Installing the Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME 5970 on today’s fastest graphics card is likely to make the graphics card warranty void. We don’t think this can repel true enthusiasts, though. First of all, you have to remove the card’s native cooling system.
It is a rather simple operation. You just have to unfasten all the screws (do not forget the screws in its sides) and carefully take the massive cooler off (it will still sit rather tightly on the thermal pads and thermal grease even when the screws are unfastened).
Next you install the VRM heatsink and thermal pads:
You must carefully follow the instructions because the thermal pads differ in thickness depending on what component they are meant for. If you put a too thick pad on some component, it may prevent the other pads from contacting properly with the cooler.
Here is our Radeon HD 5970 with all the thermal pads and the VRM heatsink installed:
Now we only have to peel off the protective film from the pads and install the cooler proper, fastening it with the screws from the back-plate of the native Radeon HD 5970 cooler. The Accelero XTREME 5970 comes with good thermal grease already applied, but there is too much of it and the excess thermal grease comes out at the edges of the GPU dies.
The layer of thermal grease should be much thinner. We guess that it would even be better if the manufacturer didn't apply it at all but instead included some Arctic Cooling MX-2 or MX-3 into the box.
When installed on the graphics card, the Accelero XTREME 5970 looks like this:
If you take a look at the card from above, you can note that the PCB bends at the right edge of the second GPU and after. Why? Because the main heatsink of the Accelero XTREME 5970 presses against the tall VRM heatsink and bends the PCB. We don’t know why this problem has escaped Arctic Cooling’s engineers.
So, we had two ways to do our tests. We could test the bent graphics card or test it in its straight form but without the VRM heatsink. Neither variant was really good, yet we chose the first one and installed the curved thing into our system case.
The graphics card with Accelero XTREME 5970 blocks the two neighboring expansion slots on the mainboard but Arctic Cooling claims this product is compatible with CrossFireX configurations. Well, it is possible to install another Radeon HD 5970 but we can’t predict how this would affect the cooler’s performance. And we don’t have a second dual-processor card to check this out in practice.