Introducing the Arctic Cooling Accelero Hybrid

Traditionally in the desktop space, the next step after high quality air cooling has been high quality liquid cooling, usually centered around custom designed cooling loops that cost a pretty penny in equipment. The industry has met this desire halfway by producing closed loop liquid coolers for the CPU not unlike the ones we tested recently, but interestingly the real power monster in most enthusiast desktops has needed to be served by reference coolers and sometimes exotic custom solutions offered by partners. Any type of liquid cooling has continued to be the province of the more extreme enthusiast.

Arctic Cooling changes some of that today with the Accelero Hybrid. Aftermarket VGA coolers aren't totally uncommon, but generally they're harder to build and market due to the more specific needs of cooling a graphics card. You have to cool the GPU, the video memory, and the voltage regulation, and the layouts of these parts varies from vendor to vendor and card to card. The Accelero Hybrid includes a 120mm radiator courtesy of Asetek, a cooling shroud for board components, and enough tiny parts to choke all but the heartiest of housecats. At $169, it also costs a pretty penny. Is it worth the effort, the money, and the risk?

I'll make an admission: I've been putting off reviewing the Accelero Hybrid for a little while. I'm not new to replacing the cooler on a graphics card, but the Hybrid is something much more involved. A visit to NewEgg or even to other sites that have reviews of it will tell you it's pretty difficult to actually install, and the idea of possibly bricking my GeForce GTX 680 wasn't a particularly pleasant one. At the same time, the promises Arctic Cooling make of the Accelero Hybrid's performance border on outlandish and even more interesting, judging from other reviews, the Hybrid seems to live up to those promises.

Source: Arctic Cooling

While it's reasonable to expect the Accelero Hybrid to produce excellent performance, it's also easy to be skeptical. The RAM and VRM cooling is no doubt totally serviceable, but I've seen this particular Asetek radiator have a hard time keeping an overclocked Intel Core i7-2700K running under 70C. How am I supposed to believe it'll handle a potentially overclocked GPU pushing 200W or more and do so under 60C or even 50C? The only way to find out for sure is to test it.

Installation, Part 1
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  • boyang1724 - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    This is quite pathetic actually. Just get an Antec 620/ Corsair H60 cooler and a bracket from dwood for any high end gpu. Also comes with a fan mount, and only costs around $70-80 total. Brought my GTX 670 down from 80C+ max to 55C, and idle from 38C to 25C. It's a much better deal than this thing.
  • SodaAnt - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    I'll second this. You get just as much performance for only around $60 (in my case). Plus it actually seems easier to install than this thing.
  • BrightCandle - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    A custom water loop specified at 10C delta can produce temperatures around +20C delta at peak load. So these figures are certainly pretty decent comparatively. This goes a long way towards custom loop performance for less cost. Its about the same amount of pain in terms of modifying the GPU for watercooling however, just without the pain of cutting the tubing, fitting larger radiators and other water cooling pain.

    Your methodology doesn't mention your soak time for the water loop. Due to the heat capacity of water you do need to run at peak load for 30 minutes. So it might not be quite as impressive as it first appears.
  • mayankleoboy1 - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    "Your methodology doesn't mention your soak time for the water loop. Due to the heat capacity of water you do need to run at peak load for 30 minutes. So it might not be quite as impressive as it first appears. "


    Unless you allow the water temperature to stabilise for some time (1 hour ?) , these results are erroneous.
  • Death666Angel - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    I get ~20K delta between ambient and GPU with my WC rig (4x120mm radiator mounted to the side of the case). It cost me 382.52€, 117.74€ for monitoring and control equipment and 51.56€ for the 4 fans, the rest for the WC stuff (pump, connectors, radiator, tubes...). But I also cool my CPU (which achieved 500MHz higher OC compared to my air cooler (Noctua NH-C12P)) and the system is not audible for me. The GPU was bought used with the WC mounted already and cost as much a new retail, so I got the cooler for free. I can use this equipment for the next CPU, mainboard, GPU upgrade. I can reinstall the stock air cooler on the GPU easily. I can add other components to the loop.
    I just don't see how these CLCs are seen as competing with custom WC rigs. Yes, they are a bit more expensive, but they also deliver many more options. CLC for CPUs does at least offer a few extra things (better clearance around the socket, extra fan controls...) but I doubt this offers that much more compared to after market GPU air coolers.
  • ziv_ew - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    how dose it compare to the eVGA 680 Hydro Cooper?
  • IanCutress - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    Makes me think of the total cost of a pair of MSI Lightnings or ASUS CUII TOPs with these coolers. In simulations the GPU gets hammered extensively over days, and the cooler the whole system the better.
  • dannoddd - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    I'd really like to see this put up against one of the DWOOD systems, where you take your choice of ALC mixed with his $8 bracket and put it on any card. I've been concerned about doing it due to the lack of VRM/RAM heatsinks. I think it'd be great if you could grab one of those and bench it against this setup and compare the difficulty of installation.

    Great article Dustin, love your work.
  • DanNeely - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    As fiddly as this is I suspect that if you've got a supported card a custom loop and a full cover heatsink would be less work to assemble than gluing all the individual ram/vrm sinks in place. Unfortunately they still don't have nVidia 6xx parts available yet.
  • Shiitaki - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    Rather ironic, I had commented in the last water cooling article that the gpu is the one that needs water cooling, not so much the cpu. Why is the radiator mounted to the video card? That's the only reason it's so expensive, and it's silly given how many fan mounts come in cases these days.

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