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The VF1 is about as large and chunky as can reasonably be expected to fit into
the confines of a pair of expansion slots. When installed, it covers almost
the full height of the graphics card and about half of the length. Like most
aftermarket coolers, it occupies the expansion slot directly below the graphics
card, effectively converting the card into a double-slot card if it was
Most of the fins are enclosed in a tunnel that directs airflow from one end
to the other.
The body of the heatsink is made of 48 aluminum fins that sit directly over
the base of the heatsink. Two heatpipes that extend from the copper base help
distribute heat evenly across the fins. The heatsink is fairly unremarkable
for a heatpipe cooler, with one exception: About three quarters of the top surface
is sealed to make a "tunnel" for the airflow. Airflow is intended
to begin from one end of the heatsink (corresponding with the top edge of the
graphics card), and flow lengthwise through the heatsink until it is
exhausted at the other end near the motherboard. The exhaust end of the heatsink
is open, allowing the airflow to find an easy exhaust path and reducing the
amount of impedance introduced by the second heatpipe.
A major difference between the VF1 and many other video card coolers is that there is no recess to accommodate a fan in the midst of its fins. This means that the total cooling surface area of the fins is not reduced by the fan recess. In this regard, it resembles the various Silencer cooler models from Arctic Cooling, which also use a tunnel through the fins, and a fan a more conventional one perched outside the fins area.
Two heatpipes transfer heat from the copper base to the fins.
Inside the tunnel, the fins are spaced about 2mm apart wide enough that
it can be expected to do fairly well with low airflow. Given the reputation
of cross-flow fans for generating high air pressure, the fan may be able
to run at low speed while still providing plenty of airflow.
Fin spacing is quite wide for such a small heatsink.
The machined copper base is small, but big enough to the GPU die and
the secondary chip on our test card. It did not appear to be as smooth as some
heatsinks, but it was perfectly flat, and it should have no problems maintaining
good contact with the GPU.
The copper base is quite small.
As the VF1 only covers the GPU die, eight tiny ramsinks are included to cool
the memory, but beware they are only included with the "Plus"
package. It's not clear how much this matters. Conventional DDR and DDR2 RAM
chips are perfectly happy without heatsinks, and it's hard to believe that GDDR3
should be any different. We know of at least one heatsink manufacturer (Aerocool) that
claims they are unnecessary.
The ramsinks are anodized to a gold color.
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