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Ice-cold Temperature Killa: Arctic Accelero Hybrid II-120 GPU Cooler Review
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Arctic Accelero Hybrid II-120 GPU Cooler
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by J.D. Kane on July 21, 2014 in Water-Cooling

There’s no question about it: AIO water cooling solutions are here to stay. They’ve been around for CPUs; but what about GPUs? Arctic has that base covered, and it sent us its Accelero Hybrid II-120 with the unspoken promise that it is superior to any stock cooling solution. But just how good is it?

Introduction

Let’s face it, folks.

No matter how much we might all deny it, we’re all greedy. In our PC enthusiast heart of hearts, we are possessed of an avarice for performance. Sure, some of you may deny it. Some of you might even say, “Hey, I’m happy with what I’ve got. I don’t need more frames-per-second,” or “I’m not chasing those last few degrees Centigrade lower of maximum load temperatures.”

You ain’t foolin’ no one.

I mean, how else would you explain that PC enthusiast syndrome known as “upgrade-itis”? Let’s just be honest here: Isn’t this eternal quest for bigger, better, faster, cooler at the very core of our involvement in this wonderful hobby?

Let’s talk about cooling. In my earliest years as a PC enthusiast, I was obsessed with lowering my components’ temperatures – especially at load – through any means available. With my Opteron CPUs, that even entailed removing the IHS (integrated heat spreader). The payoff, of course, was spectacular, with maximum load temperatures dropping as much as 20ÂșC. That ultimately meant that I could overclock my Opterons like crazy.

And this was all before I got bit by the water-cooling bug.

These days, I’m a dedicated custom water cooling enthusiast. As such, I must admit to having a bit of a snobbish attitude towards the modern trend for AIO (all-in-one) water cooling solutions. But cooling equipment solutions provider Arctic has given me something of an attitude adjustment.

Behold the Accelero Hybrid II-120.

Arctic’s Accelero Hybrid II-120 is an AIO GPU water cooling solution. Unlike one of Arctic’s competitor’s products which I reviewed earlier this year, the Accelero Hybrid II-120 is a complete solution in one box. The competitor’s product, if you’ll recall, is an adapter that enables CPU-mounted AIO water-coolers to be mounted on a GPU. The Accelero Hybrid II-120, on the other hand, has everything you need to improve your GPU’s temperatures.

Let’s have a look at it, then, shall we?

Arctic Accelero Hybrid II GPU Cooler - Package Contents

Here’s everything that comes in the box.

All told, it’s a comprehensive package. Of course you have in the integrated water pump + cooling block + radiator unit. There’s also the 120mm Arctic fan; it’s designed to be connected to your GPU’s 4-pin connector. Also pictured are a couple of baggies for installation hardware. The light blue rectangle is thermal interface material to be used on your GPU’s memory chips and voltage regulators. The big black item on the bottom of the picture is the backside-mounted heat sink, while, partially hidden at the very top is an L-bracket (Arctic calls it a Graphics Card Holder in its instruction manual) that’s used to stabilize the video card installation in a conventional PC chassis. As an aside, I won’t be using this since I’ll be installing this on my test bench, where the motherboard is installed horizontally. Also, Arctic has included a syringe of its highly-regarded MX-4 thermal interface material. Finally, there is a good instruction manual.

Arctic Accelero Hybrid II GPU Cooler - Block and Radiator

Here’s a close-up of the integrated pump + block + radiator unit. The water pump is powered by a 4-pin Molex connector.

Arctic Accelero Hybrid II GPU Cooler - Cooler and GPU Heatsink

This shot shows the bottom of the cooling block as well as the backside heat sink. These represent the bulk of the Accelero Hybrid II-120’s cooling power. The backside heat sink in the foreground is a fairly heavy piece of metal; therefore, when the Accelero Hybrid II-120 is installed in a PC chassis, I highly recommend you use the Graphics Card Holder to help support the graphics card. You wouldn’t want the whole kit and caboodle supported just by the GPU’s PCI-Express connection, for sure.

Page List:
Top

1. Introduction
2. Installation
3. Testing & Final Thoughts


  • Guest

    Those numbers are impressive

  • Tom Roeder

    Those numbers are impressive

    • JD Kane

      Aye.

      Really hammers home the idea that water cooling is so much better than air cooling, IMO.

      • Tom Roeder

        Air is a much better insulator than a conductor!

  • Vaughn Plata

    I was looking at this before but decided to go with the Kraken G10+ Corsair H55 setup instead. It was cheaper and if I decide to upgrade to a bigger pump and rad like the H90 I can. I suppose you maybe able to with this but i’m not sure what kinda of compatibility it offers.

    • Jason Chapman

      Kraken G10 works great! I have one on my R9 290X (Kraken X40 cooler) and it’s tamed it to under 60C while mining :D

      • JD Kane

        I think the Accelero Hybrid II-120 satisfies a slightly different compared to the Kraken G10. The Kraken is an adapter unit that allows you to use a CPU-deployed CPU AIO cooler. The Accelero Hybrid II-120, on the other hand, is a true GPU AIO solution.

        Apples to oranges, perhaps.

        • Vaughn Plata

          The need is cooling I don’t see a difference. What is a true GPU AIO solution?

          • JD Kane

            Hi Vaughn.

            The difference is in the what, not the how. The two products are different in that, with the Kraken G10 it’s assumed that you’ve bought it because you already have an AIO water cooler for your CPU that you’ll now re-purpose for your video card. The Kraken G10 is NOT an AIO solution for your GPU by itself, in other words. The Kraken G10 is merely an adapter.

            The Accelero Hybrid II-120, on the other hand, is an AIO water cooling solution designed specifically for GPUs. You don’t need anything else to use it on your video card.

            Here’s how I look at the difference between the two: The Kraken G10 is an adapter unit that allows you to use an AIO water cooler designed for CPUs, while the Accelero Hybrid II-120 is an AIO water cooler adapted for use purely on a GPU.

      • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

        Sub-60C on that card at full load is amazing. I love the Kraken.

        • Jason Chapman

          I was very impressed by it, even being my first GPU under water!

          the VRM temps were not nearly as impressive as the GPU, however, dropped 106C max down to 92C on VRM1. I did add heatsinks to the VRMs.

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            92C sounds painful, even though I’m sure it’s within spec. I’ve pretty much decided that the next time I overhaul my rig, I’m going to adopt a solution like the Kraken or Accelero. I don’t overclock, but I do appreciate low temperatures, and these coolers can make an incredible difference. I really wish these solutions were more popular long ago.

          • Jason Chapman

            yeah, 92C is not exactly what I had in mind either. there’s just so much voltage flowing through the card for days or weeks on end (while mining) that extreme heat is unavoidable.

            I believe the VRMs on Hawaii are spec ‘d to 105C so I’m a comfortable enough margin below that.

            my next build I’ll do my first full custom-loop, but I’m a couple years away from that. still getting my feet wet with AIOs (pun definitely intended) :)

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            I’d love to do a full custom loop, but I suffer from a disease called “extreme laziness”. It’s for that reason that AIO coolers like this are so great. They might still take a bit of effort to install, but not like a full-blown setup where many more variables are introduced.

            As for your VRM temps, I am going to assume they don’t get that hot when you’re simply gaming? Mining tends to push cards far harder than any game ever would.

          • Jason Chapman

            haha, where your laziness fails you; my wallet refuses to fund another upgrade anytime in the near future.

            yes, the VRM and GPU are both significantly cooler while “just” gaming. I run 1050/1500 (core/mem) for mining and 1100/1400 for gaming so it’s not a direct comparison, but core temps stay around 47C and VRMs at about 60C (pushing 1440p)

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            Whoa, so just to make sure I am following, you are saying that your VRM hits 92C while mining, but stick to 60C while gaming? If so, that’s an incredible difference.

            And yes, Furmark is bad for that. It’s the reason both AMD and NVIDIA designed their cards to spot a deliberate overkill workload and throttle the card if need be. If I recall, Furmark was the exact name NVIDIA mentioned (at the 680 launch).

          • Jason Chapman

            yes sir! “tames” really is that best way to put it regarding Hawaii haha idles at 38C core, 55C VRM with “pseudo push-pull” on the Kraken X40 (included NZXT FX-140 PWM fan and a Corsair AF140 Quiet Edition). pseudo because the AF140 doesn’t honestly do much for performance. it’s just in there for the aesthetics of matching the rest of my fans :)

            https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8di0b5mIKEYa19DSjN6d0FDQjg&usp=sharing

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            Sir, that rig is gorgeous. Seriously, I’m impressed. Do you keep it on a stand so that you can admire it all the time, or is it hidden away next to the desk?

            On the VRM topic, I am still blown away that mining increases the temperature so much, but really, it -is- understandable given the extra stress that goes on the cards. I wonder how many people are running them that hard this summer and are sweating their assess off sitting at their PCs? :D

          • Jason Chapman

            it sits on a bookshelf next to my desk, gotta show of that side panel on the Corsair 760T!

            https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8di0b5mIKEYa19DSjN6d0FDQjg&usp=sharing

            and, oh yes I have to have the A/C running in the summer haha sometimes triple-digit temperatures here in NJ and that 3000RPM NZXT fan gets LOUD

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            That’s the kind of setup I’d love to have, if I had the room for it. Gotta cram a test bench or two in here somehow ;-) How many hours do you think it took to “perfect” that build?

            I know all about the temperature issue. I have an A/C 2 feet from me and I still sweat like a pig while using this PC and benchmarking the other :S

          • Jason Chapman

            I don’t even know if I could give a guess at how long it took to finish haha I did it over 2 weekends but a lot of the time was spent on painting the polycarbonate panels. probably about 8-12 hours in prep, 4 for assembly and another 2 for cable management. I went to extra length to make everything as tidy as I could, it’s by far the neatest case I’ve ever built. so about 18 hrs all together?

            comparatively, I can throw together a general-purpose workstation in about 45 mins haha

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            Time well-spent, I think ;-) And same, unless I built a mini-ITX machine with a full-tower chassis…

          • Jason Chapman

            haha, I saw that. it looked pretty funny!

  • Jason Chapman

    how come there are no pictures of the heat spreader installed? how does this cool the VRMs? core temps only tell part of the story..

    • JD Kane

      Hi Jason. The VRMs and RAM chips are cooled by that massive backside cooler. Like I wrote in the review, at first I felt a good degree of trepidation about this design, as I’m used to the concept of having of everything being cooled by direct contact as they are by the stock cooler.

      At the risk of grenading my test card, though, I did test the effectiveness of the backside heatsink on the VRAM chips and VRMs by running MSI Kombustor for extended periods. The test card ran flawlessly even three hours into the test at maximum load.

      I agree that GPU core temps only tell part of the story, but as also noted in the review, I didn’t have the ability to measure the graphics RAM chip temperatures or VRM temps. I’ll have to somehow redress this in the future. However, I think the extended torture test strongly suggests that Arctic’s design concept is sound and effective, even if it’s quite unusual and runs against the grain compared to how we’re used to seeing cooling of the graphics RAM and VRMs.

      Thanks for the comment. :)

      • Jason Chapman

        yeah, I’m very put-off by the idea of a heatsink/backplate to passively cool my VRMs, which are often harder to keep cool than the GPU core. still an interesting design, and I suppose I have to admit it is innovative! just wish I knew more about the actual effectiveness

        thanks for the review and response! :)

        • JD Kane

          Believe me, I was a bit stunned when I realized there was zero direct contact with the cooling equipment and those very hot bits. But then I really thought about things and decided – rightly or wrongly – that Arctic would never risk its own reputation and be possibly be liable for damage to a whole slew of people with damaged video cards if the concept was just so fundamentally flawed.

          It took a bit of a leap of faith on my part, honestly, to run this test on the GTX680 (it’s still a great video card, even if it’s no longer a top-of-the-line model). But I wanted to remain consistent with prior data (i.e., the Kraken G10 review I did earlier this year). So I bit the bullet.

          You’re right, though, as well in pointing out that this is a bulky physical package and will take up a lot of expansion slot space. That’s something I’ll be more mindful of in future reviews. (I’m not accustomed to thinking in terms of multi-GPU set-ups, I have to confess, since it’s been eons since I’ve run one.)

          Thanks again for reading!

      • Vaughn Plata

        JD Kane,

        Does GPU z not show the VRM temps?

        • JD Kane

          Negative.

          I’m actually thinking that perhaps my test card may not have those sensors active. I have another GTX680 (also a reference card, but by another manufacturer) in my primary machine, and on that card it’s got all sorts of temperature data showing up on AIDA64.

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            I am wondering if NVIDIA disables those sensors on reference cards or something. There are no additional sensors on a 780 Ti reference card I have here, either.

          • Eyal
          • JD Kane

            Hi Eyal.

            I’ll have to try this tonight sometime, though I still think the sensors themselves are deactivated.

            I’ll report back what I find.

            Thanks again.

          • Eyal

            I’ve tested it once more and found no temp readings on the NVRAM, I mixed up the voltage readings – sorry for misleading.

          • JD Kane

            Haha, no worries.

            I’m pretty certain that, with certain partners (EVGA, in this case), some of the sensors aren’t active. I have basically an identical card (from Zotac) in my primary PC, and in that card all sensors are active.

            Thanks for the update, though.

  • Eyal

    Would it be possible to add the Kraken G10 to this setup?

    Thanks.

    • JD Kane

      I don’t think so, Eyal. The Accelero Hybrid II-120 and the Kraken G10 both use their own proprietary, mutually-exclusive retention systems to the video card. It’s either one or the other.

      Besides, even you could somehow install both on one video card, that would make for one insanely heavy video card set-up. That’s easily the heaviest video card installation I can think of. I’m not sure if that’s all that healthy hanging off a vertically-installed motherboard.

      • Eyal

        I’m just thinking what could be added to the other side to be beneficial for the cooling of the mem chips considering I need to add heatsinks to them independently of the Accelero purchase of the .

        Cheers for the response.

  • Eyal

    Hey JD,
    I’ve just installed my Hybrid II and wanted to know if you have an idea as to what I’m experiencing:

    Idle ranges between 48-53 which seems ok but once I run anything that engages the GPU – temp spikes to 99 and my machine turns off.
    Any ideas? , I have the R9 290X.

    Thanks for any help.