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There's no ignoring the size of the S1 it's much larger than the card(s) it was designed to cool. Pictures just don't
do it justice when you actually have it in your hand and realize
you can't wrap your fingers the entire width, you'll be in awe. But is the
S1 too big? The height won't be an issue for most as it only obstructs one
extra expansion slot. Lengthwise, the S1 measures 21.5cm (~8.5"), but
it doesn't extend all the way the edge of the PCI covers it sits
about 1cm away. In effect it's about the same length as most modern high-end
video cards. That leaves only the width, which extends past the edge of
the video card by approximately 4cm. In my Antec Solo, the S1 is only a
few millimeters longer than my Scythe Ninja and I reckon any case with a
120mm fan in the back will be wide enough to accomodate the S1. The area
beteween the edge of the expansion cards and the side panel in most tower
cases typically goes wasted so its only logical to take advantage of this
The S1 side-by-side with the (fairly large, or so we thought) Zalman
As with most heatsinks you see today it is comprised of a copper base,
copper heatpipes, and aluminum fins. The fins are friction-fit, with ample
gaps of approximately 3.5mm perfect for passive cooling in a low
airflow environment. It weighs in at only 290 grams because most of the
S1's area is just air. Attached to the final fins at each end are plastic
covers which appear to be a flimsy way of binding the whole thing together.
Despite this, the fins are quite secure and difficult to bend, especially
where they contact the heatpipes.
The S1's base.
Arctic Cooling pre-applies their MX-1 thermal compound to the base of
all their heatsinks it's a fairly good product according to various
reviews around the web. We immediately cleaned it off however as it's important
we use the same thermal interface material in all of our heatsink tests.
It was also necessary to take a look at the base, which turned out to be
very flat but not polished at all machine marks were clearly visible.
The ends of the heatpipes appeared to be well soldered to the base as there
were no visible gaps as far as I could tell.
Unlike Zalman's VGA heatsinks, there are only one set of mounting holes,
which limits compatibility. If you own an incompatible card, there are alternatives:
The Accelero S2, which has half the number of heatpipes and is slightly
narrower, and the recently announced Accelero S1 Rev. 2, which is identical
to the S1 only with a revised mounting scheme. Most of today's medium to
high-end video cards are in the compatibility list with the notable exceptions
of ATI's HD 2xxx series and the Geforce 8800GTS/GTX/Ultra.
The first step in installing the Accelero S1 on our Radeon X1950XTX test
card was to attach the ramsinks. This unfortunately proved problematic as
the 3M thermal adhesive was incredibly weak. Each
memory chip was painstakingly cleaned eto make sure the surface was immaculate, and pushed down firmly
on each ramsink for a good minute. Upon flipping the card upside down however,
several of them decided they no longer belonged on the card and fell off
like lemmings into the sea. Perhaps application with longer, more persistant
pressure, or possibly heating them up beforehand would have made them adhere
better, but who has the time or the patience!? Bottom-line: They
should work right out of the box but they don't. Zalman low profile ramsinks were used instead these have never fallen off despite being re-used numerous
times in the past.
The ramsink adhesive was weak and ineffective.
Thermal compound was applied to the GPU core, and the card was flipped
upside down to be placed onto the heatsink. The S1 is mounted with four
fine-threaded screws with thin washers placed in between them and the back
of the card. Arctic Cooling's instructions dictate that the two screws nearest
the gold contacts of the card should be partially installed, then the opposite
end of the card be lifted up to install two L-shaped plastic clips.
Both "L" clips firmly in place.
The top side of the "L" clip grasps the edge of the card while
a limb on the bottom side is inserted through the fins. On the other side,
T-shaped clips go in between the same fins and latch on. These clips act
as spacers, maintaining a set distance between the card and the fins of
the heatsink. This prevents the heatsink bending downward (say if you decide
to attach a fan to it) and also keeps board components away from the fins.
A closer look at a"L" clip.
The fins may interfere if your card has tall capacitors, but luckily such
components are absent on our X1950XTX. The spacers should be placed between
the 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th heatpipe, but they might need to be adjusted if
anything gets in the way. Also note that these clips are somewhat difficult
to remove, so think twice before you place them. If you do not plan on adding
a fan, you can probably omit this step altogether.
A top-bottom view gives better context to the size.
Fully installed. If you plan on adding a fan pressed directly against
the heatsink, don't use the spacers, or spread them far apart so they
do not interfere.
A view of the base.
Installed in our test platform.