Arctic Cooler on stock 5870 - pics

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DanielCoffey, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #1
    As promised, here are the pics, fitting comments and results of changing the stock 5870 cooler in my 2010 Mac Pro for something quieter and more effective. Yes, as anticipated it was a tight squeeze but no nasty surprises.

    I have not included any close-ups of the cooler itself since plenty are available on the web. I am really just concentrating on the fit into the case and any issues along the way.

    ===

    Arctic Cooler Accelero XTREME Plus with fitting kit VR001.

    STRIP DOWN : After removing the stock 5870, I undid ALL the visible screws on the back side of the card (including those three tiny ones) and the two on the side. The cooler came off easily into two pieces - back-plate and fan assembly. I noted that thermal tape had adhered to the VRM chips.

    CLEANING : Using Arctic Silver ArctiClean, I thoroughly cleaned the GPU, all memory chips, the VRM next to the GPU and the 6 VRM in that group in a line and set the card aside to dry. I also removed the supplied thermal compound from the new cooler as I had some Arctic Silver AS5 ready to use and I wanted to do a dry fitting to check the space in the case.

    During the dry fitting, I noticed that although the card went in easily enough, it sagged a little and the underside made contact with the metal of the case. I decided to re-attach the backplate from the stock cooler to protect the underside of the card and to allow it to lock in place nicely with the PCI holder near the fan. Four small zip-ties securely fastened the backplate onto the bare card.

    HEAT-SINKS : Since I would only be fitting this once and keeping the card for years, I discarded the Thermal Cement that came with the VR001 kit. It is supposed to be air-cured glue with some standard thermal compound mixed in. I bought some Arctic Silver Thermal Epoxy instead. This stuff is a PERMANENT adhesive.

    I selected the heat-sinks from the VR001 kit, cleaned the undersides with the ArctiClean and set them aside.

    The Thermal Cement cures very rapidly, going tacky and stiffening in under 5 minutes so I applied it in two batches. Firstly I applied the VRM heat-sinks - three large and one small. The Thermal Cement can be used very sparingly and extreme care must be taken not to get any over the edges of what are very small components. A suitable tool can be made from a wooden cocktail stick chopped in half and smoothed.

    Once I had the VRMs covered, I mixed some more Thermal Cement and repeated the process with the 8 RAM heat-sinks, taking care to align them with the inner edge as shown on the cooler instructions.

    The cement takes an hour to cure and I made sure to allow all this time as I didn't want to knock any of the VRM heat-sinks off.

    The result...

    [​IMG]

    COOLER : Fitting the cooler itself was trivial. I spread some of the Arctic Silver AS5 on the GPU, connected the PWM fan cable (don't forget this) and flipped the card over onto the cooler. There are just four screws and washers to secure everything. I placed the washers under the backplate carefully before fitting the screws. Tighten the screws in opposite pairs and that is it.

    GETTING IT INTO THE CASE : I tucked the power cables out of the way and just lined the card up dead straight. With absolutely no scraping or twisting, it just slotted straight in. Yes, it was a VERY close fit, but it went in. To be honest, the only tricky part was making sure the backplate bracket went into the PCI card holder properly.

    I latched the bar back across, put the PCI plate back with its thumb-screws and connected the two power leads. There was plenty of length in the power leads to pass over the larger cooler without fouling the fans.

    The only tight fit was the clips on the power leads. The cooler heat-sink rests on them slightly.

    [​IMG]

    Overall, the card now takes up three slots as advertised on the Arctic Cooling website.

    [​IMG]

    RESULTS : I did not have any heavy-duty stress testers such as FurMark, so I made do with Warcraft in Orgrimmar at peak time with the details cranked up higher than I would normally play on so that the frame rate dropped below the 100fps cap.

    AMBIENT : 23C

    STOCK COOLER : Idle 38C, load 63C

    Accelero XTREME Plus : Idle 27C, load 52C

    I am well aware that the Arctic Silver AS5 will take quite some time to settle in before results are accurate. I also know that WoW doesn't really push the card but it is what I had available.

    NOISE : I cannot hear the new cooler at all even under load, so all the Mac Pro does is run the case and CPU fans as they warm up. An excellent result!

    VERDICT : A fairly straightforward cooler swap which has reduced temperatures and noise. Due to the use of Thermal Epoxy, I would not rate this for the faint hearted but if you are used to doing cooler swaps, it has no surprises.
     
  2. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #2
    Looks great, thanks for the writeup and pics!
     
  3. Johnf1285 macrumors 6502a

    Johnf1285

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #3
    This is awesome! How would this effect warranty? (As I had a thread on here about a little custom solder fix to a broken battery holder on my 2010 mac pro, a tad curious, as I am leaning to not getting an extended warranty)
     
  4. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #4
    The 5870 doesn't look nearly as impressive naked. :p
     
  5. DanielCoffey thread starter macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #5
    Well the stock 5870 has been irreversibly altered because of the thermal epoxy but in the event of needing to make a warranty claim on another part of the Mac Pro, I could always buy and slot in a new 5770 as needed.
     
  6. Johnf1285 macrumors 6502a

    Johnf1285

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #6
    Ah that true! These things are workhorses, the 2010 seems very solid thus far!
     
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #7
    for warranty purposes you need an oem graphics card to bring back to the store. most mods that I do I have a set of oem parts on hand just in case A major item breaks that has nothing to do with my mod.
     
  8. sofandi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    #9
    Hello,

    first time poster, but I am very interested in the idea of replacing the noisy cooler of the stock 5870. However, would the Artic Cooling Accelero Xtreme also fit in the 2008 Mac Pro? I assume it would also be a tight fit, but does anybody have some information if the fitting space is different from other versions?

    It would be nice to know beforehand, so that the entire cooler replacement would not be in vain.

    Greetings from Germany!
     
  9. DanielCoffey thread starter macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #10
    Since I was not sure about the fit in my 2010 MP, that was why I did a "dry fit" first before sticking down any of the small heat sinks with the thermal cement. As a worst-case scenario, I would be left with a cooler from which I had cleaned the pre-applied thermal paste. I would have been able to re-sell it at a modest loss and tried one of the other smaller coolers for the 5870 such as the Zalman one.

    I would say try it and see.
     
  10. sofandi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    #11
    Thanks for the quick answer. Just to be sure, do you know of any alternative aftermarket cooling options for the 5870 in the Mac Pro that would not be as tight a fit as the Arctic Cooling one. Preferably with about equal performance.

    All I can think of would the Termalright Shaman, the Prolimatech MK-13 or the Scythe Setsugen 2. Would they fit better?

    Thanks in advance for any information!
     
  11. DanielCoffey thread starter macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #12
    You could have a look at reviews of the Zalman VF3000A.

    Issues I came across when looking for a cooler was most wanted a molex power connector to drive the fans and others did not cool the voltage regulators very well.

    The early models of the Arctic Cooler were among these with poor thermal pads supplied. These have since been replaced with thermal cement which I did not use (I went with the Arctic Silver cement as mentioned).

    Generally folks like the newer Arctic Cooler model and if you can get it to fit in the 2008 MP you will not be disappointed.
     
  12. mrgladstone macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    #13
    DanielCoffey,

    nicely done!

    I have the same setup as you (no SSD yet, but any day now) and I am irritated by the noise from the 5870.

    How is the change in ambient temperature now inside the case? Since the new cooler does not blow out the hot air like the old one. I guess the reduction in noise is very significant even though the internal fans run a bit faster?

    Slightly off topic, but does your power supply make a slight buzz (that is heard fron 2 meters away). I am in the proccess of trying to mute my Mac Pro, and I am not sure if there is anything I can do about this buzzing. Or is the PSU broken? I jusy got the computer and can still get it returned / fixed.

    Thanks!
     
  13. DanielCoffey thread starter macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #14
    The ambient temperature sensor reported no change and as far as I can tell, the PCI-E fan still spins at the same speed even when the card is under load so I guess the hot air is still getting out the back. The 5870 backplane still has the vents in it.

    The idle noise of the stock 5870 was of course quiet but as you know it revs up very quickly. With the new cooler, it revs up only when the 5870 is getting pushed and it revs to a much lesser degree. When I shut down WoW I can hear the GPU fans and to a lesser extent the CPU fans but it is certainly a treat for the ears compared to the stock 5870 cooler.

    No, my PSU makes no noise what so ever. Check that your HDD trays are secure as I hear they are a common source of buzz in that area.

    I do hear a fan "breathing" harmonic which comes and goes every few seconds and I suspect it is caused by two of the case fans running at *almost* the same speed and resonating together. This noise is audible at all times but is slight.
     
  14. mrgladstone macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    #15
    My power supply seems to buzz depending on the load. When stressing the GPU the buzzing is more audible.
    I sent the computer to a service center, they replaced the PSU, but the new one sounds identical to the first one. Can it be the 5870 drawing to much power?

    I also installed the Arctic Accelero Xtreme 5870 on my GPU. It is indeed a nice mod for GPU temp and noise, BUT the VRMs seem to heat up quite much... I ran Furmark under Windows 7 and monitored the temperatures with GPU-Z and the VRMs are reaching 100 degrees celsius when running the stability test.
    I certainly do not want to throw on the stock cooler again, but with these temps I am not sure what to do. I only used the thermal tape to fasten the memory sinks, perhaps this is the issue?

    What are your VRM temps?
     
  15. robby818 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 2, 2007
    #16
    I've been using the Arctic coolers for many years now. They are so much quieter than the factory fans. But keep the factory fan safe. You never know when you will need it. Apple did a recall last summer for the x1900 (about 5 years since I bought my Mac Pro!) and I had to replace the Arctic cooler with the factory fan before I brought it into the Apple store to exchange for an 8800GT. I as so glad I still had the factory fan. The Arctic cooler was a pain to get off.
     
  16. DanielCoffey thread starter macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #17
    I have no idea what my VRM temps are because I don't have a windows licence but remember, in real life you will rarely stress the card as much as that.

    If you used thermal tape, then you either got one of the "old" Arctic Cooler packs since they ship with thermal cement now or you opted to use the tape yourself. They replaced the tape with the cement due to the poor adhesive and thermal performance of the tape.
     
  17. ejosepha macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    #18
    Apple is replacing my MacPro because of a constant undulating noise that, at least for me, is quite disturbing in a quiet ambience. I wonder if it is the "breathing" harmonic noise that you describe. It is almost always there, but much less when the machine isn't idling. At idle, though, it's like a very distrubing up and down, modulating reverberating, that I find extremely annoying over time. AppleCare told me that the machine should not be whining up and down like this. It should be a constant noise.
    I wonder if anyone else can comment on this. Do most machines seem to be running at a constant noise level?
     

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