Articles: Cooling

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AMD Radeon HD 58xx are excellent products in almost every aspect: they are fast, they support DirectX 11 and other hot new technologies, they overclock well, they are widely spread and even the prices have recently started going down. There are only two serious causes for concern to potential owners of Radeon HD 5870, HD 5850 or HD 5830 graphics cards: they run very hot and their reference coolers generate a lot of noise in 3D applications. When a graphics card like that works in 2D mode, it runs at lower frequencies and its fan rotates only at 20-22% of its full capacity, so it is quiet enough and doesn’t heat up much. However, 1-2 minutes into the game or some 3D benchmark the fan speeds up by more than 30% and becomes acoustically uncomfortable, while the temperature quickly exceeds 80°C even inside large system cases with well-organized internal ventilation.

There are two ways of solving this problem. You can either buy a graphics accelerator equipped with an alternative cooling system, or buy a cooler separately and then install it yourself. Despite the fact that you may lose your graphics card warranty, many users will most likely go with the second option, because non-reference graphics cards are not always good, and besides, they usually come out much later than the reference ones. Moreover, it is usually cheaper to buy a graphics card and a different cooler, than a graphics card equipped with an alternative cooler by default. That is why today we are going to talk about two new graphics card coolers: Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME 5870 and Zalman VF3000A. We are going to compare their performance against one another as well as that of a reference cooler on a Radeon HD 58xx graphics card. WE will also include the results for one more alternative cooler in our article. But before we start talking numbers, let’s take a closer look at our today’s testing participants.

Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME 5870

Having launched a super-cooler for a dual-GPU graphics card, the Swiss Arctic Cooling introduced a new product for the fastest single-chip AMD solutions – Radeon HD 5870 and 5850, as well as HD 5830.

Accelero XTREME 5870 is shipped in company’s traditional plastic blister with cardboard inserts:

You can see three fans in a plastic frame through the front of the packaging. On the back of the box there is detailed info about the cooler including the mention of 36-degree cooling efficiency advantage over the reference cooling system on Radeon HD 5870 graphics card and almost 6-fold advantage in acoustics. Very promising, isn’t it?

At the bottom of the blister on a plastic tray we found retention screws with washers, VRM heatsink, two memory chips heatsinks, back panel grid and installation manual:

Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME 5870 is made in China and is built in a very simple and even classical manner. At the same time it is fairly large (290x104x58 mm) and heavy (632 g).

It is based on six copper heatpipes 6 mm in diameter that go through the copper base. They hold two arrays of aluminum plates, each 0.25 mm thick. The plates have about 1.9 mm gaps between them. The heatsink is topped with a plastic frame holding three fans and a top cover with a company logo sticker and cooler model name:

The heatpipes pierce both heatsink arrays evenly through the entire body:


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