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Are Hydro Copper and other OEM water cooled cards worth the cost?

Skippman

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The last time I water cooled a GPU was when I had an ASUS Poseidon GTX-780. I'm currently running an eVGA GTX 1080 FTW. I'm planning to pick up a 3080 when they come out and I'm wondering if buying a pre-waterblocked GPU like the eVGA Hydro Copper series is worth the money. It seems like every time I buy a GPU with the intention of water cooling it in the future they either don't release a block for my specific card, or it's ridiculously expensive.
 

Izerous

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Waterblocks are not cheap to design / manufacture with all the variants that come out for a card. The ones that are the easiest to get blocks for are almost always the Founders editions and their compatible ones that first come out. After that its a gong show of mixed support and compatibility.

This also means often only the top few skews even get options. Why buy a $200 video card and put $100 block on it, the $300 card would have been the better option etc.
 

JD

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If you are set on buying the 3080 at launch, chances are they will all be reference design. You might as well grab the "founders edition" from NVIDIA or whatever OEM you like. Never any issue finding a block for a reference card.

I'd say the main downfall of buying a pre-blocked card is you really limit your resale ability. Most people don't have custom loops, and those who do, want the latest hardware.
 

FreeKnight

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I wouldn't buy a waterblock for a non-reference card unless I knew I was keeping it for 5+ years and didn't care about resale. You're better off finding out if there's better reference cards or not (such as the 300 vs 300A chips in the 2080 Tis) and just get the best option from that in a price/performance situation.

I went with my Zotac this gen because it had the best clocks for a reference card. In this case I was using a morpheus ii instead of a water block, but for the same reason. When it comes time to sell, I can throw the shroud back on and sell it quickly as opposed to sitting on a Hydro Copper or Poseidon for weeks or months or taking a decent price hit.

Plus the waterblocks for the strix or FTW cards seem to carry a price premium above and beyond the existing premium for standard blocks.
 

clshades

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I had hard time selling one of my oem water blocked cards. I'd recommend buying a 3rd party water block and installing it if I were to go that route again.


Most people are happy with fans on cards.
 

KaptCrunch

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you still need air flow over the video card for RAM

aftermarket block need good hand skills and tools

like rest said use a Ref card design takes most headeches away
 

Skippman

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I have a pretty extensive workshop including access to a CnC machine, a GlowForge, and 3D printers. So putting a waterblock on a GPU really isn't a huge deal for me. But I get what you all are saying about buying a reference card then putting an aftermarket cooler on it.

To be honest, I went almost exclusively EK this last build including the block for my Ryzen 7 3800. It easily blows all of my older Swiftech gear out of the, well, water. I have zero issues with buying an EK block for my next GPU.

As for reference designs, the last two cards I've bought have been eVGA FTW cards. While they're undoubtedly great cards, you're right about a reference design being superior. Sure, on benchmarks in reviews the binned RAM and GPU on these "high end" cards might benchmark 3% higher, but in practical use does that outweigh the inability to install whatever cooler on it that you want? Not in my book.
 

KaptCrunch

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No. Water block and back plate take care of that.

Cannot go wrong with an EK or heat killer block though.
yes what happens to radiant heat produced from GPU, will bring case temps up if not removed

HeatKiller All The Way
 
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clshades

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yes what happens to radiant heat produced from GPU, will bring case temps up if not removed

HeatKiller Al The Way
Dude every case normally comes with at least one fan blowing in or exhausting. Most of the heat is moved to the radiator, which is exactly the reason we water cool. There is some heat that comes odd the card that doesn't get picked up by the water cooling but not as much as you think.
 
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