The engineers from the EKL Alpenföhn have created quite a potent cooler. The combination of the 12 heatpipes and the large dissapation surface warrant excellent GPU cooling. The assembling is pretty straightforward and is over and done with in half an hour. Only the mounting of the fans needs some prefitting/pretesting, so it will blend in perfectly in your case.
Now comes the tricky part. Which fans to bundle with this cooler ? Those that want ultra silent operation might opt for 140mm coolers. The Peter VGA and 140mm Orange Wing boost combo we tested, was indeed a lot cooler than the stock cooler version. But the VRM temps worried me, as they got scorching hot. The GPU is optimally cooled via the heatpipes, though the airflow over the black VRM heatsinks seemed too poor to warrant safe operation. It is true that VRMs are made to operate under extreme conditions, but almost burning your finger on the back of the PCB is never a good sign. I can only base my observations on the totally naked PCB of the GTX480. The GTX480, with backplate still installed, might run cooler in the VRM area due to increased coolign surface. Similar outcome for other cards.
With the 120mm version of the Wing Boost fans installed, the GPU/VRM temps dropped significantly, but the noise level went a tiny bit the wrong way. Testing with two 120mm Corsair fans spinning at 2300rpm, even more performance gain was observed. Sadly the noise generated by the latter, was far from pleasant.
Adding a 3rd or even 4th fan, to blow from the side onto the card could help to cool down the PCB/VRM area more. But looking at the size of this particular setup, I hardly see anyone installing them. Too bad this setup is so huge, making most motherboards loose SLI and/or Crossfire capability, unless you opt for the cooling setup mentioned on the bottom of page 3. This is one of the major negative points of these big aftermarket cooling solutions. Those that look for max performance or near silent operation with a single GPU will surely find what they are looking for.
Besides the size , the weight distribution is another concern. If ever I had to transport my PC to eg a LAN party, I would remove the videocard. Believe me I learned the hard way, one perfectly good working videocard was totally messed up, when arriving at home. Only good enough for the thrash bin...
The Alpenföhn Peter VGA is a very efficient cooling powerhog. Bundle it with high speed/flow fans and your GPU will run as cool as it will ever can, on air cooling. Beating the Arctic solution with over 10°C at overclocked load is brilliant. Stellar performance can be yours. For those that want a bit more silence, bundle it with either slower spinning 120mm fans or humoungus 140mm versions. Only downside of the former setup mentioned is the loss in cooling performance. But it's the best of two worlds : improving cooling and yet making it a lot quieter than the stock or reference solution. Just keep an eye on the VRMs at all times !
Retailing at 55 euros without fans is a very acceptable price level. Looking at the performance and build quality, the maximum GPU compatibility, this cooler has got you covered. It's the choice of the optional fans that can really increase the total cost. The guys from Caseking.de have already sorted out a few possible bundles at this page.
Due to it's high cooling capabilities I award the Alpenföhn Peter VGA the Madshrimps Performance Award
- great cooling performance.
- multi GPU compatibility, hoping for 560 and 570 fix soon.
- good adhesive and fast curing thermal glue.
- Up to 4 coolers possible for massive air cooling.
- Amount/type of fans chosen drastically increase the price tag.
I wish to thank sir Vahid from Caseking.de for the Alpenföhn review samples