Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 - Passive Graphics Cooler Page: 1
Introduction

Founded pretty recently in 2001, Arctic Cooling have built a reputation of being able to quietly cool your GPU very well. Swiss engineered and Chinese manufactured they have really dominated the market in VGA cooling, as well as putting out some very nice CPU coolers.

The Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 is a passive heatpipe solution for a whole range of GPU's. With that in mind we took the rather noisy heatsink of one of our test PC's and put it to the test.

Packaging

Arctic Cooling have gone with the blister style of packaging that many cooling manufacturers are picking for their products nowadays. Not only is this great for ease of opening for the consumer, but it allows you to see what you're buying before you buy it.

arctic accelero s2 arctic cooling accelero s2

With a very minimalistic style of packaging Arctic Cooling have let the S2 speak for itself. It certainly looks impressive in it's sheer size.

Package

Arctic Cooling have included everything you will need in the package of the S2, included is:

* 8 x RAM sinks
* 1 x PCI backplate
* Screws and plastic holders
* 1 x Arctic Cooling Case Sticker
* 1 x Instruction Manual

arctic cooling s2

With plenty of heatsinks for onboard RAM and everything you would need to get the cooler installed on any of the supported cards listed you can't be disappointed with the package.

Specification

Taken from Arctic Cooling's website

Heat Sink: 140(L) x 188(W) x 32(H) mm
Heat pipe: 6 mm x 2
Weight: 202 g
Accessories: 8 Memory Heat Sinks
Warranty: 6 Years

Application:

ATI:
X1650, X1600, X1550, X1300, X1050 series
X850, X800, X700, X600, X550, X300 series
9XXX series

nVIDIA:
GeForce 7600, 7300, 6600 series
FX 5950, 5900, 5700 (Ultra) series
FX 5600, 5500, 5200 series
GeForce 4 Ti, MX series

With a broad range of GPU's supported on the S2, and pretty much most of the rest of the current (including the x1900 and 8800) cards supported on the Accelero S1, Arctic Cooling have done well on compatibility.

Right now let's take a look at the cooler...


Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 - Passive Graphics Cooler Page: 2
The Cooler - Arctic Cooling Accelero S2

The cooler is pretty huge it has to be said. The older Arctic Cooling solutions were more wide than high but this beasty is pretty tall and you should certainly check if you have a smaller case to make sure it will fit.

Having said that it is also pretty good looking for a cooler and stands out when installed.

arctic cooling silncer s2 rear arctic cooling accelero s2

arctic cooling accelero s2 height

As you can see there are two copper heatpipes that reach right to the top of the cooler extending from the base where they go into a solid copper base 2.4mm thick. The fins have a large surface area for heat dissipation, with adequate (case) airflow.

The only complaint I would really have is that the plastic top and bottom add-ons are a little..well: tacky for want of a better word. It's not a huge complaint but it's worth noting

arctic cooling accelero s2

As you can see (apart from my clumsy fingermark), the thermal paste is pre-applied to the base of the cooler and looks to be good stuff. I am using this it is as standard in the review so we get a good idea of what the cooler is like when used in a "straight out of the box" situation.

NB: I did re-smooth the paste over before installing!

The finish on the cooler looks to be pretty decent although bearing in mind I could only get a picture of part of it as the paste was in the way.

arctic cooling accelero s2 base

Although the base looks small compared to the large bases of a CPU cooler I think it looks like it could do the trick.

Let's get it installed and do some testing.


Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 - Passive Graphics Cooler Page: 3
Test Setup

To test the Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 we used the following setup:

Core2Duo E6700 ES
abit FP-IN9 motherboard
1gb Mushkin HP2 5300 (@ DDR800 4-4-4-10)
Seagate 7200.10 160gb HDD
Sony DVD-Rom/CD-RW
Silverstone 560w ZEUS PSU
Silverstone TJ09 case

The Test Subject

The ever faithful Sapphire X1600 Pro will be the subject of our review. I have the stock cooler on this card but with a slightly larger fan. Although this is very slightly cooler than the stock heatsink, it makes just as much noise!

sapphire card heatsink

This is an all aluminium affair done on a budget so it will be nice to see how the S2 gets on.

I used the temperature recording facility in RivaTuner and double-checked this in ATI's software and with a thermal probe.

Ambient temperature was around 21.7-22°C.
Idle Tests were performed after 30 minutes of the PC being turned on and recorded for 30mins at 30 second intervals.
Load Tests were performed after 30 minutes of the PC loading up using RTHDRIBL full screen and recorded for 30mins at 30 second intervals.

A note on airflow

The airflow that Arctic Cooling recommends to use is to have all case fans blowing out of the case to create negative pressure so that the S2 draws air into the case through the PCI backplate.

However after trying this my CPU temperature was unacceptable so I reverted to normal airflow.

I have:

* 1 x 120mm fan blowing air into the case through the TJ09's graphics card duct (standard Silverstone)
* 1 x 120mm fan blowing air over the HDD bays (Noctua )
* 1 x 120mm fan blowing air out of the rear (standard Silverstone)
* 1 x 120mm fan blowing air out of the top blowhole (Noctua)
* 1 x 120mm fan blowing air through the CPU Heatsink and out through the rear fan mentioned above (Scythe stock)
* 1 x 60mm FAN blowing air over the NorthBridge (SilenX)

Installation

Installation of the S2 was not as easy as I thought it was going to be, considering the card we chose doesn't have many screw points anyway.

sapphire x1600 naked x1600 pro gpu

I found that the RAM sinks provided weren't as sticky as perhaps they should be and needed a little bit of persuasion to stay on the card. I also found that the plastic retention clips used to keep the S2 in place were a little awkward to get into place and I knocked off the RAM-sinks a few times before I got it right.

Having said that it wasn't that difficult an operation and only took me 10 minutes or so to get through.

arctic cooling accelero s2 installed arctic cooling s2 installed rear

As you can see the S2 dwarfs our small X1600 Pro - it really dominates the card.

arctic cooling accelero s2 heatpipes arctic cooling s2 heatpipes close in

The heatpipes don't obstruct anything and the cooler is fixed firmly to the card with 4 screws. I've had other coolers on this card and none have quite felt that they fit, but the S2 does well and I was confident that the fit was right first-time.

arctic cooling accelero s2 side view

Here you can see a side view and see that the RAM-sinks have plenty of room and don't obstruct the heatsink.

In the case

Here you can see the Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 in-situ

in case above in case side view

pci backplate installed

The S2 looks huge installed even compared to the massive Scythe Infinity. However as this is a slightly barebones install I had no issues with clearance and in fact it isn't actually a hassle to install in the case at all. Notice the PCI backplate allows airflow into the case as well.

Now the real test.


Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 - Passive Graphics Cooler Page: 4
Test Results

Here are the results of my testing on the Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 vs the very slightly modified stock cooler:

 
Idle Temperature (°C)
Load Temperature (°C)
Stock Cooler
45 58
Arctic Cooling Accelero S2
37 47

artic cooling s2 results

These are some pretty impressive numbers for the Arctic Cooing Accelero S2. 8°C cooler at idle and 11°C cooler at load is awesome.

What you also have to consider is that the S2 is a totally passive solution, albeit your case airflow has to be decent to achieve a good result.

Noise

Usually I would tell you about my thoughts on noise but there is little to say other than there is no noise from this cooler - totally passive.

In the future I will have sound testing equipment to test out more coolers, but I don't think this is necessary here!


Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 - Passive Graphics Cooler Page: 5
Conclusion

The Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 is an impressive cooler. Although the card we chose to review it on was only an X1600 Pro, we saw temperature drops of around 10°C on the stock solution.

The fact that it is totally silent means that you don't have to worry about noise at all which is not only impressive but also very reassuring. The only thing I would say to do before you decide to go grab one of these for your card is to check height and adequate airflow through your case. Other than that it's a no-brainer - I'm finding it hard to say why you shouldn't get one for your card.

At around £16 (only found them at OCUK), the S2 is in a very nice price bracket for you to pick up from your local friendly e-tailer.

On a more practical note the cooler is very large and also dual slot - so look out if you need those ports close to your GPU.

I am not hesitating in giving the Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 an Editor's Choice Award and an Innovation Award for a silent solution to what can often be a rather noisy problem.


Editors Choice Award Innovation Award

Pro's

+ Great Cooling
+ Totally passive solution
+ Great looking
+ Easy to install

Con's

- Could be too big for your case
- Needs good airflow
- Slightly plastic feel to parts

Thanks to Arctic Cooling for providing the review sample

Discuss in our Forum