VGA Cooler Roundup on ATI X1900 Series

Cooling/VGA & Other Cooling by piotke @ 2006-11-13

We test 4 after market VGA coolers from Thermalright, Zalman, Sytrin and Arctic Cooling on a hot running Powercolor ATI X1900 GT. Which one keeps the card the coolest and how quiet can it be done? Find out in this group test.

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Introduction & Test Setup

VGA Cooler Group Test on ATI X1900 Series

In March 2006 we tested a selection of popular air cooled heatsinks for VGA cards, many of those products could be installed on NVIDIA and ATI products. Back then we tested the coolers on a 7800GT from NVIDIA and came up with a short-list of products to buy.

Today we go back to the test bench with the same collection of coolers, swapping the Accelero X1 for its ATI’s brother (X2) and adding the long awaited Thermalright V1-Ultra.

Testing in a different environment with different hardware might change the outcome of the test results compared to last time. Let’s find out.

Madshrimps (c)

Thermalright V1 Ultra
Weight: 310gr Material: AlCu Fan Speed: 2500rpm
Arctic Cooling Accelero X2
Weight: 260gr Material: AlCu Fan Speed: 500-2000rpm
Zalman VF900-Cu
Weight: 185gr Material: Cu Fan Speed: 1350-2400rpm
Sytrin KuFormula VF1 Plus
Weight: 242gr Material: AlCu Fan Speed: 1550-3150rpm

Test Setup

The case and system used for this test is quite different from the last roundup, the small Antec Lanboy has been replaced by a larger Sunbeamtech Silent Storm. The small case used one 80mm output; the Silent Storm was set up with 1x120mm fan in-take.

Piotke's Test Setup
Madshrimps (c)
CPU AMD AM2 3500+
Cooling Zalman CNPS9500-CU
Mainboard DFI NF590 SLI-M2R/G
Memory 2 * 1024 Mb OCZ PC7200 EPP
  • Powercolor X1900 GT
  • Sytrin 460W PSU
  • Maxtor 80GB IDE HDD

  • in-take temperature was measured at 27°C for all tests (tests were done at the end of August), but temp fluctuations, different mounting and user error can account up to 1-3°C of inaccuracy in the obtained results. Please keep this in mind when looking at the results. Each heatsink was tested repeatedly; if I got questionable results the test was restarted.
  • Noise was recorded approximately 50cm away from the front of the closed case, ambient without VGA cooler running was 41.7dBA.
  • The VGA card was stressed by running Real-Time HDR continuously until temperatures.
  • Arctic Silver kindly send us their “Lumière” thermal testing compound which has the same color as Ceramique, but only a break in time of 30min!
  • Arctic Silver’s ArctiClean was used to clean off thermal paste between tests.

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    Comment from h1gh @ 2007/05/12
    Due to space constraints (no free PCI slots in my system), I was interested if you could re-test the VF1 WITHOUT the included fan with a 120mm fan mounted on the rear of the case (i have a Arctic-Cooling ACF12).

    My system setup is similar to the Piotke's Test Setup picture on Page 1 of your review except my Zalman blow air directly to the back of the case.

    Comment from jmke @ 2007/05/13
    these products and test card are no longer available as we have to make room for new product reviews & gear; sorry :/
    Comment from Rutar @ 2007/05/13
    I still think TR cripples their cooler by supplying a crappy fan. It is just asking to ghetto mount a 1000 RPM 120mm Silent Eagle.
    Comment from jmke @ 2007/05/13
    TR doesn't supply fans with their HSF
    Comment from Rutar @ 2007/05/13
    "The included 80mm fan is low profile (15mm) and spins at 2500rpm@12v."

    Comment from jmke @ 2007/05/13
    for retail channel they sometimes do, but if you check their product line-up you'll see that practically none come with fan. I think the low profile is not a bad choice as it limits the risk of it not fitting inside your case.