Hey guys, today, I want to give you an overview of the currently available waterblocks for the NVidia GTX 480. I had nine different blocks around for testing. While high performance CPUs are using less and less power, this is a trend that can't be seen when looking at high end VGA-cards and so fullcover blocks are getting more and more interesting for users of NVidia's and AMD's flagships. In this roundup I want to compare temperatures and flow rates of the blocks. As the NVidia GTX480 does already come with high heat build-up as standard and is able to use radiators to full capacity, I disclaimed overclocking in this review. Firs t of all I want to say that every block was able to cool the card appropriately and quietly. When choosing the block that's good for you, you shouldn't only look at the top ranks in this roundup, but take a look at the complete package: looks, build quality, price, temperatures, mounting and flow rates. As it turns out, blocks with microfin-structure were able to perform best once again and so it comes as no surprise that the blocks, that are pretty much the same inside are very close together at the top. The included backplate with some of the models proved useful, as it's mounted on the back of the card for more contact pressure, especially in the area of the mosfets. Also, this plate can help to prevent damage to the card. So let's get to the way I tested: The test system: Banchetto 101 Bench Station Gigabyte GA EX58 Extreme (Biosversion: F7) Mips Fusionblock Nickel i7 920 @4Ghz @1.40V (BIOS Setting) Cougar GX 1050 PSU Corsair XMS3 Dominator DIMM Kit 6GB PC3-12800U CL7-7-7-20 (DDR3-1600) EVGA GTX480 VGA-Card Mora 2 Pro / 9x Noiseblocker PL2 (600 RPM) Aquaero VFD Laing Ultra with Koolance Top EK Waterblocks EK Multioption Reservoir 250mm Advanced Aquacomputer flowmeter Koolance VL3N & CPC Metall quick release couplings Masterkleer & Primochill 16/10 tubing + Perfect Seal and Bitspower fittings 3x Watertemp sensors (2x T-Line, 1x in reservoir) 1x dig. sensor in the reservoir for calibration Thermal paste: Gelid Extreme Innovatek Protect ArctiClean for cleaning the card and the blocks. My special thanks go out to the company EVGA for offering me the required GTX480 VGA-card! Testmethod: To fully load the card, I used Furmark v.1.8.2 (settings: 1280*1024, 8x MSAA). As mentioned before, the card ran at stock speeds. I used Gelid Xtreme for this test. Every block was mounted three times with new thermal paste and the best run of all three was used for the end results. As the Geforce GTX480 doesn't come with sensors to monitor the temperatures of the mosfets, I used the relevant temperature of the GPU, that I monitored using GPU-Z. The water temperaute was monitored using an Aquaero and several calibrated (inline) sensors. The reading was taken when no change in temperature was visible and the maximum value was reached, but not before one hour has passed. The waterblocks in detail: Watercool HEATKILLER® GPU-X³ GTX480 For years, the waterblocks by Watercool.de were able to score big in a lot of reviews worldwide. The block for the GTX480 was also able to do the same. Outstanding build quality, delicate looks and of course the impressive temperatures, reached by the means of good design and so-called microfins directly above the GPU. Watercool made a block that's very thin, taking a step away from the modular style of older blocks, which were very popular because of their upgradeability. The waterblock looks a lot more like the products of another German manufacturer, a very basic design and a thin corpus made out of copper, paired with a stainless steel plate carrying the name of the new cooler series. Mounting this block was easy and quickly done. This block also convinced me when it came to performance. With an adaptor which is sold separately, you can also use up to four waterblocks of this kind in SLI. The scope of delivery can also be called good: the box contained the required mounting material and an easy to understand manual, thermal paste is not included. Paste is used on the GPU only, the other cooled parts are connected via thermal pads, which come pre-cut, which is time-saving. The block fits the card very well, for good contact pressure in the area of the mosfets there's a mini-backplate, used on the back of the card. Technical data: Material: Copper, stainless steel, POM Size: 172.0 x 117.0 x 11.5mm Weight: 850g Threads: 4x G ¼" (DIN ISO 228-1) pressure tested: 5 bar Scope of delivery: 1x HEATKILLER® GPU-X³ GTX480 1x Backplate GTX480 1x mounting material/manual Price: ca. 87 Euro Aquacomputer aquagraFX for GTX 480 (GF100) nickel plated The second block out of Germany is this product by Aquacomputer.de. I received the nickel plated version for this review, only differing from the standard version in its surface and its price, as it's a little more expensive. This block makes a very solid impression and looks pretty good. It's milled out of one copper block and topped by stainless steel carrying the manufacturer's emblem. The inner design is similar to the one seen on the block by Watercool, so it's not surprising that this block performs just as well. The scope of delivery includes a manual and the required mounting material, but once again, thermal paste isn't included. As a little bonus, a backplate out of stainless steel for creating better contact pressure and avoiding bending the card is also included. This works well, so well, that you don't have any doubts when using thermal paste instead of pads on the memory. There's also an adapter available for using up to seven cards in SLI with this block. The mounting is simple, only when putting the backplate in place you have to be patient. You have to be extra careful not the move the backplate when putting the spacers in place. Overall, this block by Aquacomputer knows how to impress, especially in this nickel plated version! Here's a little video about the manufacturing process of this block: YouTube - Making of aquagrafx GTX 480 and a mounting video: YouTube - aquagrafx GTX 480 Installation Scope of delivery: Block without fittings (threads: G1/4") Backplate out of stainless steel Mounting material incl. pads two sealing caps Price: ca. 89€ for the normal version and ca. 99€ for the nickel plated version EK Water Blocks EK-FC480 GTX - Nickel Let's get to the block of the Slovenian manufacturer EK-Waterblocks. This block is, as usual for EK-WB, available in several versions: There are variants with tops in black POM and acrylic glass and the cooling surface itself is available in copper or nickel. A backplate isn't included and is available for around 20€ in two different versions. Adapters for using several cards in SLI are also available. Let's get back to the block itself. It comes in a nice orange/black retail box with a manual. This box also includes the required mounting material; thermal paste is only used on the GPU itself, thermal pads for the other components are also included, which have to be cut. The EK-FC480 GTX in this nickel plated version impresses in performance and build quality, but it's not easy to install it on the card. The spacers have to be glued to the block using thermal paste - this could be done another way, just like other manufacturers do it. Mounting the card in the area of the mosfets didn't work that well without the backplate which is sold separately, you really have to check the pressure. Overall, the EK block is a good product that scores a lot because of the high amount of variants. Here's a little video, where you can have a look at the block: YouTube - EK Water Blocks EK-FC480 GTX - Nickel Scope of delivery: block without fittings (threads: G1/4") mounting material thermal pads 2x sealing caps illustrated manual Price for the nickel plated version: ca. 82 EUR Backplate sold separately. XSPC Razor GTX480 The English company XSPC produces this block. The very slim block is called XSPC Razor GTX480 and is the cheapest block in this review. The performance is good, though not as good as some other blocks. Mounting was easy and the scope of delivery can be called "complete". The required thermal paste was also included, unlike with most of the other blocks. This block uses thermal paste on the GPU and pads, which come already pre-cut, on the memory, too. Conveniently, the spacers are part of the block and so no complicated mounting is required. Sadly, a backplate doesn't come with the block, but even without one, the block was mounted quite easily with the correct contact pressure. This XSPC block is well made out of copper with a top out of stainless steel and is also compatible with SLI-systems. Because this block is very thin (only 9mm!), the threads are screwed on and not part of the block itself. Spacers might be required, but are included. On one side, there's a sticker for the warranty, slightly disturbing the look. Technical data: Material: copper plate, nickel plated top Threads: 4 G1/4" Size: 170 x 124 x 9mm Scope of delivery: 1x XSPC Razor GTX480 1x Thermal paste 2x sealing caps 2x spacers thermal pads mounting material Price: ca. 75 EUR.