Accelero S2 Installation on nVidia 8800GT

In an effort to modernise my gaming rig, I purchased a second nVidia 8800GT to compliment my first.  Benchmarks and reviews indicate that this setup yields comparable performance to many of today’s more expensive offerings.  This is a log of the installation and testing of the cards.

The Accelero S2 is an aftermarket heatsink used to provide additional cooling to video cards.  Although it was originally intended for lower-end cards, the greater surface area is able to cool an nVidia 8800GT adequately.  It has 2 heat pipes routed through the base of the sink and bend into a U-shape, protruding through a massive array of fins.  The kit also includes 8 RAM sinks.  This is enough for the RAM modules, although you’re on your own for cooling the voltage regulation sections of the card.  The Accelero S1 heatsink is physically larger than the S2, and includes additional heatsinks for cooling the FETs.  Luckily, I had spare Swiftech MCP15 heat sinks available from a previous project.  3 additional sinks per card were needed.

The nVidia 8800GT is a well performing video card, however suffers from several problems.  The 8800GT’s single slot cooler is the anemic cooling solution.  Additionally, firmware on earlier cards spun up the fan too slowly, resulting in overheating and unstable systems.  Some vendors released firmware updates.  Subsequent G92 revisions(The 9800GT et al.) included a more powerful fan and tuned firmware.

The unwitting test subject.

Why there you are, hiding under that big piece of plastic.

Cleaning is very important.  The heatsinks all come with thermal adhesive on them, so any residue is going to make them slippery.  The RAM and FET sinks are HARD to keep in place!

RAM sinks mounted.  Note the uncooled FETs.  Cool those or you will kill your card.

Included hardware.  The plastic bits are for keeping the weight distribution even along the entire card.

For the 8800GT, we use the middle mounting holes drilled into the base.  There is an adhesive on the bottom to keep the clear spacers in place while mounting.

I found that the best mounting method is to insert the washers and screws into the final mounting holes on the card, then aligning the card on top of the heat sink.  Glance at the mating from the side, and through the top holes.  Fasten the screws near the PCI-E fingers.

Initially I thought that the fins were spot-welded together so I would need to cut two fins apart to fit an SLI connector inside.  Thankfully this is not the case.  By simply pulling two fins apart, one can simply slide the cable between two fins and push the connector onto the fingers of the card.

The final mounted heatsink.  Note the other 8800GT behind it ready for some SLI action!

Both cards mounted and connected.  There is clearance below the bottom card for another card(2 slots down).

During the course of this review, this cooler inadequately cooled one of my two SLI’d 8800GTs and caused overheating, destroying the card.  Since a replacement was not available for the review to continue, I had to RMA the card.  Idle temperatures dropped from 52c to 40c.  Additionally, load temperatures dropped from 85c to 65c.