Most of the parts arrived a few days ago from Performance PCs. I'm still waiting on the fittings from Barrow. They've been sitting at the Los Angeles USPS ISC for almost a week now.
One of the first things I wanted to deal with was the G80 bracket on the EK Thermosphere. If you look at the pictures of the EVGA 980Ti FTW below, you'd see that it has a midplate that EVGA calls Memory MOSFET Cooling Plate (MMCP). I wanted to use this midplate along with the universal VGA waterblock from EK because I didn't like the solution that Alphacool offers with their NexXxos GPX coolers, which were just released for my graphics card. The issue with the EVGA midplate is that it contains four protrusions that will interfere with the EK bracket, as it does with other cooling solutions such as the NZXT G10. A viable solution would have been to use a copper shim, and I actually ordered a set of 25mm x 25mm x 1.5mm copper shims for this purchase. I decided that I'd rather not have two layers of TIM and a piece of copper between the GPU and the waterblock, so I ordered a spare G80 bracket from EK to modify. You can also see how the stock ACX 2.0 heatsink has notches cut out to deal with the midplate protrusions.
The bracket is 2mm thick. I figured 1mm removed at the pertinent locations should be sufficient, so I got started with a dremel.
It was working, but it wasn't very pretty, and it was taking way too long.
So out came the cutting wheel. Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of the cutting, but here is the really ugly but working final product next to the original.
After that, it was just a matter of cleaning the block with the 91% isopropyl alcohol, spreading some Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut on the GPU, and mounting it.
In addition, I needed a way to cool the VRMs even with the midplate still mounted. I picked up two NoiseBlocker Blacknoise Silent Pro 92mm PE-P fans from PPCS and a PCI fan bracket from eBay for this purpose. They're wired up to a 4-pin PWM to mini GPU 4-pin fan connector so I can still let the 980ti control fan speeds. I've tested the fans hooked up to my motherboard. They're surprisingly quiet even at 1800 rpm. They're rated at 20db at full speed.