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Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME Plus

Three Aftermarket Graphics Coolers On GeForce GTX 480
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The name’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Arctic Cooling’s Accelero XTREME has been around for a while now, and it has an excellent reputation for dissipating up to 250 watts of heat.

Instead of creating a separate SKU for each type of graphics card (such as the Accelero XTREME 5870), the company got wise and developed the Accelero XTREME Plus, a generic version that can fit most of the high-end hardware currently available with the purchase of the appropriate accessory set.

This is a big cooler, to be sure. Though, at 622 grams (~1 lb. 6.6 oz.), it’s a mere ounce heavier than Nvidia's reference GeForce GTX 480 cooler and the same weight as DeepCool’s V6000. At 56 mm wide by 104 mm tall by 290 mm long, it is the longest cooler in our roundup, exceeded only the reference model.

The Accelero XTREME Plus boasts a total of three 92 mm fans and five heatpipes. Arctic Cooling advertises 81 CFM of airflow. The cooling fins are aluminum, with a copper cooling block attached to copper heatpipes that pull the heat from the GPU. The fan shroud is plastic, but surprisingly sturdy.

For testing purposes, we’re putting this cooler on the hottest GPU available—the GF100 in Nvidia's GeForce GTX 480. And so we’re using the appropriate VR004 accessory set. The set costs $5.99 USD from arctic-cooling.com and includes a mounting plate, various heatsinks, an instruction sheet, and thermal adhesive. The Accelero XTREME Plus cooler costs $65.95 USD from the same site, so you’re looking at a total buy-in of about $72 to get what you need to cool the GeForce GTX 480 with this monster.

The package doesn’t contain all that much aside from the massive cooler. There is an instruction sheet, some mounting hardware, a fan power adapter (in case the supplied plug doesn’t fit the receptacle on your graphics card) and a VGA bracket.

With the reference GeForce GTX 480 cooler removed and the contact surfaces cleaned appropriately, the RAM and VRM heat sinks must be applied. Here, the Accelero XTREME Plus sets itself apart from the rest of the pack by requiring thermal adhesive to be used. On the plus side, thermal adhesive is quite effective. Conversely, it’s also quite permanent. This means that the cooler will be married to the graphics hardware for the life of the card. This isn’t a terrible thing, but it is a little disappointing for folks who like the idea of a generic heat sink that can migrate with them to their next purchase (especially after spending that much money on the aftermarket upgrade). 

After the RAM and VRM sinks are glued, the cooler can be outfitted with the correct mounting bracket. And after this, the whole assembly is attached to the graphics card with four screws. No thermal paste application is necessary as the cooler comes prepared with a film of Arctic MX-2 premium thermal paste. The power plug conveniently fits into the stock GeForce GTX 480 fan header, making for a nice, clean installation.

With the cooler installed, the card now takes up three expansion slots. If you plan a dual-card SLI or CrossFire configuration, make sure your motherboard has enough space between its onboard connectors to handle a couple of cards equipped with these coolers.

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