Graphics Card Coolers Investigated

Written by bit-tech Staff

May 19, 2010 | 08:19

Tags: #graphics-card-cooler #hsf #overheating #quiet-computing #stock-cooler

Companies: #akasa #alpenfohn #arctic-cooling #scythe #thermalright

Arctic Cooling Twin Turbo Pro

UK Price (as reviewed): £30.64 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $69.95 (ex. Tax)

Continuing Arctic Cooling's hall of shame, the Twin Turbo Pro is essentially a larger, dual-fan version of the L2 Pro. It wields two 92mm fans which can be set to run at 7V or 12V via either Molex cables or the 3-pin headers on your graphics card.

The contact plate is pre-applied with MX-2 TIM, but there was so much of it that when we removed the cooler, the GPU core area was caked in the stuff. The RAM and VRMs are cooled by separate heatsinks which also receive some of the air from the rear 92mm fan.

Graphics Card Coolers Investigated Arctic Cooling Twin Turbo Pro and and GTX Pro
Click to enlarge

Having seen James throw a Twin Turbo Pro across the lab in a fit of rage before, we had an inkling that mounting it would be a pain in the rear. The tiny mounting screws worked their horrible charms again as we tried to line them up between various spacers and the threaded holes on the heatsink. Again we had issues with the heatsinks which, despite using an eraser to clean the RAM and VRMs as Arctic Cooling recommends, kept falling off. We could only pray that we didn’t have to get the Dremel out again as we did with the L2 Pro.

Once installed on our HD 5870 we were rewarded with a very quiet cooler which appeared to perform brilliantly. With the fans at 12V, it managed a load delta T of just 37ºC whilst running Furmark, the lowest on test and just short of 30ºC better than the stock cooler. Strangely, the load delta T only increased by 2ºC to 39ºC when we used the 7V resistor cable that slows down the fans.

We then fired up Crysis, as Furmark only stresses the GPU, not the whole card. However, after a few minutes we were met the graphics went hazy, and when we rebooted the system, all we were greeted with was a series of beeps from the HD 5870 and no boot screen. The Twin Turbo Pro had killed our graphics card. Given that this is our second terrible experience with the Twin Turbo Pro we cannot stress how strongly enough you should avoid putting it anywhere near your HD 5870.

For Radeon HD 5870
  • Overall
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • 1/10
Score Guide

Arctic Cooling GTX Pro

UK Price (as reviewed): £44.99 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $76.16 (ex. Tax)

Arctic Cooling's enormous GTX Pro was better. We’ve previously tested the HD 4870 X2 version; this one is compatible with single-GPU GT 200-series graphics cards and is quite frankly enormous, which probably accounts for its heady price tag.

The GTX Pro comes with what can only be described as a mountain of bits with heatsinks for the RAM, VRMs and even the NVIO chip. Mounting the heatsink with its three 92mm fans was frustrating, with the four tiny mounting screws proving very fiddly. Once mounted, we found it took up three expansion slots and seriously encroached on a fourth.

Graphics Card Coolers Investigated Arctic Cooling Twin Turbo Pro and and GTX Pro
Click to enlarge

With the test system up and running, the fans were very quiet indeed. Even more exciting were the temperatures. Just as we were giving up hope of ever taming the GTX 280, we saw a load delta T of 47ºC - 16ºC lower than the stock Nvidia cooler. The GTX Pro remained inaudible outside our case throughout testing too.

The GTX Pro is large, tricky to mount and has too many pieces for our liking. We’re also concerned about whether the numerous small heatsinks will stay where they’re supposed to as some even fell off when we installed the card in the motherboard.

For GeForce GTX 280
  • Overall
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  • x
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  • x
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  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • 7/10
Score Guide
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