Review: Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 on 8800GT (dialup beware!)

NoxTek

The Geek Redneck
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
9,299
Arctic Cooling has been around for a few years now and are well known for providing some stellar GPU and CPU cooling solutions at very reasonable prices. The company hit it big with the enthusiast community a few years ago with the introduction of their NV Silencer line of GPU coolers. Have they got another winner on their hands with the Arctic Cooling Accelero S1?

Oh come on... you already know the answer to that! You can hardly visit any of the enthusiast site's GPU forums without being assaulted by hundreds of posts praising this badboy. But I had to see for myself, you know?


So I ordered my Accelero S1 from Newegg on December 31st, paid for overnight shipping, and it STILL didn't arrive until Monday the 7th of January. Schmucks! Enough talk, let's make with the eye candy!


(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)




The Accelero S1 comes packed in your basic 'blister' type packaging. It's not too bad and thankfully the edges aren't sealed so no scissors are needed, it's easy to open. I would have preferred a box with shaped foam similar to how my Tuniq Tower was packaged - this would prevent the fins from getting all dented and mangled in shipping and handling. A minor complaint really.

The Accelero S1 comes with everything you would need to mount it to a variety of ATI and NVIDIA cards. Arctic Cooling claims compatibility with the following cards:

ATI Radeon: HD 3870, 3850, X1950, X1900, X1800 series
nVIDIA GeForce: 8800GTS(G92), 8800GT, 7950, 7900, 7800, 6800 series (except 7X00 GS AGP)

The Accelero S1 comes with 8 ramsinks which fit the BGA memory modules used on every current video card out there, and these ramsinks have peel-and-stick thermal adhesive pre-applied. Also included are VREG heatsinks to cool the voltage regulators on certain cards. A solution to cool the voltage regulators on 8800GT cards isn't provided and Arctic Cooling claims that the 8800GT does not need one.

Also included is a vented PCI slot cover - Arctic Cooling recommends you install this in the slot below your video card and create a negative pressure in your case so that cool air is drawn in through this vented slot cover and passes through the fins of the Accelero S1, thereby providing a means of moving the heat away.



Let's move onto the patient!


(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)




Oooh yeah! She's smoooooth.... She's seeeexxxy! Bom Chicka Wow Wow! But let's strip her anyway and see what's underneath that dress. :D



(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

(Here you see I'm halfway done removing the heatsink retention screws for the original NVIDIA reference cooler)



(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

OMG she's.... NAKED!!!


(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

Sloppy ass job of applying thermal compound.... god it's EVERYWHERE, even on the shim around the GPU substrate itself!

(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

Oh well that explains it.... bt they could have used a contact patch half that size. What a waste... *sigh*

(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

Here are the nasty hairy thermal pads used on the memory. These are GREASY and leave little white threads everywhere. :mad:

(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

See? That BGA memory module is covered in greasy crap and even has some of the white 'hairs' from the thermal pads stuck to it.​

OK a little rant here: You people complaining about your ramsinks not sticking need to make SURE you've cleaned your ram modules properly before you apply them! Rubbing alcohol alone will not work no matter how many times you scrub them. Those white thermal pads are so greasy and gunky and the memory modules substrate is so POUROUS that you have to use more brutal chemical warfare. You need to use one of the following methods:

1. Use the 2-part cleaning kit from Arctic Silver. Use a cotton swab or coffee filter soaked in Part 1 to clean each chip once, then once again, and then a third time. Then use a cotton swab or coffee filter soaked in Part 2 (Thermal surface purifier) to clean each chip once, then again, and then a third time.

2. Same as step one but use 'Goof OFF' (NOT GOO-GONE!) in place of Part 1, and use alcohol in place of Part 2.

Now back to the show:


(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

Mmmmm... SEXY! All clean and ready to be violated! Oh the humanity!

(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)



(Gratuitous naked GPU and VREG shots :D)

(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

Here is the thermal tape used on the ramsinks included with the Accelero S1. I've seen better but in truth it bears a striking resemblence to the original 3M 'FragTape' and if you've cleaned your BGA modules PROPERLY they WILL stick. Remember when applying these to your memory modules - apply firm and even pressure for 30 seconds or so before gently releasing.


(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

Ramsinks installed!
Note to self: No more caffene before these projects!

(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

I wanted to cool my voltage regulation chips as much as possible despite Arctic Cooling claiming that the 8800GT doesn't need any VREG cooling, so I found some extra ramsinks in a drawer and applied them as best I could.

(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

Bom Chicka Wow Wow!

Now let's get the Accelero S1 itself installed!

(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

As you can see the cooler comes with thermal compound already applied, and I'm told that it's Arctic Cooling's own MX-1 thermal paste which is supposed to be every bit as good as (and maybe superior to) Arctic Silver 5, so I'm going to leave it there.

(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

Holes all lined up and ready for.... screwing? :eek: :D

(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

Here are the screws and washers included in the kit, these screws go through the back of the card and into the Accelero S1.

(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)


Trying to attach the stupud plastic clips that come with the Accelero S1

The Accelero S1 came with a clipping mechanism meant to provide greater stability to the cooler and card when the cooler is installed. This clipping mechanism consists of 2 sets of clips; one L-shaped that grabs onto the top edge of the card and one T-shaped that you are supposed to push through the fins of the Accelero and clip onto the L-shaped clip while it's attached to the top edge of the card. THESE THINGS ARE WORTHLESS. I tried for 20 minutes to get these to work properly and ended up breaking one of them. I suggest throwing them in the nearest garbage bin. The Accelero S1 is so light that without the clips the whole unit is quite stable anyway.



(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)



All bolted down nice and tight!


(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)


Very nice! Definitely sexy looking!
 

NoxTek

The Geek Redneck
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
9,299
I love eye candy, don't you? But now let's get into testing this bad mamma jamma!


As you can see from the pictures above my card is an Asus EN8800GT. This card was purchased from Newegg the very same DAY that the 8800GT was released. And because this was a release-day card it has the original 'nuclear meltdown while I screech like a dustbuster' NVIDIA reference cooler. It also came with the original NVIDIA reference BIOS. Thie original NVIDIA reference BIOSes had a cooling profile for the integrated fan controller that had the cooling fan running at 29% until the GPU core temperature reached a blistering 80 degrees celsius. It's not uncommon to see these original cards with the original BIOS hit 90+ degrees celsius under load. :eek: Nvidia later released a set of new BIOSes with an updated fan profile that allowed the fan to spin up sooner, and they also revised the reference cooler on new cards with a bigger fan. That last part kind if sucked for us folks who bought our cards on day one, eh?

Testbed cooling configuration:

Antec SOLO Case
2x92mm Scythe front fans
1x120mm Antec TriCool fan at the rear (on highest speed setting)
Corsair VX450 has a 120mm fan in it, but it spins so slow I doubt it provides any appreciable cooling value other than keeping itself cool, which is what it's meant to do.

All tests are performed with the side panel closed.



So before I took the stock cooler off I ran the following tests.


Original NVIDIA shipping BIOS - stock clocks (600/1500/900)
stockbios_loadtemps.png

GPU temp is 90 degrees celsius, card temperature is 71 degrees celsius!
(Temps taken after 15 minutes running ATITool Artifact Scan)

As you can see above the GPU core temperature with the stock BIOS is a blistering 90 degrees celsius! And that's after only 15 minutes of high load. Scary thought, eh? At idle the GPU temperature was 55 degrees celsius while the card temperature was 44 degrees celsius.




So then I flashed my card with the newer NVIDIA reference BIOS which has an updated cooling profile. This updated cooling profile basically causes the fan to start ramping up in speed when the GPU temperature reaches 65 degrees celsius, thereby keeping the GPU cooler than before. (the original BIOS kept the fan at 29% until the GPU reached 80 degrees - yes EIGHTY)


NVIDIA BIOS with 'enhanced' cooling profile
newbios_loadtemps.png

GPU temp is 80 degrees celsius, card temperature is 64 degrees celsius!
(Temps taken after 15 minutes running ATITool Artifact Scan)

Well that's definitely an improvement over the original BIOS, the updated cooling profile keeps the GPU core about 10 degrees cooler under high loads versus the original BIOS. Idle temps were the same as with the original shipping BIOS; 55C GPU and 44C card.




So now that I've got the Accelero S1 installed it's come to the moment of truth. :eek: Is the Accelero S1 the wonder cooler that everyone claims it is? Will it tame the nuclear reactor that powers the 8800GT? :D


Firstly let's run the Accelero S1 without a fan, using the 'negative pressure' cooling method that Arctic Cooling recommends. Basically you need to have more exhaust fan power than intake fan power thereby creating negative pressure in your case. This negative pressure causes cool air to be pulled into your case through the vented PCI slot cover that the Accelero S1 comes with. Supposedly if setup properly you can run the Accelero S1 completely passively and still get stellar performance.

accelero_diagram.png

"The fins design optimize for air ventilation that enhance cooling performance:"
(I think that's Engrish for "The fins make it cooler, yo!")


So that's how we will run the Accelero S1 first. My case seems to be already setup naturally with a negative pressure environment inside, especially with the rear Antec TriCool fan set to it's highest speed.


(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

Look Ma! No FAN!


Stock 8800GT speeds (600/1500/900)
accelero_nofan_loadtemps.png

GPU temp is 49 degrees celsius, card temperature is 40 degrees celsius!
(Temps taken after 15 minutes running ATITool Artifact Scan)

WHOAH.... no freakin' way! 49C GPU load temp? That's a 41 degree DROP over the original shipping BIOS and a 31 degree drop over NVIDIA's 'enhanced fan' BIOS. That's quite simply AMAZING as far as I'm concerned. Oh and idle temps? GPU = 38C, Card = 32C


So now let's throw in some overclocking. I know from past experience that this card will do 710/1720/1000 clocks so that's where I'm jumping to for this next test. Again NO FAN was used on the Accelero, keep in mind were using the 'negative pressure' passive cooling method that Arctic Cooling recommends.


Overclocked 8800GT: 710/1720/1000
accelero_nofan_oc_loadtemps.png

GPU temp is 49 degrees celsius, card temperature is 41 degrees celsius!
(Temps taken after 15 minutes running ATITool Artifact Scan)

Again.... AMAZING. The overclocked GPU temp is actually the same as it was when the card was running at NVIDIA reference speeds! It's like the Accelero S1 wasn't even fazed.


OK well let's be really daring and throw some voltmodding into the mix. As some of you may know you can actually give the GPU core a .05v bump (from 1.05v to 1.1v) via a simple BIOS mod. So I completed this mod and was able to gain speeds of 740/1800/1030 and I then tested the cooler at these speeds.


8800GT voltmodded 1.1vGPU - 740/1800/1030
accelero_nofan_ocvm_loadtem.png

GPU temp is 53 degrees celsius, card temperature is 43 degrees celsius!
(Temps taken after 15 minutes running ATITool Artifact Scan)

Uh oh... the Accelero S1 is weakening...... by a measily 4 degrees! Incredible! I am now officially impressed.
I might actually have to break out the soldering iron and try some hardware voltmods on this thing now. :eek: But we will save that for another day.


So now we see how well the Accelero S1 does in a passive configuration, but what about with a fan?

Arctic Cooling does offer what they call a 'Turbo Module' for the Accelero S1 and S2 coolers. This 'Turbo Module' is basically two free floating 80mm fans which you attach to the fins of the Accelero S1/S2 and then plug into your nearest molex or motherboard fan connector. This addon is fairly inexpensive at only around $10.

But I'm too cheap for that. :D


(Click on any of these photos to download a full 7.2 megapixel version)

Damn, one black zip tie short... oh well 3 corners is good enough for this test!




Accelero S1 + Yate Loon low speed 120mm fan​

So let's run one final test. +.05vGPU voltmod still in place, 740/1800/1030 overclock set:


8800GT voltmodded 1.1vGPU - 740/1800/1030
accelero_fan_ocvm_loadtemp.png

GPU temp is 43 degrees celsius, card temperature is 35 degrees celsius!
(Temps taken after 31 minutes running ATITool Artifact Scan)

Bwaahahahaha.... this is totally crazy. :D A GPU core temp of 43 degrees celsius and a card temp of 35 degrees celsius - on an overvolted and heavily overclocked card! I love it! Oh and idle temps? 36C GPU, 29C card.



Well there you have it... my look at the Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 GPU cooler. To say I'm impressed and amazed would be an understatement at this point. We're talking about a 40 degree drop in temperatures from a product that costs less than 30 bucks here folks, and that's something really special. And it's a GODSEND for us 8800GT users who want to keep our cards cool and actually enjoy some overclocking benefits.

The Accelero S1 gets one big damn thumbs up from me. :D






<EDIT> I made my own 'turbo module' with a 120mm yate loon and some precision redneck engineering... :D



</EDIT>
 

evilcartman

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 15, 2004
Messages
1,704
Wow, nice review. That's some impressive results, particularly for a cooler that's running on Newegg currently for $23.99. I'd definitely go with one if I had a GT (no point in me upgrading from a GTS 640) given the ridiculously high temps I've seen people getting with the stock cooler. Fortunately, I don't have heat issues with my GTS seeing that it rarely reaches 70C under full load.
 

leoftw

Gawd
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
650
I could not thank you enough for this review and I and I know other [H] Members appreciate it. Once again thank you very much !!

Could I ask you a huge favor ... could you post a pic of the accelero + the fan in the case ?

Thank You Thank You Thank You
 

NoxTek

The Geek Redneck
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
9,299
I could not thank you enough for this review and I and I know other [H] Members appreciate it. Once again thank you very much !!

Could I ask you a huge favor ... could you post a pic of the accelero + the fan in the case ?

Thank You Thank You Thank You


Accelero S1 + Yate Loon low speed 120mm fan​
 

Choppyferrari

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
208
Awesome review! Although I'm kinda curious about what numbers you'd get with 2 120mm fans...
 

chronage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 3, 2007
Messages
215
I was just about to order from newegg, then it went OOS as i clicked the add-to-cart button. What luck. Any other trustworthy alternatives have it in stock?

Also for cleaning, why not use electric parts cleaner (available at Walmart, autozone, etc)? $4 and does a great job.

http://www.autobarn.net/elcl45wtoz.html
 

Ferris

Weaksauce
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Messages
83
I had ordered a a S1 from SVC a couple of weeks ago and am still waiting on it. When it arrives is there any way I can use the header on my 8800gt to power the 120mm fan I will be placing on the cooler? I was thinking it would be cool to be able to continue to use rivatuner to control fan speed if that were the case. Just a thought.
 

Down8

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
3,046
The S1 I put on my X1950GT kept it idling at 35*C, and loaded around 40*C. It is the best cooler around if you factor in price at all.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
24
I have NO words to describe how FREAKING AMAZED I am at this point. :D

Luckily, my S1 should be arriving tomorrow. It'll be a bless for my poor 8800GT. :D:D
 

mps

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
167
I have the S2 variant of this cooler on an Nvidia 6600 series, and I have experienced similar results. I would give this cooler my highest recommendation.
 

refraxion

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 3, 2007
Messages
8,422
Just a question to the OP, at those OC'ed speeds, if you by any chance play CoD4 at 1680x1050, what are your frames at? is that OC a big change to how consistent the frames are? I dip pretty low on my factory oc'ed XFX 640mhz during big firefights at everything max, was wondering how good that OC would help.
 

Spliffstarr

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Messages
233
dude i was similarly amazed by the temps i got when i bought two for my 3870's running in crossfire. i am running my ram at 2.7gigs and my core at 860 ( not quite brave enuff to flash it with the new bios that unlocks the gpu for overclocking past 860). My idle temps for card
1 40c and full load is 54c. As for card two idle 35c and full load doesn't hit 50c. I didn't clean of the goop that shipped with the card for my first card, cause i was just too excited to strap it on, which explains the higher temps. I am running both cards passively, to say i was amazed beyond belief at this cooler is a total understament, expecially when it dropped my temps for both cards by 30c. The only thing about this cooler that could be negative is that it is really big and if you add the fans that come with it, it will consume upto 3 slots. I bought the addon fans but could not install them due to me have two 3870's, one xfi, one tv capture card and last but not least my tubes for my water cooling also takes up a slot. Even in a system like mine that was jam packed with heat producing devices this cooler still holds it own.Before i installed the cooler my 3870's would get too hot to touch, now they don't even get warm and neither does the cooler itself and this is with it being passive as well. Run don't walk to go and pick up this cooler, it hella cheap and performs like martin lawrence on drugs....
 

Spliffstarr

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Messages
233
by the way for anyone that is interested in getting one i got both of mine from ncix with next day shipping for 42 bucks per cooler and as i am concerned that was the best money i have invested in a computer part in a while. Expecially when you consider the performance of these things....
 

Croak

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 16, 2006
Messages
1,138
I've had great results with mine too.

Here's mine installed on a pair of 3870's before I flipped my mobo and added water cooling to the CPU, getting rid of that @#$$R#@!$#@!$#@!$ POS TR 120 Ultra Extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeme.

Then after the flip, with Turbo Modules, because I had room for both, and there wasn't any fresh air coming in on the cards like there was with the bottom mount.:

CM882_03.jpg



inside2.jpg


In case you were wondering, I flipped the black fin protectors when I flipped the cards, because if I didn't, they looked like this:

bottom3.jpg
 

Croak

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 16, 2006
Messages
1,138
It was a board-bowing, wiggly cocksucker.

Fan clips would fly off if you sneezed.

It ate half the room in my case.

Temps were ass.

I've got RA, I'll be damned if I was going to spend hours in agony to lap the bastard to get decent results, and that still wouldn't have fixed the awful mounting hardware.
 

Jodiuh

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
5,275
Fantastic job bro. Considering it's price, I'm having a tough time keeping the excellent reference cooler on the GTS 512.
 

kuyaglen

[H]F Junkie
Joined
May 15, 2002
Messages
9,256
No listing for 8800GTX compatibility makes me a sad panda. :(

{edit}

Excellent post.
 

darkangel74

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
378
Where might one find the new bios? Because I just got the GT and noticed the fan speed thing. At 100% with riva tuner the fan sounds like a jet plane.
 

Sean

[H] for Life
Joined
Nov 16, 2000
Messages
5,283
Nice review. Love the read on it, the flow was well executed. The material was well described the pictures were spot on.

Cheers!:)
 

brysig228

Gawd
Joined
Feb 27, 2007
Messages
573
great review.. anyone replaced their new gts g92 stock fan to this? svc have this in stock for $21.99 btw.
 

Silus

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 21, 2006
Messages
6,477
Great review Blue Falcon!

I'm currently thinking of upgrading my system and the 8800 GT is one of the components. I already had my eyes on the Accelero S1, but you made my life easier. Thanks :)
 

sparks

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 19, 2004
Messages
3,206
got the S1 and the cheap fan kit last month but have not installed it yet...too much work.

got a links to the voltmod and the bios?

has anyone heard when ATI tool will release the new version.
Its in the works as of last month.

GREAT review and pics...really helped on how to clean those chips...I posted that question last month and got 0 response.
 

ir0nw0lf

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 7, 2003
Messages
6,384
Anyone seen a review of this S1 on a G92 8800GTS? I'd love to see how the stock cooling unit on it compares to this S1.
 

Biggles604

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 23, 2004
Messages
80
I bought the S1 when I got my 8800GT, I ran the card for a day with the stock cooler to see what it was like and was getting idle/load temps of about 65/90. I installed the cooler and the turbo module and it dropped to about 35/50.

A few pointers about the turbo module. The fans are not particularly well made, one of them is slightly warped and makes a quiet ticking nooise for the first 30s of operation on bootup, this sound then goes away. The fans spin very slowly, so do not move a lot of air, but they do cool the heat sink quite effectively. They make no noise running at 100%, but if I was to make one complaint about them, then it would be that they use a motherboard fan slot, not the onboard temperature regulated fan controller. I would have liked an option to plug them into the video card and have them spin up if needed. The noise is a non issue with them right now, but the cabling was a bit of a pain in the arse.
 

NoxTek

The Geek Redneck
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
9,299
Some of you have been asking how to do the .05v BIOS voltmod on your 8800GT, it's really easy!

Check out this thread for information on how to edit your BIOS with NiBiTor (NVidia Bios Editor). While your BIOS is open in NiBiTor go to the 'Voltages' tab and change the entry for 'Extra' so that it says '1.1v'.

That's only a .05v boost to the normal 1.05v GPU core voltage but it should net you 30 - 50mhz on the core and even a few mhz on the memory. But make SURE you have adequate cooling for your card or the results could be scary. In other words I don't recommend doing this if you're using the stock cooler. ;)
 

Croak

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 16, 2006
Messages
1,138
I run both of my Turbo Modules off one of the Molex-to-3-pin splitters that come with Zalman GPU coolers. No need to speed control them, at 100% they're dead quiet. Just plug them in and forget about them.

That plug and play and forget is one big reason I went to aftermarket cooling for the 3870's, no need to dick around with the BIOS, or deal with ATITool/Rivatuner's poor support of Crossfire and fan controls in Vista.

And with temps this low, there's simply no point other than bling and epeen to even think about watercooling them.

The only downside for me is that if I decide to move to an AMD 790 quad Crossfire board, there's no way I can use an S1 on all four cards.
 
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