ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme 7970 GPU Cooler Review
The installation process is quite long and quite complex, and maybe even tedious. Be sure to leave a couple hours or so for a good installation. Also, make sure to go print out a copy of the instructions first or do the install in front of a computer. For some reason (ARCTIC’s green initiative) an instruction manual was not included. While I think this is fine for easy-to-install peripherals such as mice and keyboards, I’m not so sure this is a good idea on a GPU cooler. Unless you’re an expert at this type of install, you’ll need the installation guide.
Below are some of the highlights of the installation process:
- Remove the stock heatsink. This required the removal of a lot of screws, but other than that it wasn’t difficult.
- The second step is to clean off all the memory chips and the VRMs (Use a pencil eraser), and apply the memory/VRM heatsinks. This is probably the most time consuming and most challenging part of the entire install process. In order to do that, you’ll need to mix the glue, and apply it to the heatsinks. After that, just stick the heatsinks onto the memory/VRM chips and wait a couple hours for the glue to dry. Make sure not to rush this as you might run into heat issues if one of the heatsinks fall off. Unfortunately, the installation instructions on the ARCTIC website only instruct you on how to install the memory/VRM heatsinks on the HD 7970, so you’ll have to figure it out if you’ve got any of the other compatible GPUs. It’s not too hard though, just make sure you get everything and the glue actually sticks.
- Finally, you need to install the heatsink assembly itself onto the GPU. Unfortunately, this process is a bit more difficult than it needs to be, but if you do it a certain way, it’s not too bad. Of course, I had to find that out the hard way, but take a look at the picture below and I will explain…
As you can see, the backplate is attached via screws to the baseplate of the GPU cooler. There are no bolts at the end. Instead, the holes in the baseplate are threaded, which allow you to screw the screws in. Between the backplate and the GPU, you will need to place 4 spacers, which are very small and very easy to lose. Additionally, between the GPU and the baseplate, there are an additional 4 spacers that must be placed prior to screwing the entire setup together. As you can imagine, installation of this is quite difficult. Here you can also see a couple of the VRM heatsinks mounted. They’re attached only by the glue and not accessible after the heatsink is installed, so be sure they’re stuck on there good!
That being said, this the order of install I found to be the easiest to install the cooler:
- Lay the Accelero Xtreme 7970 down fan to the table first
- Place the 4 white spacers on the screw holes of the Accelero Xtreme 7970
- Slowly lay the GPU on top of the spacers, and make sure it’s balanced
- Place the 4 black spacers on the screw holes of the GPU
- Drop in the 4 screws and screw them in
As you can see here, once the massive cooler is installed, the entire GPU will take up 3 slots. An additional slot cover is included for additional case ventilation.
Finally, we have a frontal view of the GPU with the Accelero Xtreme 7970 installed. The monstrosity of a cooler covers the entire length of the GPU for maximum cooling performance.