The ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 was released a year ago but, as it's hotter than a Balrog's armpit, it's taken this long for aftermarket coolers to appear. Arctic Cooling's Accelero Xtreme 4870X2 makes a good first impression. It certainly has the monstrous looks that hint it can do the job - and wouldn't the Green Arrow have preferred a sidekick called Accelero instead of Speedy? (That said, we heard on the grapevine that old Speedy actually acquired his name because of a closet narcotic problem and not actually from being particularly fast.)
This isn't the first time we’ve actually seen Arctic Cooling’s Accelero technology. Not long ago we saw Inno3D’s iChill GeForce GTX 275 which shipped with a single-GPU version of the cooler. Although the Accelero Xtreme knocked a decent amount of degrees from the temperature hit by the reference design, even though it didn't really aid in achieving high overclocks.
Left: the contents of the box; right: underneath the cooler you can see the two GPU contact plates
This is the primary reason that we haven't done much work with graphics cards coolers in the past. It’s also true that with a sample base of one, it’s difficult to tell how much extra overclocking headroom the graphics card cooler is responsible for providing. In the world of overclocking, milage varies and even the most talented of tweakers can be out-clocked by a noob if the latter is lucky enough to get an especially lively chip.
However, with high-end graphics cards becoming increasingly hot and increasingly noisy we thought we’d get one of these 1ft-long bad boys in and see what it can do with one of the hottest graphics cards every to grace the shelves and chassis of eTailers and enthusiasts.
The Accelero Xtreme measures 96 x 295 x 54 mm (W x D x H)
The HD 4870 X2's firmware makes the fans run slowly by default. This helps stop card ruining your game when you're quietly sneaking around abandoned spaceships with demons around every corner. The downside is though that the GPUs run extremely hot. If your GPU is running hot then in extreme cases the PC can shut down, but you can also suffer from the GPU throttling, and you'll see your game take a hit to the frame rate as a result. For this reason, an aftermarket cooler can be a good idea especially if your case doesn't have huge amounts of airflow.