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GPU Universal Water Block Roundup

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Posted March 18, 2011 by Jake in Cooling
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by Jake
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Introduction

Not long ago in the second half of 2010, we tested numerous full coverage water blocks for AMD/ATI and Nvidia graphics cards. Usage of the full coverage blocks have grown in popularity, not only due to the impressive aesthetic designs available, but their ability to provide improved temperatures across the entire card including memory chips and voltage regulator modules. There are drawbacks to full coverage blocks, however, as their weight can stress a motherboard, the cost is higher, and they are not upgradable since they are relegated to specific-model usage. These can be significant detractions, and some enthusiasts instead prefer to use something a bit more cost effective that still offers a flexible future upgrade path. And for those users, there is the Universal GPU block.

Universal blocks’ primary advantage is their compatibility with all major graphic cards, regardless of company or model, potentially offering users a long lifetime of use. Universal blocks also weigh less and generally cost less as well, though the tradeoff is they don’t cool critical card components other than the GPU core. Full coverage or universal? Ferrari or Lamborghini? Blonde or brunette? Neither is definitively better, it’s simply a question of which suits your individual needs and preferences.

With that said, the question then becomes: which universal block? In order to answer that critical question, today we’ve got a universal GPU block roundup to examine products from some of the top manufacturers to try to determine just that. And for the record, before we hear any complaints that we didn’t include Block X or Block Y, we’ll address that right off the bat by saying that there are reasonable limits as to what products can be procured and tested in a certain time frame. Further, the intent here isn’t to test every block on the market; it is to test the popular, heavy hitters that garner most of the attention among enthusiasts and product market share.

With that out of the way, today we’ll be comparing the following top contenders: EK-VGA Supreme HF, Koolance GPU-220, Swiftech MCW80 and XSPC Rasa.

We would like to thank EK Water Blocks, Koolance, Swiftech and XSPC for their support in this roundup review.

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