Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS + Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB = Silence!

Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS on a Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB

Can the Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS GPU cooler help you with your loud Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB? You have read it everywhere, and if you own the card, you have heard it all day long: the ZOTAC GTX 1060 Mini 3GB is a loud, and warm, card. So warm it throttles; so loud it’s annoying. And there is not much you can do about that: although the card has an excellent value[1]As seen on userbenchmark, this graphics card was at 5th place in the value column in early June 2017, its small format comes with a rather small aluminum heat sink that is barely enough to keep the card cool on stock settings.

One might argue that buying such a small card, expecting cool performance, and then adding a huge radiator doesn’t make much sense. It’s true: It does not. But I just really enjoy exploring the “what if” scenario. In this case, the question was: “What if I slap a Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS on the ZOTAC GTX 1060 Mini 3GB? Can it be done? How big will it become? Will it work at all? Will the situation improve?”

And so I ordered the pieces from Amazon Germany.

Arctic MONO Plus on a Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB
A detail of the Arctic MONO Plus on a Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB – Ample space between all components.

First impressions on the Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS

The first thing I notice once I received the package is that the Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS is big and rather heavy. I imagine that with small design modifications it could be a perfectly fine CPU heat sink. All that weight gave me the confidence already that it would be at least a bit effective at cooling something. The packaging is minimal, and as I had also read around the internet, the instructions are also a bit vague and of a minimalistic nature. Nothing that reading the papers two times will not solve though.

Mounting the Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS on the ZOTAC GTX 1060 Mini 3GB

Once I had dismounted the ZOTAC GTX 1060 Mini 3GB from the PC, removing the heat sink and fan was very simple: you unscrew the four “screws-with-springs” at the bottom of the card, plus the two screws that fasten the heat sink to the card, and then you simply, delicately, pull. The thermal paste will work a little as glue, not letting the card go right away, so be not afraid to pull just a little harder to get it off: the heat sink will simply let go.

It’s important to note here: do not lose the four “screws-with-springs”. They will come in handy later on. Keep reading.

Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB's heat sink
Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB’s heat sink

Now, what I did was explore the card without heat sink, just because I never had the occasion to do so. For some reason I was amazed that 90% of the card is actually just for cooling, while the card is, well, as thick as any PCI card… I don’t know what I expected really…

Anyway.

I cleaned the chip from the residual thermal paste with some cotton and very little alcohol and a lot of care.

Out of curiosity I also cleaned the Zotac heat sink. And while handling the thing, I was actually surprised to see that it was rather small and light; if you have ever handled an Intel cooler from a recent Intel i5 you can imagine the thickness of Zotac’s cooler too.

Moving on to mounting the Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS, I must say my experience was not at all as complicated as other users have described it. As always, read the instructions as many times as you need until it’s perfectly clear what you have to do next.

Just know that the only part that required more attention than usual was the RAM Heat sinks mounting.

Detail of the Arctic MONO Plus on a Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB concerning RAM heatsinks
Notice the smaller RAM heat sinks mounted on the Zotac GTX 1060. You have to be careful here!

Here’s my experience:

  • I was unable to unscrew the mounting bracket of the Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS (bad screwdrivers, not Arctic’s fault). It is IMPERATIVE that, BEFORE you permanently glue the RAM heat sinks, you make sure that the main heat sink and its bracket will NOT interfere with each other.
    • In the Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB, the Arctic Mono PLUS, the 2 RAM heat sinks next to the PCI Express connector DO interfere with the main heat sink’s copper pipes. you will have to use the smaller heat sinks provided with the MONO. See image above.
  • Let the RAM heat sinks glue dry for an hour BEFORE you mount the main heat sink.
    • You are not a child anymore. Don’t do things in haste. Glue them, then go have a coffee and read / browse your phone / entertain yourself for 45 minutes at least. Then move on to the next step.

Main cooler mounting: This the easiest part really.

  1. Put the main heat sink on a table / surface.
    1. Make sure the fan side is pointing down, and the heat sink is up in the air.
  2. Put some thermal paste on the 1060 chip.
  3. Connect the PWM fan cable to the graphics card’s connector. Don’t forget! I did…
  4. Grab the graphic card, align the holes and, using Zotac’s “screws-with-springs”, screw the Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS in place.
    1. Remember: screw opposing corners in sequence! First you screw the bottom left, then top right, then top left, and then bottom right. Like an “X”. As Indiana Jones taught us: “X marks the spot!”
    2. The “screws-with-springs”’ springs make extra sure that the AArctic Accelero Mono PLUS is properly attached to the chip. You do not need to use the spacers provided!
  1. IMPORTANT NOTE: As I mentioned, the heat sink is heavy. It will pull the card down when you mount it in your PC; you risk bending the PCI connector of your ZOTAC GTX 1060 Mini 3GB, leading to the GPU failure. I strongly recommend finding a way to aid the card’s added weight. For example, I tied the GPU power cable to a high point in the case. This slightly lifts the power connector area of the GPU a bit and distributes the weight more evenly. It is not ideal, but it works.
A monunted Arctic MONO Plus on a Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB
The completed mounted Arctic MONO Plus on a Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB! Tadaah!

Result: the Arctic Accelero Mono Plus rocks! 

If you are reading this, you probably already know it and I can confirm it: 20°C off. Literally. Using 3DMark’s stress test, temperature reach 64/65°C with no overclocking, instead of the 84/86°C with the stock Zotac cooler.

OK, the Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS is a bit ugly: It’s design is a bit from the previous decade and the PWM cable is as basic as it can be… but it works. In a closed case, you won’t have to look at it and that’s OK.

And the noise… gone. Silent. A soft hum that disappears among the other fans. It is an excellent acquisition if you have noise and heat problems with your GPU.

Final Thoughts

It has been a while since I was so satisfied by a PC component. For some reason, changing heat sinks on a graphics card is not as common as swapping one on the CPU. It was a scary thought at first on my side. Yet, the Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS does exactly what it claims to do: lower the heat and noise; it is cheap; and it is easy to build.

I am deeply satisfied.

And once you mount it, run the test, and see the excellent results you cannot feel but satisfied; not only because the GPU performs better and quieter, but because you dared to try something not everyone dares to do: custom cooling your GPU.

Well done!

References   [ + ]

1. As seen on userbenchmark, this graphics card was at 5th place in the value column in early June 2017
Giulio Menna
Lover of: all things digital, humanities, and medieval manuscripts. I created Sexy Codicology and the DMMmaps Project and run them both with passion and love in my free time. I am an MA graduate in Book and Digital Media Studies at Leiden University. Still happily living in the Netherlands.