Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 VGA Cooler

Cooling
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FINAL THOUGHTS

The Accelero S1 was not able to cool our X1950XTX passively without some extra system airflow, but it came very close — that's an achievement in itself, given how hot this VGA card runs. Is passive performance, surprisingly, was about equal to that of the active Zalman VF900-CU.

Current generation cards are more power efficient than the ATI X1950XTX, so the S1 should perform even better with a Radeon HD 3850/3870 or Geforce 8800GT/GTS(G92), which have been identified by Arctic Cooling to be suitable for the S1 to cool fanlessly. (According to the power consumption figures derived by competent hardware review sites, all of those cards are less demanding than the ATI X1950XTX.)

With a Nexus 120mm fan attached, the S1 became the best graphics card heatsink we've ever tested. The wide fin spacing made adding a fan easy and only a small amount of airflow was required to make it a top notch cooler. We hypothesize that a low speed 80mm or 92mm fan would also perform well. If you cannot afford to forfeit two extra expansion slots to add a fan, Arctic Cooling's Turbo Module may be a good choice — it's a twin 80mm fan add-on which is thinner enough to only occupy one extra slot. They also sell a flexible bridge connector for those wishing to use the S1 (or a pair of S1's) in an SLI configuration.

The heatsink's proportions shouldn't deter many users, but if you own a slim case, it's out of the question. Most of the extra real estate (compared to its competitors) is not usually taken advantage of anyway. It may be prudent however to check your motherboard for components directly below the space the S1 would occupy — it may put SATA ports for instance, out of reach.

It does have a couple of drawbacks, the first being the woefully inadequate memory heatsink adhesive. Sure it's not much trouble to use a little super glue or thermal adhesive to mount them, but we shouldn't have to. The second problem is compatibility: The S1 only has one set of mounting holes which may drive users with incompatible cards to the similarly-priced, but inferior Accelero S2. Fortunately, Arctic Cooling has addressed this problem by releasing a new revision of the S1.

It's hard not to recommend the Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 to just about everybody. Unless your graphics card is incompatible or your case isn't wide enough to acommodate its size, the S1 should be your first choice for quietly cooling a hot GPU. It's a great performer, both passive and actively-cooled, and an unbeatable value at the $20 street price. It's cheap, proficient, and hard to resist.

Pros

* Good passive performance
* Fantastic performance with a fan
* Easy to install
* Only takes up one extra slot
* Incredibly affordable
Cons

* Poor ramsink adhesive
* Limited compatibility

Thanks to Arctic Cooling for the Accelero S1 sample.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Updated VGA Card/Cooler Test Platform
Zalman VF1000 LED Graphics Card Cooler
VGA Cooler Roundup: A Thermalright, two Zalmans, and an Arctic Cooling

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