I have to say that the alternative cooler, a Zalman VF700, is approximately a billion times better. It is quieter (ball bearing vs ceramic sleeve), lighter (180g vs 243g), easier to install, and takes up less room. It also appears to cool the card better than the AC, with the fan running slower and quieter. Even with the fan at full speed, the cooler is barely audible, and provides more than adequate cooling for an NVidia GeForce 6600GT. After several hours of single and multiplayer Call of Duty 2, the NVidia control panel was reporting a maximum temperature of 53°C. Winding the GPU fan to full speed resulted in a drop to 41°C at idle within a few minutes.
Installation was a breeze, requiring a simple installation of threaded mounting lugs in the existing mount holes, then mounting of the back plate and cooler onto those lugs. The VF700 also comes with optional heatsinks for the RAM chips – simple aluminium heatsinks with sticky heat transfer tape to mount them. The VF700 when mounted extends over the RAM heatsinks, meaning that the cool air from the fan also blows over the RAM. Ingenious. In comparison, the AC cooler pretty much obscures the RAM from any existing case airflow, which seems to be a Bad Thing.
The single downside of the VF700 is that the fan connector is a standard 3-pin system fan connector. VGA cards normally power their fans via a two-pin connector. This means that you can’t plug the VF700 directly into your VGA card, but instead have to use either a motherboard fan header, a fanbus, or the supplied molex connector. Having said that, the supplied connector is better than most, and gives you the option of running the fan at either 12V or 5V. I can suggest that 5V will be plenty for all but the most overclocked super-cards.
So overall, if you’re looking for a VGA cooler, and your card is compatible, you can’t go past the VF700. If you’re choosing between the Arctic Cooling product, or the Zalman product, go Zalman for sure.