Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 VGA Cooler + Turbo Module

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TEST RESULTS CONTINUED

The Turbo Module was added to the S2 heatsink for further testing.


Accelero S2 and Turbo Module installed in our test platform.

Results: Accelero S2 + Turbo Module
State
Fan Speed
System Noise
GPU Temp.
CPU Temp.
Idle
5V

19 dBA

39°C
22°C
CPUBurn
40°C
38°C
CPUBurn + ATI Tool
52°C
7V
49°C
39°C
9V
20 dBA
48°C
12V
22 dBA
46°C
System fan @ 7V

@5V and @7V: Inaudible in our lab. Ticking could be heard from within one foot, but other than that, the noise was below ambient. At 5V, the GPU temperature was a chilly 49°C. Increasing it to 7V effected a marginal improvement.

@9V: In the open, the fans were audible but not unpleasant. Close up, the ticking was slightly less noticeable as the sound of airflow drowned it out. However, it was inaudible from more than two feet away. Inside the test system, the fans' presence was barely detectable. The temperature difference was just measurable.

@12V: The noise signature was very smooth. At close range the ticking became a slight buzzing but most of it was overtaken by the sound of rushing air. Inside the case, it was audible, but very benign. A two degree improvement over 9V was not enough to justify the extra noise, especially in a silent PC.

Comparison: Stock vs. S2 (Passive) vs. S2 + Turbo Module

Stock

Accelero S2
Passive
Accelero S2 +
Turbo Module
SPL@1m
GPU Temp.
SPL@1m
GPU Temp.
SPL@1m
GPU Temp.
19 dBA
98°C
19 dBA
63°C
19 dBA
49°C
21dBA
93°C
21dBA
60°C
20 dBA
48°C
23 dBA
86°C
23 dBA
57°C
22 dBA
46°C

Adding the Turbo Module to the S2 decreased the GPU temperature by more than 10°C at comparable noise levels. As a bonus the fan was inaudible at 7V. Increasing the fan speed seems unnecessary. These results seem to corroborate our findings with the S1 — that only a small amount of direct airflow is required to get the best performance / noise ratio from the Accelero coolers. Arctic Cooling is apparently aware of this, or they would've made these fans spin much faster.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Accelero S2 is a highly proficient cooler. It put the stock passive cooler of the Asus EN8600GT Silent edition to shame, besting it by about 30°C. It also matched the fan-cooled stock cooler of the EN8600GT OC Gear, which is very impressive.

A question that arises is whether the S2 is ideal for its intended application, which is the tier of VGA cards one step down from the hottest. These VGA cards are often used in smaller and slimmer cases, expecially HTPC cases. The S2 is shorter than the S1, but the length is not a problem, because it's no longer than any VGA card. The width is the same as the S1, however, and that means it's incompatible with slimmer cases. (Of course, for a creative hardware modder, it's no big challenge to reduce the size of the S2 with minimal effect on cooling.)


It's this dimension that makes the S2 less than ideal for smaller cases.

With the very recent introduction of the Accelero S1 Rev. 2, which expands the S1's compatibility to all the cards that the S2 fits, the S2 seems almost redundant. It's hardly smaller, only a few dollars cheaper, and doesn't perform quite as well. Most consumers would just buy the S1 rev. 2. A smaller heatsink that doesn't extend so far beyond the boundaries of the typical midrange VGA card actually has a bigger potential market than the S2.

The Turbo Module is quiet, effective, and only occupies the space of one extra expansion slot. If space is limited, it's a good choice over strapping your own fan to the S1/S2. Quiet, 15mm depth fans are basically unheard of. The Turbo Module would serve the S1 better than the S2, as there aren't really any cards on the S2's compatibility list that need the extra airflow. The sleeve bearings may not last as long in the vertical orientation the fans will be run in (with any tower case), but perhaps the fans are light enough for this not to be a serious issue. The fan mounting system also isn't ideal — it's a good concept, but the execution doesn't quite fit the fin design of the Accelero line.

Arctic Cooling Accelero S2
Pros

* Great passive performance
* Even better performance with direct airflow
* Easy to install
* Only takes up one extra slot
* Incredibly affordable
Cons

* Not small enough for narrower cases
* Compatibility limited to less demanding cards

Arctic Cooling Turbo Module
Pros

* Surprisingly quiet
* Increases performance
* Easy to install
* Only takes up one extra slot
* Inexpensive
Cons

* Uses sleeve bearing fans
* Mounting scheme could be better

Thanks to Arctic Cooling for the Accelero S2 and Turbo Module samples.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 VGA Cooler
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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