The Xtreme ships in a no nonsense package. Black and very informative about what you can expect of the product. With the cooler you get what is needed to install it and a small Arctic Cooling sticker. The design of the heatsink is quite interesting, using three PWM controlled 80 mm fans to cool down a huge array of aluminum fins. All of the fans are hooked up to the onboard fan controller of the 8800 Series cards, which is nice. That very feature allows you to specify the fan speed through a program like RivaTuner for each of the three performance profiles stored on the card.
This cooler is designed in a different way than most competitor's products. The heat sink is made so that it covers all the hot parts on the card except the voltage regulators, these are covered with small aluminum heat sinks supplied with the cooler. The block that covers the GPU is made of copper whereas the part of the base that covers the RAM is made of aluminum. This should help to keep weight at a minimum while still maintaining good cooling performance. Besides that the installation of the cooler should be extremely easy because you do not have to apply lots of small heat sinks to the RAM nor the I/O chip.
The small voltage regulator heatsinks come pre-applied with some adhesive thermal pads. They are a bit smaller and less sophisticated than other voltage regulator heat sinks. This of course does not matter when you have an 80 mm fan hovering just above the that area creating a lot of airflow around the components.
From the front the cooler looks huge. Even though it is one of the biggest, it is far less clumsy to handle than the Thermalright HR-03 Plus because it is not oddly shaped. The three 80 mm PWM controlled fans are perfectly aligned and blow air down towards the card when mounted. The big plastic duct-like thing that the fans are mounted on should help to reduce vibrations and wind noise. This cooler represents a different approach on how to keep the GeForce 8800 cards cool. Instead of having a big bulky cooler like we saw with the HR-03 this one relies on more fans and less cooling area. Of course this means that you have to move more air over the fins or have better heat transfer from the core to the fins. The Accelero Xtreme is probably a combination of the two. It has five copper heat pipes that spread throughout the entire cooler, and then three 80 mm fans to help remove the heat from the fins.
On the back side more brilliant design features are unveiled. The baseplate is a mix of copper and aluminum. On top of the GPU sits a small piece of copper which ensures fast heat transfer aways from the GPU die. Other components like memory and I/O chip are cooled by the aluminum part. All you have to do is install some thermal pads or thermal paste.
The surface of the copper base is pretty well constructed as you can see near the edges. The copper surface is almost completely covered with what looks like some form of Arctic Cooling MX-2 judging from the look and the feel of the paste.
The cooler is extremely easy to install and that is in part because you only need to apply some thermal pads to the memory and then tighten the screws. As you can see there are six milled screw barrels sticking out of the base of the cooler. These align perfectly with the holes on the GeForce 8800 cards.
The heat pipe layout on the Accelero Xtreme is quite complex. They all run by the core and curve around until they reach the aluminum fins.
At first I was a bit disturbed because the heat pipes exit the main part of the cooler dangerously close to the voltage regulators. After mounting the cooler I noticed that it was not going to cause a problem. There is about 1.5 cm of clearance between the heatpipes and the heatsinks on the voltage regulators which is more than enough.
The contact area between the aluminum fins and the copper heat pipes is actually pretty big due to the manufacturing process used. This should ensure maximum heat transfer.