The installation procedure can be tricky sometimes and certainly needs some attention. In case of the Accelero Xtreme 8800, everything went just great although I have to mention a few things which you should be aware off. To begin with, don't forget that the uninstall of your stock 8800 heatsink might take some time, up to 15 minutes if done right. The stock heatsink leaves residue on the GPU, memory, PWM and NVIO chips, this must be removed properly before you can even try to install any of the components of the Accelero Xtreme. The PWM heatsinks come with pre-applied adhesive pads, if the PWM chips are not cleaned well enough, the PWM heatsinks might loose their grip which eventually might harm your video card. I've used an industrial electronics cleaning product, you might find some appropriate stuff around too, anything based on alcohol should be sufficient for the cleaning job.
The PWM heatsink installation is easy to do, you only need to expose the thermal adhesive layer by removing a plastic protection layer, then position the heatsink on the right place, and use light force the make sure that the heatsinks hold tight to the PWM chips. In the picture above you can also see how the PWM fans can be powered via the onboard fan connector, there is no need to use any molex connectors or mainboard fan connectors, and something we haven't seen yet for GF8800 heatsinks.
The heatsink is tightened to the video via 6 mounting holes/screws, install takes only few seconds and can be compared with the installation of the standard 8800 heatsinks. As I've told you on previous page, the GPU, memory and NVIO chip are being cooled by a nearly full cover heatsink. The memory chips need thick thermal pads in order to get decent thermal contact with the heatsink base, for the NVIO chip Arctic Cooling added a thinner thermal pad. Unfortunately, the NVIO thermal pad was made too thin and I noticed how it did not even touch the large heatsink base.
I contacted Arctic Cooling and it seems this is a known issue with early review samples, they forwarded me with 2 new pads and those worked out just great. Just to be clear, retail samples will not have this issue. The installed heatsink will add light pressure to the thermal pads which makes sure that you'll never loose them during the heaviest operations.
As you can see, the size of this cooling device really is huge, far greater then the stock 8800GTS heatsink. In length, the GTS is now nearly as long as the 8800GTX/Ultra, but also notices how the fan holder makes your video card a triple slot solution which may not be compatible with every SLI mainboard out there.
Another point I've notice after the installation is that although that the heatsink is very large in size, it does not come with an appropriate way to get rid of the heated air. Where the standard 8800GTS heatsink sends all the heated air straight out of the pc housing, the Accelero Xtreme leaves everything inside so that other components might become few degrees warmer. What they did add was a PCI slot bracket with ventilation holes, this way the fans are fed with cool air from outside the pc housing, the only downside is that it does not have a way of installing optional dust filters so you might collect quite some dust inside your case over time.
In the end, no complex mounting systems and nothing too advanced is what makes this heatsink easy enough to install right for from the first time, it required nearly no skills and even those who have never replaced a heatsink before should be well able to get through the installation procedure. The additional size might be a limiting factor for some, I'm lucky then I had so much free space in my test housing but keeping the GF8800GTX installation problems in mind not everybody might be able to install this heatsink on their video cards.
Okay, we've waited long enough, it's about time we dive into the performance charts right? Read on ->