When it comes down to it, there are two reasons people buy these aftermarket coolers: lower temperatures and less noise. Let’s see how they perform:
As you can see, all of these aftermarket coolers do a much better job keeping the power-hungry GF100 cooler and quieter than the reference model. The DeepCool V6000 performs noticeably better than the standard cooler, but the Zalman VF3000F and Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME Plus both take cooling performance to another level entirely.
We should note that we’re plugging the Zalman VF3000F’s fan cable directly into the motherboard, as this default fan speed provides a nice mix of low noise and temperatures. We’re not the type of folks who want to mess with our fan speeds on a regular basis, but it’s important to remember that the Zalman fan can be tweaked to taste. As tested, it’s a little louder than the Accelero XTREME Plus at idle, but a little quieter under load. Moreover, we're in a situation where the GeForce GTX 480 fan controller can choose to send more power directly to the Accelero XTREME Plus’ fans.
The DeepCool V6000 might not offer the lowest temperatures, but it does succeed in outperforming the stock solution, while noise is in the same league as the Zalman and Arctic Cooling models. We do have to note that during testing, the loose thermal tape let go of several RAM and VRM heatsinks. While this didn’t affect GPU temperatures much, it did affect overclocking ability, as we’ll see on the next page.