pathterminuspages/blog/aboutcontactabout me

After market cooler for Asus GTX 1660 Super Phoenix

12.11.2020 | Computing/Hardware

The graphics card I bought, the Geforce GTX 1660 Super. It is what is called a phoenix card. The specific model is Asus PH-GTX1660S-6G. Phoenix means that it is not as long as normal cards. Though it is a bit wider. These cards are primarily used for small form factor PC cases. I don't have one such. The downside is that the cooling solution only has one fan. This gets quite loud when doing requiring tasks. And the card reaches a temperature of 86 degrees celcius. At least in my system. At more than 90 degrees it might thermal throttle meaning it will decrease clock rate for memory and/or GPU in order to decrease temperature. Thus lowering performance.

All that left me in a hassle. The card fits my needs. But the stock cooling solution is annoying. You can buy what is called an aftermarket GPU cooler. The problem here is the size of the card. Most aftermarket coolers are made for cards with an width of 98mm. I found the Accelero Xtreme IV rev. 2 by Arctic Cooling. It has this measurement restriction. I did some search result traversing in order to figure if this was possible. Most forums had posts with people just stating that the buyer should return the card or just buy a new one. Arguing like "The card is crap, buy a proper one". Indeed this kind of expertise is very helpful. So I turned to reddit. And with the help from a user on r/graphicscard I found the reddit post Accelero Xtreme IV on a 1660 Super (didn't use the backplate). So it is doable. Here is my approach.

The Accelero Xtreme IV package

First of all. The package consists of a heat sink mounted with three coolers. This goes on the GPU. It has different mounting plates in order to fit different GPU cooler mounting solutions. One fits the Asus card. The cooler is very long. More on this later. Furthermore a backplate heat sink is in the package. This is used for cooling VRAM and VRMS. The idea is to place it on the back of the card. From here it absorbs the heat that comes through the PCB. For using this there are thermal pads included that is put on top of warm areas on the back of the card. A piece of plastic is included in the package. This is used for protecting the PCB and solderings from direct contact with the sink. Lastly a mounting bar for stabilizing is included. This uses 4 slots worth of mounting screws. Cards can still be mounted. More on this later.

The Accelero Xtreme IV package content

Installation

Now for installation. First the original cooler is unscrewed. This takes four screws. Next remove the cooling paste on the GPU. This takes some propanol alcohol. In danish it is propyl alcohol. I used 99%. And some paper tissues. I have heard of people successfully using 70% alcohol. However propanol seems the right choice since anything gasoline related probably contains some amount of oil.

The nVidia TU116 GPU without cooler

The new cooler has thermal paste added to it already. So it can just be put right on the board. For the back plate several thermal pads have been included. These goes on anything that originally had one on. And then the plastic sheet is cut so it only covers the areas where no pads are placed.

The card with thermal pads placed on back side of VRAMs.

Then the back plate is placed and screwed together. Finger screws are used, and it seems that it is more than enough to just tighten using your fingers. No screw driver is needed. And you should not even tighten all the way with your fingers. Tighten in diagonal so the tighten is done evenly. Anyway for now I have dropped the back plate. Read on to read why.

The card sandwich: cooler on front, back plate on, yeah, back.

In order to use the stabilizing mounting thing six clamps has to be placed on the edge of the card holding the three layers together. But remember: the card is too wide for the specs of the cooler. Hence we can only do this in one side. What is even worse: the stabilizer is screwed onto these clamps. And the card is still too wide, so the stabilizer cannot be fastened in this way.

The sandwich from the side. To get the real sandwich effect!

I ended up ditching the back plate. My card does not have temperature sensors on the VRAM, so I'm not sure if the back plate is needed or not. Another thing to consider is those VRMs with a snappy logo on them. The stock cooling did not even cover these. But it seems that these are as important, if not more important, to cool than the VRAM. The temperature of the card when on fully load does not suggest that these chips needs cooling. If the VRAM gets too hot, the heat might spread to the GPU since these are placed close to each other. As stated later the GPU temp do not reach past 48c, which might suggest that the VRAMs are cooled enough. The card is rated for 125w, which is quite low, I think, for a graphics card. Again it might not run hot on anything except the GPU. Lastly the three coolers blow some amount of air down on all these components. And my PC case is quite proper ventilated.

All that to a side I actually found a way use the stabilizer. The reason to use it in the first place is that the cooler is quite heavy. This Asus card has no stabilizing build in since the card is so small. I have a HD7050 that has one. So it is not uncommon. Anyway you can just place the stabilizer one slot higher than the card. And then use a strip to reach down and grab the card.

The card with cooler and without back plate mounted.

However the clamps are not there. So the only support for the whole sandwich is the 4 mounting screws. As to be seen I haven't gotten the card past 48c, so I'm unsure that the back plate is even needed.

Benchmark

First of all I have gotten a thing for Far Cry 5. The game is really fun. And I think I got it on sale. I have it on max settings and 1920x1200. The max temperature I have reached is 48c. Normally it sits in the range 40-42c. A quite interesting thing: I have installed the Asus GPU Utility. This has modes. Always in gaming mode for me, since it lowers the clock according to your need anyway. When not gaming, the clock is very low. But as can be seen it runs stable at 1950mhz in FC 5. As can be seen on the GTX 1660 Super page, the chip is rated for 1530-1785 mhz. So this is some kind of boost anyway.

Asus utility during Far Cry 5 play. FC 5 is maxed out.

Lastly we can do that language model again. Here I never reached past 45c. As can be seen below. A funny thing to note: the card seems to use more than maximum amount of power.

nvidia-smi while building a language model.

So was it all worth it? Again the card really fits my needs. I can play the games that I would like to play, on max or almost max settings. These include Far Cry 5, Doom Eternal (this game has one setting that requires too much memory to go on ultra nightmare), Metro: Exodus. I can build these language models with the temperature below 50c. As can be seen these are quite taxing. However I'm still not sure on how the memory blocks along the VRMs are doing. I might invest in a temperature sensor and do a follow up. Another thing is that I had to take out my additionally hard drive trays. I have a lot of hard drive, so I kind of needed those. That's a thing to consider. Another is that due to the low power consumption of the card, I dared not connect the cooler directly. So it is connected to molex instead, with a cable that were included in the package. This means that the three coolers run on full blast all the time. The noise level is not that high, but still. Lastly I don't think this PC is very portable anymore.

A better solution might be to just buy a card with more coolers in the first place. However I think this is a quite good GPU cooler, and now I have it. It might survive this card in order to be placed on the next i buy. So there is that. Or you can buy this card and just use the stock cooling solution. I think it were 86c or below for what I used it for. Which might be fine.

CommentsGuest Name:Comment: