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GTX 480 Water Block Roundup

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Posted October 4, 2010 by Jake in Cooling

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by Jake
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EK Water Blocks

Below are the features and specifications for the EK Water Blocks EK-FC480 GTX:

  • Dimensions: 107 x 102 x 13mm
  • Thread: G1/4”
  • Weight: 750g (1.10lb)
  • Material: Acrylic, Copper and nickel plated
  • Accessories: Retention hardware, thermal pads, port plugs, spacers and Allen key
  • Cost: $114.95 USD MSRP

BLOCK DESIGN

The EK-FC480 GTX comes in a nice bright orange retail box. It’s available in three flavours (Acetal/Nickel, Arcylic/Copper and Arcylic/Nickel) to satisfy your water cooling appetite. The selling prices range from $105 to $115 depending on the finish you choose. For today’s review we’re looking at the Arcylic/Nickel version; the block base is fabricated out of electrolytic copper and the top cover is crafted in high quality acrylic. The clear cover is secured to the nickel-plated base by ten countersunk screws. As is EK’s tradition, they give the cover a little detailing by engraving the EK logo and the block name right on the acrylic top. The accessories included are thermal pads, port plugs and spacers, GPU retention hardware and an Allen key.

The aesthetics on this block are gorgeous. The EK-FC480 GTX features EK’s high-flow design with wave-like wide water channels and fins, a design that allows minimum flow restriction while maximizing the thermal efficiency for the GPU and VRMs. At least, that’s the theory, and we’ll find out if that holds true during testing.

The block base is fabricated of one piece of 8mm thick copper and CNC precise-machined. It has a beautiful aesthetic and high quality construction. There is a “Void if removed” sticker affixed between the top cover and the block base, so think twice before you decide to dismantle the block because you will void its warranty. The block base surfaces are perfectly smooth and polished for maximized contacting surfaces.

Since the block cover is clear acrylic, there is need for us to remove it to exam the internals. As you can see in the image below, we’ve illustrated the water flow path; either port can be used as inlet port but the obvious is always using the closet port to the GPU as the inlet to providing the coolest liquid to the GPU first.

We used the left port as the inlet; coolant flows directly over the first two sets of the memory at the top and left of the graphics card, then travels through the waved water channels and fins. It then moves toward to the VRMs region through a set of mini water channels and exits in a circuitous fashion at the outlet port. The port terminals are spaced far enough apart to accommodate any type of fittings and is compatible with standard G1/4” threads.

EK Water Blocks also offers an aluminum (nickel-plated) backplate for reference designed the Nvidia GTX480 and EK-FC480 GTX block. This optional 3mm thick backplate has the EK logo cutout with FC-480GTX engraved and mirror polished, and is available for approximately $30.

INSTALLATION

Before installing the EK-FC480 GTX you need to do pre-install preparation. Since the thermal pads didn’t come pre-cut to size, you’ll need to cut them to appropriate sizes for memory, mosfet and VRMs chipsets. The EK-FC480 GTX comes with GPU socket support retention and PVC washer ring, and this needs to be installed before you can mount the water block.

The block doesn’t come with built-in standoffs but it does come with individual plastics spacers, so you’ll need a little dab of die-electric grease or Vaseline at each spacer so they can stay in place. You can also use thermal paste but it cannot have any traces of conductive metal (ie-silver). Lastly, use the provided screws to secure the block to the graphics card and if you are using the optional backplate then follow the straightforward instructions provided.

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