adapter included to regulate the 3-pin connection if the need is there for it.
Looking a bit closer at the TTP, I wanted to take the fan shroud off to get a look at the cooling fins, but I found my plans were thwarted. It seemed simple at first, I thought all I had to do was unclip this tab and the one on the opposing end, but....
Under closer examination, when the fan wouldn't let loose, I found that there are two screws (hard to see, third and tenth gap from the left of the aluminum section of the base) running from the base that are accessed under the center sticker on the shroud. Rather than destroy the sticker at this point in the review, I left the cooler intact.
Under the Accelero, we have a copper base that is soldered to the heat pipes. Surrounding the base ia an adjustable, aluminum plate that has holes already in place for 53mm and 43mm spacing found on most graphics cards. I mentioned earlier that the location of the core on the PCB being important. Not so much of an issue here, and this cooler offers 5mm of adjustment, so the mounting holes can be moved a bit for better compatibility.
Arctic Cooling covers the base in a pre-applied layer of MX-2, and after the testing was done I took a better look at the base when I was cleaning up the TIM. The base is flat against a razor, but isn't exactly smooth. The Aluminum mounting ring has 3M adhesive on the mounting holes. This is to aid in the installation process to hold some spacers in place why you assemble the cooler to the card.
Accessories and Documentation
The TTP is cradled in this bottom tray. All around the base, parts are snapped into this tray for secure travel inside of the small packaging.
Removing all the pieces, you can see Arctic Cooling includes a nice assortment of heat sinks for the memory, PWM, and Mosfets. They also include two vented expansion slot covers to replace yours inside the case to allow this cooler to actually let air blow out the rear of the chassis. In the middle it the 4-pin Molex adapter that allows you to plug in the 3-pin wire from the shroud, and set the fans to either 7 volts or 12 volts of input power.
Underneath the tray there is a baggie of goodies, and a cardboard template. The bag contains four Phillip's head screws, four black spacers, four red washers, and an AC case badge.
The front of the instructions contains a checklist of the parts needed to assemble the cooler. As you keep going reading down, it explains the use of the template, and how the RAM sinks should be applied.
The flip side of the paperwork explains the rest of the installation and how to adjust the mounting ring, if needed. Don't forget the last step, be sure to get that fan plugged in to either the cards PCB or the Molex adapter.
Installation and Finished Product
Same torture victim as my last run.
Once the stock cooler is removed and the IC's and chips all cleaned, the rubbed with an eraser, I think I am ready to assemble the TTP. I have started by laying the template in place that will guide installation of the long RAM sink.
The tab at the top of the template is made to represent where the heat pipes will pass through this heat sink. So installing it with the location of those in mind now should help save some anguish down the line.
Here she is all done up and ready to install the cooling half, I really don't need to apply heat sinks to the right end of the card, as temperatures of my power management are very acceptable even passive. Hey, if they supply them, why not use them!
I will tell you this, getting the cooler in place turned out to be more of a chore than I expected. The 3M tape held the spacers in place nicely, and getting the holes to line up wasn't tough either. The issue I had was with the long RAM sink. Even after using the template, I found the heat pipes would still knock the sink off every time I tried to install the cooler. I tried five separate times before I finally gave up. I think one less fin on either side of the middle section would allow me to have fit the cooler much easier.
From the side you can tell there is plenty of room to clear the top of the RAM sinks and the cooler clears all the capacitors and other vital components of the card.
Looking at it from the end you will see through your case window, you can see I went ahead and did the testing without the long RAM sink in place. Once again, as with the power management, my memory chips don't get hot under testing, so the RAM sink won't make any difference on my card of choice. I would have liked it to stay in place, but let's continue on and see what she can do without it.
Like I said, the 4-pin connection on the wiring will allow you to plug the TTP right into a fully controllable 4-pin header on your card. For the sake of testing I will run the card this way and with both ends of the adapter supplied with this cooler.
One thing Arctic Cooling overlooked in the design was allowing room for the optical cabling on the 9800GTX+. This little cable takes the green LED light from the PCB and allows users to see it in the back. A little bit of work with a small set of needle nosed pliers took care of this issue in about two minutes time.
Orienting the card and cooler so it will show as you will see it during use, I wanted to cover two points. The first point is the limited flex of the PCB. I have had some coolers lately that flexed my PCB into a taco-like shape, and that scares me a bit. Not with the Twin Turbo Pro. This PCB is flat and true. The second thing I wanted to cover is that the cooler once installed will take up three full slots, so be sure ahead of time you have plenty of room to sound cards or the other GPU in your rig.
Testing and Results
So we all know what we are dealing with, here is a GPU-Z screen shot of my BIOS modded 9800GTX+. Plenty of clock to give these coolers a workout.
The test I chose to torture the coolers was Ozone3D's Furmark. Testing was run in stability mode for twenty minutes with all of the coolers tested. At this point I just click go and wait for the results.
After doing a few "burn in" runs, I allowed the cooler to rest a bit, then turned up the torture level and attained my results. These results show a 42 degree idle and 60 degree maximum temperatures, and this is with the stock GTS 250 BIOS controlling the fans speed. Pretty impressive for BIOS level fan control!
This image shows a 45 degree idle and a 61 degree maximum temperature, and this test was run by attaching the 3-pin connection of the fans to the 7 volt side of the 4-pin Molex adapter. Pretty impressive again!
The best results by far, and even to date on my 9800GTX+, is with the 3-pin connection moved over to the 12 Volt header of the adapter. 42 degrees at idle and a maximum of 55 degrees at load is very impressive indeed!
Now, with the chart right in front of you, let's do some basic math. The Accelero Twin Turbo Pro cooler makes for a huge 23 degree drop in load temperatures over the stock cooler, and even shows a 3 degree drop over the Zerotherm with only 7 Volts going to the fans of the TTP. Let me just say, I am a fair bit more than impressed at this point. With all this drop in temperatures there is the added benefit of the fact that during testing I wasn't able to hear this cooler over the PSU or CPU fan when everything was running, even at 12 Volts settings.
I am excited to see such performance out of any GPU cooler, and I will, hands down, recommend the Accelero Twin Turbo Pro to anyone looking to cool a compatible card. This cooler is simply amazing! To go through a few others first and see what is on the market, and at a fair bit larger price tag, The TTP handles its business, no questions asked. Honestly, this cooler makes me want to take my 9800GTX+ out of retirement and possibly volt mod the core voltage for giggles, Arctic Cooling handed me an air cooling solution that I feel is ready for even that sort of heat load. With an impressive 23 degree drop in temperatures over my stock cooler, it leaves me plenty of headroom to add quite an overclock to the card and still keep very reasonable temperatures in the process.
I was a little disappointed in the long RAM sink issue, but it doesn't affect the performance of my specific card. Since my GPU of choice is in fact on the compatibility list, I would have assumed everything would go together with no issues. Once I gave up on using the sink at all, I ran into the cable issue, but again I was able to work around things a bit and make things work in my favor. Even with these two setbacks in my build, I have to say all the trouble was well worth the frustration I endured in the assembly process. With temperatures like these, I think I could have withstood some other issues in hindsight as well.
Let me finish with the obvious. Out of my tested coolers, the only reason in my opinion not to get the Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro would be if your card is not compatible. Why on earth would you not want a 20+ degree drop in temperatures if you are in the hunt for an aftermarket GPU cooling solution? Well I have to say it isn't the price holding you back! A great cooler for less than $50 is hard to come by these days, and Arctic Cooling steps up again to offer us just such a product. Even though they haven't hit shelves at this point, I think there will be a lot of interest in this cooler once it does, With a MSRP of $49.90 here in the States, I have to say, keep your eyes peeled closely to Newegg or your favorite e-tailer for one, as this cooler is truly outstanding.