Bringing about coolness to your (slightly older, but still very useable) hot and overclocked graphics card is this VGA cooler from Evercool, the Formula 2 VGA Cooler, clad in shiny silver plastic and raring to go.
Right from the first glance, the Evercool Formula 2 VGA Cooler does impress us with its light weight of just 232.5g, which means it won't be adding that much of a burden to your graphic card's PCB unlike some of the more "extreme" and heavier coolers. This is of course due to the mostly aluminum heatsink and the plastic casing on the top.
The plastic casing itself isn't too inspiring if you're asking as it does feel a little cheap and toy-like to the touch but it does look good when viewed from a distance. Then again, you probably won't be touching this too often so the plastic is more than likely to be acceptable for most as long as the cooler does its job properly.
Setting up the cooler was a breeze seeing as how the cooler is specifically targeted at certain, generally older graphic cards from ATI and NVIDIA. Now, if you're using the following cards (see below table), then it's basically a plug-and-go affair once you get the thermal paste on the GPU and the washers placed onto the screws. If you're uncertain, the packaging does offer pretty clear instructions on the installation process.
- RADEON X1800 XT/X1950 PRO
- RADEON HD 2600 XT
- RADEON HD 3850
- GeForce 6800/6800 GT/6800 LE/6800 XT
- GeForce 7900 GT/7900 GS/7950 GT
- GeForce 8800 GT/8800 GTS/8800 GS*
- GeForce 9600 GT/9600 GSO
*Do note that the cooler isn't compatible with certain NVIDIA GeForce 8800 series of cards using a diagonal 82.5mm mounting hole: the 8800 Ultra, 8800 GTX and 8800 GTS all fall under this exclusion. Also, RAM sinks aren't included with the package.
This is where the Evercool cooler really shines as our tests show a definite improvement over the stock cooler used in our test card, the Gigabyte GeForce 9600 GT 512MB. Our results indicated a difference of 6.2 degrees for the GPU Core (54.2 degrees versus 48 degrees) and 4.7 degrees difference (46.7 degrees versus 42.0 degrees) at the back of the card.
It's a pretty nice improvement that reflects well on the cooler but the real deal is the huge decrease of 11.5 degrees where the memory chips are concerned. Our test showed a drop from 56.3 degrees using the stock cooler to just 44.8 degrees when using the Evercool Formula 2. Despite having no dedicated RAM heatsinks, the air currents generated by the cooler's fan probably helped to achieve this. Not too shabby, we suppose.
We were unable to obtain a standard retail pricing for the cooler from the manufacturer, but a quick check on online sites indicated a ballpark figure of around ~US$20. That's cheap enough to consider getting one and based on what we've seen on its performance, the Evercool Formula 2 VGA cooler is indeed a worthy purchase for squeezing that little bit more juice from your older and aging graphics card. Just ignore the cheap plastic feel and you'll be fine.