Compatibility and Installation
Spire SkyMax is compatible with quite many graphics accelerators (check out the table in the next chapter of this review), but the latest products are missing from that list. Despite that, I can’t claim that the cooler will definitely be incompatible with Radeon HD 79xx, HD 78xx or GeForce GTX 6xx graphics cards. In order to make it easier to determine the compatibility of the new Spire SkyMax cooler with your particular graphics card, we will provide the distances between the retention holes: 59x59 mm, 54x54 mm and 65x54 mm. Besides, it is important to mention that the cooler base (with all aluminum inserts) is 70x68 mm. If your graphics card fits into the above listed measurement patterns, then the new Spire SkyMax cooler will most likely fit onto its without any problems.
For our today’s test session e used Asus GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP graphics card:
It comes with Asus’ proprietary DirectCU II cooler:
I have to say right away that this is the best proprietary graphics card cooler among currently available mass production graphics accelerators. It offers unprecedented efficiency and very low noise and has only one drawback: it blocks as many as three PCI-E slots on your motherboard. Therefore, Spire SkyMax is facing a very serious challenge in our today’s test session. Let’s see how well it manages to deal with it.
The installation procedure looks as follows:
We didn’t use the bundled heatsinks for the VRM and video memory chips, but proceeded directly to the cooler installation. The first step was to place the plastic washers onto the retention holes:
They were attached using double-sided sticky pads and protect fragile GPU die against possible physical damage during cooler installation:
After that we applied a layer of thermal paste to the GPU, placed the graphics card on top of the cooler (and not the other way around), so that the retention holes in the cooler base coincided with the holes in the graphics card PCB, and tightened the screws with washers evenly:
That’s it: Spire SkyMax is ready to cool our High-End graphics accelerator:
Note that the cooler will block the PCI-E slot closest to the graphics card. Moreover, it is important to keep the third slot empty, too, to ensure that there is proper airflow for the cooler fans.
I would also like to add that the graphics card with installed Spire SkyMax cooler doesn’t block access to additional power connectors:
They are as easy to reach as with a reference graphics card cooler.