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brandishwar

A Tale of Two GTX 680 Waterblocks - Koolance and Watercool

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In my system I have two PNY GTX 770 4GB OC graphics cards (though interestingly the clocks reported by one of the cards match the OC2 specifications). One thing that's rather interesting about them is they are built onto the GTX 680 reference board. That has been quite convenient as far as water cooling is concerned as I had no problem finding blocks.

 

Initially I decided to go with the Koolance VID-NX680 mainly because I was using the CPU-380A as well.

 

After getting everything tubed up and coolant flowing through, I did the all-important temperature test. One thing I noted with Valley Benchmark was about a consistent 10-degree temperature difference between the two cards. That didn't seem right, especially given one card made to to 60C as well running Valley Benchmark for about 15 minutes.

 

But it was Bioshock Infinite that made it glaringly obvious there was a concern:

 

bioshock_infinite.png

 

This was after about an hour and a half of Bioshock Infinite. This was also after remounting the water blocks to see if perhaps that was the concern.

 

In hindsight, it's likely the one block was faulty, and I probably could've (should've) RMA'd it with Koolance for a replacement block that wouldn't have been problematic, especially given the temperature on the second card. It would've saved me money doing that as well as I only would've had to pay to ship it there via USPS flat rate.

 

But instead I decided to change out the blocks entirely and go with a different brand -- the Watercool Heatkiller GPU-X3 (with matching backplates). And the difference was like night and day. After playing Bioshock Infinite for an hour and a half, these were the temperatures that were noted:

 

bioshockinfinite.png

 

Now that's how water cooled graphics cards are supposed to perform. The question now is what to do with the Koolance blocks...

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That's a pretty huge jump, thanks for sharing.  I feel like when I come across stuff like this it's a big mind fuck but seeing the numbers it's hard to say anything other than something is wrong with that block.  Have you contacted Koolance at all?

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That's a pretty huge jump, thanks for sharing.  I feel like when I come across stuff like this it's a big mind Poopadilly but seeing the numbers it's hard to say anything other than something is wrong with that block.  Have you contacted Koolance at all?

 

I'm planning to re-test the blocks again first before doing so. Not sure if I'm re-test them as a pair or individually. It'll also tell me which block to RMA. I just need to get ahold of more thermal pad material first. And once I'm sure about the block, I'll get ahold of Koolance by filing an RMA. Given the performance I'm getting out of the Watercool blocks, though, I'm likely not going to re-use the Koolance blocks. Instead I'll probably save them for another build -- my wife's got a friend out in Nevada she'd like to surprise with a custom gaming rig.

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Well it doesn't look like an RMA is necessary. The blocks just needed a power-flush, which I set up using a pump to push water through the blocks. I used a gallon of distilled water for each block to be thorough and remounted them.

 

DSC_0084.jpg

 

For a stress test, I ran a Bitcoin miner on its benchmark mode since I've found the miner software can stress GPUs pretty effectively, and the temperatures I've seen come pretty close to what Bioshock Infinite can produce. I think you'll agree that these are more reasonable temperatures for the blocks.

 

koolance_bfgminer.png

 

So yeah, no need for an RMA. I'll be switching back to the Watercool blocks, though -- they look better, especially since they have a backplate. I'll just wait till the weekend to do the swap.

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