For any of you wondering about the new generation of AMD and nVidia graphics cards and how to cool them, I'll give my first hand experience with a recent upgrade I did on my desktop.
As with any early adopter of new hardware, I bit the bullet on a Gigabyte Radeon 7870 OC Windforce graphics card hoping that it would suit my needs. The core clock speed is set at 1100MHz - a mild 10% overclock from the reference clock speeds. I wanted a bit of extra performance from stock, but didn't want to muck about with aftermarket software to do the overclocking for me in Windows. According to most of the performance reviews I had read, this card kept up with a stock 7950 in terms of performance in most games. BIOS modification seems to be unavailable for the 7000 series of cards since the developer of Radeon BIOS Editor has stopped development.
The stock cooler cooled quite well, but the stock fan profile in the BIOS was downright horrible. Stock idle fan speed was set to 40% and would quickly ramp up to ~55% under any sort of load. Temperatures were downright fantastic (55-60C at load after 10 minutes of Furmark), but the noise was far too much for my tastes. Even lowering the fan speed to 20% (the lowest available in CCC) left the video card as the loudest component of my system and let the GPU temperatures creep up to 85C+. While I know this is likely still well within spec, I like to keep silicon temperatures as low as possible.
I picked up the Accelero S1 Plus cooler and jury rigged up two Scythe Slipstream 800RPM fans to it last night. The fan speed is controlled by a single header on a Scythe Kaze Q fan controller (using a Noctua Y-splitter to control both fans simultaneously). A word of advice regarding the G1 paste they provide - give it at least 12 hours to set. It will be quite runny when you first apply it, and still somewhat pliable after the instructed 5 hours. Once the memory heatsinks were in place, a dab of InnovationCooling Diamond thermal paste was put on the core and the beast of a heatsink was screwed in place. The results!
GPU Diode: 35C
GPU VRM: 36C
Load Temperatures (Furmark after 10 minutes)
GPU Diode: 60C
GPU VRM: 71C
I'll post up some pictures of the innards later this afternoon once my camera batteries have charged up. The loudest parts of my system now are the two WD6400AAKS drives I have as scratch space (soon to be replaced by WD Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT drives). Is the setup completely silent? No. Is it quiet enough for my needs? Yes.
Hopefully this gives others some insight into what's possible with the next generation of Radeon GPUs. I'm confident in saying that anything from the Radeon 7870 or lower can be adequately cooled quietly with some aftermarket help from Accelero. I've always been a fan of the original S1, and the S1 Plus seems to be just more of the same (with a different shroud
). If you're looking at the 7950 or 7970, you might have a harder time getting things cool and