We have reviewed many ARCTIC products in the last year, and today we are looking at their latest cooler, the Accelero Twin Turbo 690. As the name would suggest this is specifically designed for the current NVIDIA GTX690 flagship graphics solution. Is this worth the hefty $169.95 asking price?
The Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler is designed to reduce the noise and drop the temperatures of the high end GTX690 and as the image above highlights, it is based around two large 120mm fans.
For the purposes of the review today, we need a ‘test’ subject. We are using an ASUS GTX690, which you can buy from Overclockers for £839.99 inc vat.
There is no such thing as a ‘cheap’ GTX690, but with prices up to £999.99 inc vat today, the ASUS GTX690 seems like somewhat of a bargain. Yes, I can’t believe I said that either.
The specifications of this card are:
- Core Clock: 915MHz (GK104) x2
- Core Boost Clock: 1019MHz x2
- Innovative thermal design: Vapour Chamber (Quieter & Cooler than previous generation)
- Memory: 4096MB GDDR5 (2x 2GB)
- Memory Clock: 6008MHz (Effective)
- Memory Interface: 512-Bit (2x 256-Bit)
- Processing Cores: 3072 (2x 1536)
- Bus Type: PCI-Express GEN 3.0 (Backwards compatible)
- Display Connectors: 3x Dual-Link DVI-I, & 1x Mini-Displayport
So we can already see that this cooler is improved on the reference solution. Can the ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690 outperform the ASUS solution?
The ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler ships in a white box with a high resolution picture of the product on the front.
The bundle includes a black and white user instruction manual, and all the necessary mounting screws and spacers. We will look at this closely as we install the cooler.
The first process is to remove the cooler from the GTX690 which takes around five minutes. There are more than 20 screws on this card, so it takes a little time to remove. After the cooler is removed, it is best storing it along with all the screws. Use one of the little plastic bags supplied with the ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690.
The ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler is a substantial design with two large, white, 120mm fans set behind a black plastic shroud. These fans are fluid dynamic bearing models with a power consumption of 5.04 watts.
The cooler itself measures 288mm x 138mm x 50mm (LxWxH). It weighs 805 grams. There are a total of 10 x 6mm heatpipes split into two sections for each of the GTX690 cores.
We need to open the screws and spacers accessory kit. There are four white spacers at the bottom of this picture above …. we need them first. These are slightly longer than the other spacers.
Some of the previous ARCTIC GPU cooler reviews have frustrated me a little. The one stage of the install process I didn’t like was the ‘adhering sticky tape to the spacers’. This was a horrific section of the review process, which drove me nuts. Thankfully ARCTIC have taken feedback on board and have preapplied the sticky tape to the spacers.
The image above shows four spacers which need attached to the four central middle screw holes. Take a little time lining these up from a viewpoint directly above. It will only take a couple of minutes if you do it properly. It is imperative that you don’t slap these down ‘roughly in place’, as accuracy is very important.
When these four are adhered to the central plate, just double check they are perfectly aligned over the screw holes underneath.
Next, we need to position spacers over the other threads. These aren’t adhered in place, but the video card is installed upside down, so they won’t fall out of place anyway. ARCTIC have positioned tiny metal risers over all of these holes to hold the spacers in place without user intervention.
ARCTIC supply several packs of adhesive thermal pads, which are positioned over all the VRM and memory positions. These are really easy to work with as they can be positioned easily multiple times without problem. All of the pads are sized to fit the indentations on the cooler, so its a very easy process.
When the pads are all in place, the underside of the cooler should look like the above. No thermal glue is needed for this install which means switching back to the reference cooler at a later date is easy enough.
While the reference cooler has two fan headers for the ASUS card, the ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler only needs attached to the four pin header. Shown above.
It is worth remembering to remove the two plastic covers on the copper cores on each side of the card. If you forget, it could be disastrous when you boot up the system!
ARCTIC recommend you use the little insulation strips to cover circuit components. There is really no need to use these as the card spacing wouldn’t touch any of the sensitive components. If you want to be safe, then run the insulation strips across the circuitry close to the VRMS on the board.
ARCTIC include a tube of their high grade MX4 paste. This thermal compound performs well, but it is also a thinner consistency and easily spread.
No need to use all of the thermal paste, the container has more than enough for both cores. We had almost one third of the paste still left in the container when we finished. ARCTIC suggest placing the paste directly on the larger copper blocks of the cooler itself, but that can tend to create more mess.
The central section of the ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler can be moved up and down on an axis. It is important to line the central plate level with the rest of the card.
Flip the GTX680 PCB over onto the cooler as shown above. Look directly down onto the PCB and check that all the screw holes are lining up with the cooler threads underneath. Remember, the middle plate section of the cooler itself can be moved a little for fine adjustments.
ARCTIC made a mistake in the instructions for this section, in relation to the size of the screws – mixing up Screws (A) with Screws (B). The four long screws in the bottom of the image above should be used for the middle four holes, as they are able to reach the raised block. The remainder of the smaller screws are used in all the remaining positions.
Be sure to use the supplied cardboard spacers between the head of the screws and the PCB. This will help to stop any potential shorting problems when you boot the system.
We advise you to attach a screw first on either side of the card without screwing any of them in tight. This allows for fine adjustment of the positioning until at least 4 or 5 screws are in place on either side.
When they are all in position, then tighten in place moving from one side of the card to the other in turn. This negates excessive pressure on one side of the PCB at any given time.
There is no need to overtighten these, so don’t overdo it.
The cooler is much larger than the GTX690 PCB, so it overhangs along the top edge as shown above.
We firstly tested with the reference ASUS cooler installed on the GTX690, recording the results to use as an all important baseline. The card was then disassembled and the ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler installed. The room environment was maintained at 24c throughout all the tests.
Firstly we checked temperatures after booting the system and letting it idle at the desktop for 15 minutes.
When idle, the ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler improves on the reference ASUS cooling solution by 7c, dropping the temperatures from 31c to 24c.
Next, we test with Furmark, using the intensive stress test for a solid 15 minutes, then taking a snapshot of the results.
For ‘real world’ gaming results, we let the card idle for 15 minutes then play Max Payne 3 for an hour, recording the maximum temperature during the playing session.
There is a substantial improvement after installing the ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler. Load temperatures when gaming drop from 74c to 61c, a fantastic result for the GTX690.
The Asus GTX690 cooler performs well, dropping temperatures from 81c to 60c in 12 seconds. After this the fan spins down considerably to reduce noise and it takes a full 2 minutes to return to idle.
The ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler by comparison reduces temperatures from 69c to 40c in 7 seconds and then to 24c in 17 seconds. The 10 heatpipes and dual fan configuration are able to disperse the heat much quicker.
The ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler fans spin at 30% when idle, translating to around 870 rpm. When gaming, the fans spin to 1,000 rpm, generating 32.2 dBa noise. In Furmark, they increase speed further, to 1,200 rpm which generates 33.1 dBa noise. Still very quiet.
The ASUS GTX690 cooler fan spins at 1,150 rpm when idle (30%). This rises to 1,900 rpm when gaming, generating 35.4 dBa noise. When stressed in Furmark, the fan spins higher to 2,000 rpm (60%). Noise increases to just under 36 dBa. This is also a really good result for a ‘reference’ cooler.
The Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler is another impressive product from ARCTIC and there is no doubt that it improves on the ASUS GTX690 cooler … already a very capable design.
Compared to some of the other products we have reviewed from ARCTIC, the Twin Turbo 690 is a much easier install process, taking around 30 minutes. The company have clearly listened to feedback and have pre-adhered the sticky tape to the spacers, which was the only part of the process that I didn’t think was very intelligently handled.
We are also pleased to see that the Accelero Twin Turbo 690 cooler can be easily removed, if you want to sell the card at a later date. There is no dependance on thermal glue this time, so no risk of damaging the components when you return your £900 investment to its default state.
The Accelero Twin Turbo 690 Cooler is a well made product, incorporating high grade fans which are able to reduce operating temperatures by between 13-15c.
The clever adoption of two large 120mm fans, means that the company are able to tune the PWM profile to act non aggressively. This has a positive bearing on noise emissions, dropping to almost inaudible levels when gaming.
This product faces a considerable challenge however and it is one that ARCTIC can do very little about. Nvidia partners are already releasing GTX690 cards with very capable coolers on board.
It is also worth pointing out the extreme cost of investment for this solution.
A GTX690 costs around £900, although Overclockers in the UK seem to have a good deal on this ASUS card, retailing at £839.99 inc vat. The ARCTIC Accelero Twin Turbo 690 costs $170, or £107 inc vat. This will push the final price to around the £950 mark.
At the end of the day only you can decide if this is worth the cost.
- fantastic performance.
- very easy to install.
Kitguru says: Another great cooler from the ARCTIC team, but pride of ownership will set you back around £1,000 including the video card.