Three Aftermarket Graphics Coolers On GeForce GTX 480

The Quest For A Bigger Gun

If you care about tweaking and tuning your PC, then you already know that heat is your enemy. Too much heat in your computer means limited overclocking ability at best and premature hardware failure at worst.

There are two components in a modern computer that are responsible for the lion’s share of heat output: the central processing unit (CPU) and the graphics processing unit (GPU).

Modern graphics cards can create an exceptional amount of heat, and standard cooling systems struggle to keep temperatures low. Nvidia's GeForce GTX 480 is perhaps the most poignant reminder of the interaction between power, heat, and noise since Intel's Pentium 4 based on the Prescott core. We're using the GTX 480 as our example here because, frankly, it stands to benefit from aftermarket cooling the most.

To remedy this problem, you can bypass the reference cooling solution on your graphics card altogether and lean on an aftermarket solution designed to bring GPU temperatures far below what the standard models can accomplish. Today we’re testing three monster VGA coolers that promise to do just that: Arctic Cooling’s Accelero XTREME Plus, DeepCool’s V6000, and Zalman’s VF3000.

Let’s have a look at the vital statistics for these coolers before we discuss them in detail:

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Header Cell - Column 0 Arctic CoolingAccelero XTREME PlusDeepCoolV6000ZalmanVF3000
Dimensions:290(L) × 104(W) × 56(H)mm212.5(L) × 110.5(W) × 65(H)mm239(L) x 98(W) x 51(H)mm
Weight:622 grams759 grams430 grams
Fans:Three 92 mm fansTwo 92 mm Case FansTwo 92 mm Fans
Power Cables:Single Graphics CardFan HeaderTwo MotherboardFan HeadersSingle MotherboardFan Header
Construction:Copper Cooling BlockCopper Heat PipesAluminum Cooling FinsAll-Aluminum ConstructionCopper Cooling Block Copper Heat Pipes Aluminum Cooling Fins
Compatibility:GenericFive compatibility set options:VR001-Multiple Radeon/GeForce CardsVR002-GeForce GTX 200 seriesVR003-GeForce GTX 470/465VR004-GeForce GTX 480VR005-GeForce GTX 460GenericSix mounting hole size options:43 mm, 51 mm, 53 mm,58 mm, 61 mm, 80 mmVF3000F: GeForce GTX 480VF3000F: GeForce GTX 465/470VF3000A: Radeon HD 5800 seriesVF3000N: GeForce GTX 200 series
  • Poisoner
    You just can't mess with the Accelero.
  • AMW1011
    Wow, I can't believe the Accelero and the Zalman were basically neck and neck, with no tangible victory in cooling. I always thought the Accelero would be better, but Zalman actually pulled this one off.

    However, what would be AMAZING, is to have a follow-up to see which of these two solutions work best in SLI, assuming EITHER work well in SLI. I think that is the big question, especially since we never expected bad temps.

    Also can you please add the voltages used for each overclock? It might give people, especially stock GTX 480 owners, a better idea of what these can handle, since cards will always vary when overclocking.
    Holy ***, stock voltages! That is crazy! Please post up your VID (stock voltage) for us. Either you have a golden GTX 480, or the VID is a lot higher than it needs to be, which is pretty common.

    Great article, I love to see these kind of side articles/reviews, and it was well done.
  • gabwerkz
    You mean Zalman VF3000F, not Zotac VF3000F on page 7.
  • Nerdbox87
    Given that this entire article is based on cooling you really should have included all GPU temps - as vram / vrm cooling may be the difference between the Accelero and the Zalman (as I know my Accelero Twin Turbo on a 5850 struggled with vram temps in Furmark)

    On this my guess would be the Zalman would smash it
  • joytech22
    How was the 480 at just under 60C when my 470's are always idling at 86C in a Antec twelve hundred..?

    I mean sure this case isn't the best cooling case but there's never really much hot air in the case and with a sidepanel fan blowing on the two cards i just cant see how.

    Unless.. you guy's test in a cool room at about 15-20C or the fan speeds are maxed 100% of the time.
  • anacandor
    joytech22my 470's are always idling at 86C
    Well, there's your praablem.

  • dvijaydev46
    Oh, Zalman's cooler looks weaker than Accelero but the later actually outperforms a bit. That's amazing.
  • Th-z
    Don, what is your view on how to apply thermal paste. There are numbers of ways people talk about: a pea in the middle, several peas, line in the middle, several lines, and old school spread method. You use spread method when you apply the RAM/VRM sink on Zalman, I presume you use the same method on other parts, too. Maybe Tom can do a comparison test on different ways of applying thermal paste.
  • compton
    These look good and would help me out quite a bit with a 465/470, but I wish I could get them in a design that would help maintain the existing footprint. My GF100 doesn't run quite as hot as some reference card designs, but that sure as hell doesn't mean that I'm happy with the leaf blower lurking in my case. Maybe I find a way to make the Zalman work.
  • avatar_raq
    I think the Zalman one wins here. It performs slightly better, costs slightly less, weighs less and is shorter than the Arctic cooler. As for noise they're trading blows. Being shorter, the VF3000 does not increase the length of the GTX 480, unlike the accelero which may theoretically cause incompatibility with some cases. Being lighter, it strains the PCB much less. The fact it performed so close to the Arctic cooler with only 2 fans surprised me.