Arctic Cooling manufactures a series of VGA coolers that are very silent and pull the hot air generated by the video card to outside the computer case. At least two VGA manufacturers – HIS and Sapphire – sell their VGAs using VGA coolers from Arctic Cooling. If you don’t have a VGA using an exotic cooling system, you can buy a VGA cooler from Arctic Cooling and install it yourself. We’ve got a NV Silencer 6 (Rev. 2) sample, which is targeted to GeForce FX 5700, GeForce 6200 and GeForce 6600 series. Let’s take a look at it.
You can see the full list of VGA coolers from Arctic Cooling on their website. As you can see there, they have several different models, each one targeted to specific video cards. There are several reasons you cannot use a VGA cooler targeted to one video card on another. First, the holes located on the video card used to fasten the cooler to it may differ in position. The second reason is that each graphics chip has different thermal requirements – i.e., the minimum size and material of the cooler base and fins vary according to the graphics chip. Third, the VGA cooler may be bigger than the space available on the video card (for example, the area surrounding the graphics chip may have other components like electrolytic capacitors that prevent the installation of bigger coolers).
Figure 1: NV Silencer 6 (Rev. 2) in its package.
In Figure 2, you can see everything that comes with the product, including a tube of thermal grease.
Figure 2: Items that come with NV Silencer 6 (Rev. 2).
NV Silencer 6 (Rev. 2) VGA cooler has a big 72 mm fan rotating at a relatively low speed (1,500 rpm) in order to achieve a low noise level. This fan pulls air from inside the PC case, makes it to pass through the cooler fins and going outside the computer case through a duct.
The heatsink base is made of copper, while the heatsink fins are made of aluminum, as you can see on Figures 3 and 4.
Figure 3: The heatsink base is made of copper.
Figure 4: The heatsink fins are made of aluminum.
In Figure 5 you have a comparison between NV Silencer 6 (Rev. 2) and the coolers that come with video cards from Sapphire and HIS. This particular Sapphire model is using an ATI Silencer 5 (Rev. 2), while this particular HIS model is using a VGA silencer Rev. 3, both are manufactured by Arctic Cooling.
Figure 5: NV Silencer 6 (Rev. 2), a Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro and a HIS Radeon X1600 Pro.
NV Silencer 6 (Rev. 2) installation is very simple and even a layperson can replace the original cooler from his/her video card and replace it with this VGA cooler from Arctic Cooling. We are going to show you how to do it on a GeForce 6600 GT.
Figure 6: We are going to replace the original cooler from our GeForce 6600 GT with Arctic Cooling’s.
The first step is to remove the original cooler from your video card. On our GeForce 6600 GT this was accomplished by pushing two plastic pegs located on the backside of the card. After removing the cooler you need to unplug the fan power cable from the card.
Figure 7: GeForce 6600 GT with its original cooler removed.
After removing the original cooler, you will need to remove all thermal grease that may exist on the graphics chip using a dry cloth. Then you need to apply a small amount of the thermal grease that comes with the product on the center of the graphics chip. Here you need to be very careful to not put too much thermal grease. We show the correct amount in Figure 9. Don’t worry that the thermal grease isn’t covering the whole surface of the graphics chip: when we install the cooler the thermal grease will fill the spots that were left over.
Figure 8: Applying thermal grease.
Figure 9: The correct amount of thermal grease that should be applied.
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Now you need to install the fan power cable.
Figure 10: Installing the fan power cable.
You need to study where this cable will be located after the cooler is in its final position before installing it. In our case, the cable would be located below the plastic duct, in front of the heatsink fins, which we though was no good, as it would be blocking the airflow. So we needed to release the cable a little bit and make it to go over the plastic duct (see Figure 14).
Put the VGA cooler in place, inserting the two screws available in the holes located on the board and then turn the video card over. You will find the two screws as shown in Figure 11.
Place the rubber pad and the metallic clip as shown in Figure 12.
Figure 12: Installing the rubber pad and the metallic clip.
Screw the two nuts to the screws, as shown in Figure 13.
Figure 13: Screw the two nuts to the screws.
That’s it. Your NV Silencer 6 (Rev. 2) is now installed as you can see in Figure 14. Pay attention to the fan power cable location. As mentioned, we had to pass it over the plastic duct in order to not mess with the airflow.
Figure 14: NV Silencer 6 (Rev. 2) installed.
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Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 6 (Rev. 2) VGA cooler main features include:
- One 72 mm fan.
- Fan speed: 1,500 rpm.
- Airflow: N/A.
- Noise level: 0.3 Sone (the manufacturer gives a number in Sone and not in dB, making it very hard to compare this product to others).
- Heatsink: copper base and aluminum fins.
- Bearing type: ceramic bearing.
- Weight: 8.5 oz (240 g)
- More Information: https://www.arctic.ac
- Suggested price in the US: USD 29.00
This is a great product. After installing our GeForce 6600 GT back to our PC we couldn’t even hear the fan working. Really amazing. Even working at a relatively low rotation, this fan produces a very strong airflow. Arctic Cooling also gives a 6-year warranty to their VGA coolers, which is really impressive.
We think this product is good for both the enthusiast and the regular user. It will probably bring a better VGA overclocking experience for the enthusiast and, at the same time, will prevent your PC from overheating, as it removes hot air from your computer. Put this together with its very low noise level and you have a great product.
What is also really great is that even though we took a look at the model targeted to GeForce FX 5700, GeForce 6200 and GeForce 6600 series, Arctic Cooling provides versions of this product to a myriad of video cards, covering virtually all video cards available on the market.
The only problem we see on this product is its price. We think its suggested price (USD 29.00) is a little bit high for this product – even though it is a high quality and above the average product – and what is even more problematic is that this product can be found costing even more (it is being quoted at USD 35 at Tigerdirect.com). So you need to pay close attention to not be overcharged.
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