For avid overclockers, the stock cooler on your VGA doesn’t usually cut it.
The image below shows what you get with the cooler:
Mainly you will notice that you get two ramsinks with basic thermal pads and the bigger heatsink that is used for the VDDC VRMs. All are positioned below the main cooler with the three fans. More images of the cooler:
As can be seen, it is a copper heatpipe with aluminum heatsink design, coupled with three silent fans that run at 2000rpm max and still being barely audible.
Close up image to demonstrate the size of this thing!
Side by side with the Sapphire HD 5870 card that uses the reference cooler design. As can be seen, ACAX 5870 is a few millimeters longer than the reference cooler.
No, the ACAX 5870 cooler is not thicker than the reference model. It is just placed on top of a transparent plastic box to avoid ruining the applied thermal paste. AC claims you can use ACAX for crossfire setups which is something we wouldn’t do.
The accompanied instructions were followed exactly during installation of the cooler. The manual was pretty basic and only highlighted the important steps with hardly any details.
Disassembling the reference cooler from the card was simply done by unscrewing all the black screws. Some of them were hard to remove so care must be taken.
Next thing we did was clean both the GPU, RAM and VRMs from thermal paste/pad remains. The manual instructs to use a tissue to clean the GPU thermal paste and a regular eraser (yes! The very same you use for erasing pencil writing) to clean any thermal pad residue on the RAM and VRMs. Cleaning must be thorough, especially the RAM/VRM erasing part. Keep going at it until the surface feels rigid, this will guarantee that the ramsinks stick properly and won’t fall off.
After placing the Ramsinks (one good way to check that they stick properly is to lift the card by holding the ramsink), the main cooler unit is installed. Pretty straight forward getting it in place.
An angled photo of the installed cooler.
One of the memory heatsinks only held by the thermal pad. Not installing those properly will insure them falling off when placing the card.