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Arctic Accelero Xtreme IV 280(X) Review Edit

Ratings
Overall:
by WilliamGayde
Pros Cons
  • Great performance, Very quiet, Wide range of compatibility
  • Complex installation, Takes up 4 slots, Crossfire bridge can get very tight
The Accelero Xtreme IV is the successor to the Accelero Xtreme III. The Xtreme IV adds adds a metal backplate to help with heat dissipation. This product comes out at the same time as ARCTIC's Hybrid cooler is also updated. For a review of the Accelero Hybrid II-120, head here.

The front of the box boasts an impressive 6 year warranty. It also highlights the fact that the installation is never permanent.


The side shows some tech specs as well as compatibility information. This model is only compatible with AMD devices. Arctic sells the exact same cooler with Nvidia compatibility as well.


The back side shows some comparisons to standard coolers as well as key improvements the product makes.


Included in the box is the cooler, a support bracket, the backplate, a fan adapter, mounting hardware, and some documentation.


Here are some closeups of the unit. The front features 3 fans each covered with a plastic grill. The fins are rather dense and are on both sides of the GPU.


The unit contains 5 heat pipes which run throughout the whole length of the cooler.



The included back cooler is very sturdy. It will help cool the board and move additional heat away from the GPU.



Now on to the review.

Performance 5/5
The performance of the Xtreme IV is outstanding. It is quieter and cooler than any other air cooler I have ever tested. The addition of the back cooler helps increase heat dissipation. It move additional heat away from the GPU which can then be blown away with a case fan. The three fans can be run at a very high speed before they become audible. This allows for much cooler temperatures. Here are the performance numbers. I tested on a non-reference Sapphire Vapor-X 280X at stock clocks and at a medium overclock.


The results would be even more outstanding if they were compared to a reference cooler. The only criticism I would have is that there are no front VRM or RAM heatsinks. I guess the heat can be dissipated from the back with the backplate, but this is an all-out cooler so I would have expected all-out cooling.


Usability / Installation 4/5
For my review I tested on a Sapphire Vapor-X 280X, but the installation will be the same for all cards. The included instructions only give a very brief overview. You must read between the lines and use the pictures to figure out what you need to do.


The first step is obviously to remove the included cooler and wipe away any thermal paste.


Next you will want to apply the blue thermal pads to the backs of the RAM, VRM, and anywhere else that gets hot. Do not apply to the GPU. Use the included black foam piece instead.


Then locate the plastic sheet and cut around the thermal pads you applied. You want the thermal pads to make direct contact with the metal backplate.


Next you will want to screw in the 4 screws into the heatsink. Be sure to check the manual for the correct holes to use.


Then align the 4 cutouts on the backplate with the 4 holes around the GPU. Push the screws trough and secure them with a flat piece and a nut.


Connect the fan and you are all done. You will probably want to add some of the clips to keep the backplate even and secure.


It seems difficult at first, but it is easy to get the hang of.


One small complaint that I had was that the addition of the backplate makes SLI/Crossfire bridges extremely difficult to install. It can be done but it isn't easy.





Minus the installation difficulty and the few small issues I found, ARCTIC's Accelero Xtreme IV 280(X) is a great cooler. If you have 4 slots free for a normal 2 slot card then this will work great. You will definitely want to make sure your case has good airflow since the backplate gets very hot. Depending on the size of the card, you may also wish to install the support bracket since the cooler weighs a ton. This card is the best performing VGA air cooler I have ever seen. If you can afford it, buy it.
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