Click the image to see the builds up close, it's in fairly high reseolution for exactly that reason
Disclaimer: What you learn through this thread may be used to modify a factory delivered product. What you do to it, you do by yourself. I am not responsible for any warranty you may break or any damage you may do to your property.
Through the short history of dedicated graphics cards we have seen a development from small cards that barely used any power and produced near to no heat, to the power hungry monsters that we have today such as the AMD Radeon R9 290 Series (Now more or less rebranded as r9 390/390x with double the amount of ram). With more power drawn and more heat produced we have transitioned in to larger coolers to keep the heat in check. There are several different designs ranging from standard designs that often include just a bare heat sink fitted directly to the core with a fan blowing air through a shroud and out the case. Then we have the slightly more advanced coolers that utilizes heat pipes and vapor chambers. In the end we have what many consider to be the ultimate cooling solution in computers, namely water cooling. There are more extreme ways of cooling then water cooling like dry ice and phase change cooling but they tend to involve far more work and many of them are not viable over time. When it comes to water cooling however there is a few downsides with it that may be scary to some people. The first one is leaks, this is an actual problem when working with custom water cooling as it is with most things that include fluids. To avoid this most who mount these systems prepare the system properly and test for leaks before they system is set in use. Never the less it can be a problem since it is dependent on your own skills to maintain and assemble it. The next problem that many may have outside of the high price on parts is that an open water cooling loop does require some maintenance.
A few years back, companies started making some interesting complete solutions for water cooling that solved these problems. They are well known today as “All in one units” and “closed loop coolers”, and they offer a complete water cooling system in one small package. It didn't take long before people started using these coolers for cooling their graphic cards, and we can see the ever growing popularity in the Nvidia “The Mod” thread here at OCN, as well as it's sister thread named AMD/ATI “The Red Mod”. Many different options of mounting these coolers has been invented and tried, and in this thread I intend to provide a library of these solutions. I do this so that it may be easier for people to find what they want, rather then rumaging thrugh countless threads to find the perfect option, you can find it all here. I do however encourage anyone who has made the mod or wants to do it to go to “The Mod” and “The Red Mod” thread, for it includes countless experiences with these mods and if you need any help there is tons of people there who are happy to do so.
To mount an AIO cooler to your card you will need the following:
A mounting bracket for your block/pump
A fan for your VRMs (dependent on your way of cooling VRMs)
These are optional but highly recommended:
Some heat sinks for your VRMs (depending on the size, you may not need a fan)
Some heat sinks for your vRAM
A way of reinforcing your card for the added weight
I can't believe I didn't add this sooner, it is such an important of the modding process after all. So in reality there are only a few cases where the mod is impossible to do or at the very least very dificult to do.
The first case would be with cards such as the new Fiji based cards from AMD, now you may ask yourself why you would do a mod on these cards when you can get the Fury X with an already decent AIO mounted on it. the answer is that I ahve no clue why, but there are always people doing weird stuff, so I figured I would include it here. Now this may also be very relevant for future cards utilizing the HBM technology as well so it may be a very relevant section in the future. The reason I would categorize these as impossible to mod is due to the placement of the core and the memory. The way these cards are built, the core and the memory is placed directly next to the die itself (the four stacks around the die in the picture below are HBM memory). Now you may say that this is great and all that, and in some scenarios it realy is a step up since you can utilize (or rather have to utilize) the same cooler surface for both the die and memory. This gives way better cooling to the memory and I suspect they may need it since it's stacked so closely. Although draws less power than ddr5, the close stack will likely develop a bit more heat since it's so much more concentrated. You may ask yourself why I have been going on and on about this, and the answer is quite simple. The HBM stacks are taller than the die itself. and while you may use a shim to fix this difference in hight, it is unlikely that you will find a shim that is thin enough to do it effectively. Thus I would say that currently speaking the Fiji based cards are not very good aplicants for "the mod".
The next instance where I would say that the cards is not able to be an aplicant for the mod, or at least much harder to mod is with cards that have a very small die. This may be something of a thought towards the future, or you may look at very old cards. In either case this may become an issue if the screw holes for the cooler are placed to close together as this would make it very difficult to actually fit a regular AIO cooler on the die. This is not an issue if you can find a smaller AIO cooler where the block can be placed between the screw holes easily, or you find another way to mount the block to the card. So I would categorize this as more of a dificulty than impossibility.
Cases where you would need a shim to use an AIO cooler or any other generalized cooler for that matter, are a bit more of a common problem.
If you have a card where the die is recessed from the protective ring around it like the AMD Raeon HD7950/7970 and the AMD Radeon R9 280/280x, then you will need to use a shim to be able to utilize any cooler on the card. The coolers that come from factory get around this by using an extruded part on the cooler surface itself, and you do get some coolers where this is the case, such as the specific 79xx models from Arctic and Alphenphön where they have included this to makle it easier. The same can be said about specific watercooling blocks that are made to fit those exact cards. In any other case you will have to use a copper shim to get around this. (Pictures will be added)
The next point is a bit more specific towards "the mod" itself since it is less of a problem if you don't have such a large surface to be fitted on the core (most AIO coolers are oriented towards CPUs, so they have a way larger surface area than is needed on a GPU). This is cases where you may have acard with a heatspreader plate mounted with the original cooler, these plates more or less act as one big heatsink that covers most of the PCB. There are a lot of cases where people have chosen to modify the card while still choosing tho keep this plate. the bigest problem here is that the opening around the die itself is usually to small for a CLC cooler to fit through. This is only a problem when the heatspreader sits higher than the die itself (which is usualy the case). Some fix this issue by filing away the area around the die, while others fix this by using a copper shim that is thick enough to reach the core surface when placing the AIO block. The images below whil showcase this somewhat. (Going to add images below, when I get the permission for it. For now te text is as it is because I don't want to bother editing it when I add the images.)
A mounting bracket is simply what you will be using to fit your pump/block combo to your graphics card. It may seem strange that there is an entire thread to help you do this, but for a time there was no official solutions for doing this. The bracket can contain a solution for fitting just the cooling block/pump to the card or it may include a fan mount for cooling your VRMs which is needed in most cases anyway. You even get brackets like the upcoming Corsair HG10 which includes a cooling plate and fan mount to not only cool your VRMs but also your VRAM. In the subsequent list I will try to provide a clear picture for the options that are currently available for you. Mounting Brackets:(Click to show)
NZXT Kraken G10, This is likely the most known bracket out there and is provided by a large company that specializes in Computer cases and cooling. This gives you the advantages of a 2 year warranty, but at the cost of a community that helps you if needed. You do however have customer support that can be used if need be. The largest downside to this one is of course that it only fits Asetek based coolers. Video!(Click to show)
In 2014 Corsair showed us the HG 10 at Computex, later in the year they also released it for sale. As of March 24th 2015 there is only two variatons available, one for the AMD Radeon R9 290/290X and one for the Nvidia Geforce GTX 780/770/Titan and Titan Black. The special thing about this bracket is that it utilizes the fan that came with the card and cools the VRMs and vRAM out of box utilizing a cooling plate similar to that found on the 780 and 290 reference coolers. It should also theoretically support any AIO cooler that has 1155/1156/1150 mounting holes out of box, but Corsair will stand by their claim that it only supports the Hydro series coolers. Keep in mind though that any atempt you do in fitting another cooler is done at your own risk and it should be done very carefully as the distance from the card to the mounting holes may be very different . It's a decent design and should cool the VRMs and vRAM decently well out of box, it also has a lower profile then many of the alternatives, so it may be preferred when doing SLI/Crossfire. Video!(Click to show)
The next one is GPU - COOL - The universal Bracket by richie_2010 who is an Artisan at OCN. While his first bracket design was brilliant in it's simplicity, the second version offers significantly better stability regarding the pump. It is not as universal as the first version, but should support just about any card and AIO unit out there. While being a step up in stability and ease of use, it is also significantly more stylish in my subjective opinion. By choosing this option you get the exact same support as before through the brilliant support thread here at OCN. The price is also decent, but it does lack the fan mount that you could get with the old mounting bracket. If nothing else you will be supporting independent businesses here at OCN under the Artisan program, so it is most definatly worth a look.
Oh, and did I mention that you can order it in any colour you want. There is even the option to order it with lights in all the colours of the rainbow.
As of late there have been a lot of talk concerning systems that are manufactured specifically for GPUs, and becasue of that I figured this category deserves a higher spot.These coolers makes it easy for you to do the transition from air to water, and with renowned water cooling companies entering this niche market it seems to be a very bright future for these mods indeed. These coolers are deisgned to take care of all the cooling that is needed on a GPU and in the next 12 months (I'm guessing time wise), we will see some new entries from companies like EKWB and Alphacool. Hopefully I can add those entries to this list soon, but for now I will leave you with what is currently available which is the Arctic Cooling Accelero Hybrid . This does however limit you a bit when it comes to the length of the tubing and the surface area available on the radiator, but some of you might find this to be a better option than a "ghetto" rigged system. Videos!(Click to show)
This is the only one I could find and it was unfortunately in what I presume is Russian. It shows of the cooler quite well though.
The fifth alternative is if you are in a bit of a DIY mood and just want to make a mounting mechanism yourself. If so then there is several options out there for you:
The McKee Maker option is what I used as a basis for my own designs that you can read more about lower down in this post. This was originally created for an AMD GPU so I am unsure as to how it would fit on a Nvidia chip, taking into consideration that the AM2/AM3 bracket that was used to create it doesn't have a large enough surface to fit the Nvidia mounting holes. In such a case you could check and see if the Intel bracket would be able to accommodate the holes, since I haven't owned a Nvidia card since my 7950GT I can not test for myself.
Then there is the option of copying my designs that are shown by me in the "Personal Experiences" section, and if you choose this then I would be happy to help you if needed. Just ask and I will answer to the best of my abilities.
The third DIY option is to go with the classic Zip tie approach, and as the name suggests it involves fastening the cooler to the GPU with zip ties. This is a proven approach and if you have the guts to do it then you can fit an AIO cooler to your card for an absurdly low price. Videos!(Click to show)
The sixth option is to simply add a GPU block to your GPU, but I only mention this because there is AIO systems out there that does have the ability to be expanded. These does however have the same risks as regular water cooling systems, but if you already own such a system then you might not care about that. If you do own one of these then chances are that you just haven't had the courage to move to a full out custom system, if so then there is at least several cheap GPU blocks that you could acquire such as this universal block by Alphacool that shows that you don't need to spend hundreds of pounds to cool your GPU with water. Then there is the most recent adition to this club, and although I ahve yet to see the GPU specific alternative I will add it here for future reference. The one I'm talking about seems to be on everyones lips at the moment and it's the EKWB Predator (240mm and 360mm), If we look at the 360mm version we see that EK include the following sentence: "Predator 360 features integrated Quick Disconnect Connector (QDC), a special no-spill connector that allows quick and tool-less expansion of the system without the need for draining of the unit. This allows users to effortlessly add a pre-filled QDC-enabled GPU water block." (https://shop.ekwb.com/ek-xlc-predator-360-incl-qdc). Personally I would assume this means that EKWB will start supplyiong these pre-filled GPU blocks (hopefully I'm not to far off base here), which would enable people to easily add a GPU block to the Predator system without any need to drain and refil the system. So this is one to look out for in the future. H220 mounting video(Click to show)
Recently there have been some suppliers going the way of the dodo so I figured I would add another section to this thread where I will list discontinued brackets and brackets where the retailer or manufacturer has stopped making/selling the products due to several different reasons. As such you will have to look for these on sites like Ebay and amazon as they will very likely only be available as used items. You may be lucky and get away with a very nice bracket for nickles if you do this, or you may end up being ripped off. So take care to do some research before and don’t act rashly if you don’t want to get scammed.
There are 3 manufacturers that I will include here that I previously had in the main post, so don’t be surprised to see some familiar ones in here:
Discontinued brackets:(Click to show)
The first one is one that has become a legend within this small community and filled the shoes after the Dwood brackets. This is of course Richie_2010’s bracket, and even though he still sells his new design he has stopped manufacturing the old bracket. This bracket is very simple in it's design but offers support for nearly every cooler out there, it has also shown to be very reliable although the initial design does not point towards that. The reason I say this is because it uses only 2 screws to secure the cooler to the GPU, but so far none of the buyers has had any problems with this. The upside to this bracket is it's price as well as the excellent support that you get through his OCN Support thread. So if you find this gem used, you should always compare it towards the price of the new one and decide if it’s worth it. That said if you can get this one from someone who is just clearing out their garage or something then it should provide a very versatile and solid experience for any AIO project you may be doing. Video!(Click to show)
The last one that has been previously listen in this thread is the Sigma_Cool bracket and they seem to be completely gone with the webpage being down and no trace of any information since May 2013. So you will likely have to get this one used if you ever want to get it, here is a direct paste of what I had in my thread:
The next option should is the Sigma_Cool bracket, it does have it's flaws but I would still like to mention it here. This is an excellent bracket when it comes to pure looks and more than anything it is the easiest to mount on your card. This is due to the special design of the bracket that has placed the mounting holes at a position where they are far easier to mount than the one I created as well as the Kraken G10. It does however have a downside when it comes to compatibility and quality, the bracket is made out of a hard plastic and as such will break easily if you flex it. This would however not be an issue as long as you only use an Asetek cooler with a cylindrical design (The Corsair H105 will not work but the Kraken X40 will). This would however just be an issue if you were going for the AMD/ATI based design or the GF114 based designs (MK.I [Se] and MK.II), the regular Nvidia design loooks like it would fit all Asetek based designs. Yet this is still a major flaw for those who can't use the regular Nvidia gracket as the MK.I [Se] and the MK.II is only compatible with a very select group of Asetek based coolers. Video!(Click to show)
For the fourth one I will be adding the Dwood bracket when I get time.
This thread has been heavily focused on the core of a graphics card as that is the part of the card that draws the most power and is by far the hottest part of it. Even though the core is the hottest part, that does not mean that there isn't any other parts that become hot on a card. With most components you will be fine with just simple air cooling without a heat sink, but with some it is almost a necessity to add a heat sink or some other means of cooling them. The parts that usually require some attention is the vRAM, the VRMs and for those of you running a dual GPU set-up you might want to slap something on the on board Crossfire/SLI chip. Since there are so many different approaches and companies involved in producing heat sinks I have chosen to represent some of the more general approaches. I will try and show some examples, but please know that I only want to show you what you have at your disposal. It will be up to you to choose what you think is the best option. Heat Sinks(Click to show)
The first section here is for the simplest option, and it involves single heat sinks mounted for each and every part that gets hot on your card. With all of these I do recommend that you have a fan over your VRMs, but depending on how much power your card draws that might not be necessary. Still, a good airflow over them is recommended. You have the option of choosing from several manufacturers and designs, but all in all you have three points that should control what you buy.
The first one being size, for VRMs you are going to need something around 6mmx6mm to 7mmx7mm in surface area. You also have to remember that the height might be a factor depending on where you mount it and what cooling solution you will be using above them. For the vRAM you should get something that is between 13mmx13mm and 16mmx16mm, and yet again the height would be decided by whatever cooling solution you might have over them. Although vRAM usually does not need heat sinks, it is recommended that you use some especially if you want to over clock.
The second point that should influence what you choose is price. If you are willing to pay more then you may have the option of going for more elaborate designs and you will be able to choose whatever material you may want.
This third point is closely intertwined with the second point, and concerns material. The two most commonly used materials in heat sinks are aluminum and copper. Copper is a slight bit better when it comes to cooling, but is a far more rare material and thus more expensive. Copper also weighs far more due to it's higher density and as such you may want to rethink doing huge heat sinks in copper, but smaller ones that fit on each chip is fine.
When fitting these heat sinks you will have two options, the first one being thermal adhesive tape and the second one being thermal glue. The glue would provide better cooling, but I don't recommend it unless you know for certain that you have broken your warranty. It's also a one time deal as it's permanent so anything you fit will be there until it's processed for parts in recycling. This is why I recommend thermal tape as you can always return to your stock cooling and do RMA on your card (as long as you haven't done anything physically wrong with it). When getting heat sinks for your card you should really try and check out E-bay and some Chinese stores as they may have them far cheaper then you would be able to get in your own country. Other then that then you may choose any heat sinks that you want, but I have added some here that will serve as an example for how they would look.
The second section is mainly here for VRM cooling as it concerns larger heat sinks that cover all the VRMs at once. If you can get these then they will provide better cooling then the single ones discussed in the first section. These are far harder to find and if you do find one it's unlikely that you will find one that fits perfectly to your card. There is however a large positive side to these as you can use thermal pads and thermal paste if they are fitted to your card with screws. There is also several companies that produce models made specifically for cards like the Gelid kit for 290x. I will also come back to this section when I bring up the DIY method as it opens up a whole new world of possibilities in this department.
The third and best option is to go for Full cover heat sinks and so far Swiftech is the king of the hill in that department. There is other brands that make them and I know Enzotech made some Full cover copper heat sinks for the GTX 285 back in the day. There is also the upcoming Alphacool heat sinks that may prove to be a very lucrative option as it is specifically designed for non reference cards. All of these may need some tweaking to be able to fit the current AIO designs, but it mostly involves some filing and cutting around the core of the card. Just mark out the section that would have to be removed and use any preferred tool to remove it (a Hacksaw and file is a cheap and effective solution). I should mention that these options are brilliant in combination with the blocks that they were designed for if you have a Swiftech H220 or some other expandable AIO unit. The biggest plus side with these are that you will not need a fan to cool your card as they are designed to operate independently from it. You will get better temperatures if you have a fan or at the very least decent airflow over them so it is still recommended.
A small update to this department as I contacted Alphacool regarding to their Nexxxos GXP coolers. These will be fitted for non reference cards and reference cards the like and the exiting thing about them is that they will be designed a lot like the Swiftech coolers, but with one major difference. The universal block that is used will draw heat from the heat sink as well as the GPU core. They have said that they will be releasing the heat sinks themselves for sale for those that want to use the GPX block again on future cards when they upgrade. My answer was that they will be releasing the heat sinks by themselves when the next generation of graphic cards get released, and they will be priced in the vicinity of 30-40€ depending on the card. Expect them to be priced the same or slightly lower when buying from a regular store as they won't push prices the same way on their own web store (that would mean they would not be able to sell them to stores as the stores would be out priced anyway). Just something to look out for if you are planning to get an AMD R9 3xx or Nvidia 8xx card.
This fourth section is really to just point out that many cards do come with relative good heat sinks on them and you are free to use these. If you have a cooling plate you may even choose to upgrade it through the means of fitting heat sinks on top of that. This is an option that I believe that to many ignores as you can get far better performance from them by adding a nice fan over them and changing the thermal pads for better ones. In my case I even modified them to fit closer to my VRMs, so it's fully possible to use them and get good results.
This fifth section is the one I'm most excited about as it involves DIY solutions. You first thought in this case should be how much you are willing to pay and how much you are willing to do. If you go for solutions that closely resembles ones that fit your card then it will be less work, but they may very well be more expensive then making something from the bottom up. You may modify any heat sink that you want. You can do a massive piece hanging of your card or you can do something sleek. You can modify a reference full cover heat sink like the ones mentioned in the third section to fit your non reference card, or you could choose to buy a large regular heat sink and create your own full cover heat sink. In this section the sky is the limit, but you may want to take a look at how much work you are willing to do and how it would have to be shaped to fit your card.
As our graphics cards grow ever larger and powerful they also require bigger and heavier cooling solutions. These all in one water cooling kits will weigh less then most larger heat sinks, but they may still add some stress to your graphics card and your motherboard connector. Due to the concern about this matter both from me and other members, I have chosen to include a section that tries to include different ways of relieving stress from your card. Now you may ask where does this weight get diverted to? Well it depends on what reinforcing solution you choose to go for. Something like the backplate will stiffen the card and ultimately divert weight to the screw mounting of your card to your case. The reinforcing bars will divert it in the same way or it may divert it directly to your case, depending on which design you choose. I have tried to include as many as I know of, and I will try to add more as I find them. Hopefully it is all explained in an orderly manner in the subsequent list: VGA Reinforcer:(Click to show)
The first and most common option is the GPU backplate and it is even fairly popular to include on newer cards with after market coolers. The backplate will help stiffen up the card and divert the weight to the case instead of the PCB. The main problem with backplates is that there isn't any universal ones that "fits all", as such you will have to get one specifically tailored to your card or modify one to fit your card. Here are some alternatives:
The first one I want to mention is one created by the same man behind the universal GPU bracket and includes a mount for a side mounted fan that would help cool your VRM and move some air to your existing GPU fan. The bracket can be found here and it even comes in several colours. Richie_2010 has said that there is more colours to come and I think you can more or less get any colour scheme to fit your build when he gets the ones he want. One of the cool features of this backplate is that you can order it with lights. They will work the same as on his fitting bracket with a plate of acrylic under the backplate that projects the light of some mounted LEDs (which again you can ask fore more or less any colour).
The second alternative is quite simple and it involves getting a pre-made backplate that usually is fitted together with a full cover GPU block. You can find a heap of backplates for your card (assuming its a reference card) at any reputable water cooling store. The main problem with these is that they are mostly fitted so that you can screw them on to your card and in to a full cover water block with pre-made threads. This can easily be fixed by simply applying a nylon washer (or any non conductive washer) and a nut in the same size as the screws that comes with the backplate. Then you simply fasten them to your card and you are good to go (just remember to fit your cooler first if the backplate does not have holes for the core). I have included a short list of reputable stores that I know have them but you can find them at nearly any of your local water cooling stores (assuming you have one):
Shops:(Click to show)
The third alternative is simply included for those of you who cant find a backplate for your specific model. You can use any of the backplates in the previous point but you may need to do some preparation before mounting and buying them. Before choosing your plate purely based on looks I strongly recommend you to use some photo editing software (like GIMP or paint.net) and open a picture of your card PCB and the backplate you want. Then you should have the backplate in a separate layer and move it so that all the holes align with each other (set opacity to 50% and remember that the backplate likely needs to be mirrored). The reason you do this is so that you know that the backplate will fit your card before you buy it. If you cant find a backplate that fits it at all then you can take the next step which is to remove the standoffs on the backplate with a file, then you mark where you have holes on your PCB on to your backplate (a backplate with core mounting holes on it is preferable so that you can mount that part and just mark on the backplate with a pencil through the holes. Then you drill holes in the backplate where you have holes in your PCB and fit it the same way as point 2 (just remember to use plenty of nylon/rubber/fabric/plastic washers on the back of the card so that the backplate does not touch any of the solders on the card and short circuits it). Enjoy your new backplate!
This last point is just to inform. Some cards are already delivered with backplates and you are more than welcome to use those on your card with any cooling solution you wish. just fit them with nuts, bolts and nylon washers if they are originally fitted to your cooler.
The next point concerns PCB reinforcers. This is more or less a metal construction fitted with your PCI slot screws and then to your card, and it will stiffen your card so that it doesn't bend. EKWB has one for the AMD Radeon R9 290X and the Nvidia Geforce 780Ti. I also recently found another one made by Bitspower, it's a bit more pricey as Bitspower usually is but it is truly universal and you should have no problem fitting it to any card with the use of some nuts and bolts combined with some L brackets. The EKWB reinforcer's will fit to the card itself with nuts, bolts and washers, but the Bitspower will likely need some tweaking to fit AIO solutions. It will apparently fit every full cover block without a problem though. I also know that quite a few manufacturers of cards that are delivered with these reinforcement brackets and you are more than welcome to use these with any cooler you want, just fit them as I suggested with the EKWB reinforcer if needed. Combine this with a backplate and you would need to add some serious weight to it to twist the PCB, Enjoy a rock solid construction!
The very last point is one I attempted to create myself but so far I haven't gotten around to finishing it. It entails a reinforcing bracket that is fitted to the case and then to the PCB with L shaped brackets as well as nylon washers, bolts and nuts. if you want to attempt to create one of these then I will link you to my original point of inspiration so that you may make what I could not. I was originally inspired by the Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme IV and it would entail using a bracket like it's "graphics card holder" and L shaped brackets to fit it to the PCB. Good Luck with your mod!
While this topic will fit here just as well as any other thread, I have been reluctant to post anything in it yet. The reason for this is simply because I did not know how to write about the fans, but I have decided that I will just mention the basics and come with a few recommendations. Ofcourse when we are talking about fans, it is not always as simple as saying this fan and that fan is best. There are ofcourse many factors that will play in, ranging from price to performance tosimply the way you will use them. So in this thread I will focus on two categories. Namely fans that will work the best on your radiator, and a small section about fans for cooling your VRMs and vRAM. Radiator Fans:(Click to show)
For most of you this may not be a nesessety, as I am quite sure most AIO systems comes with the needed amount of fans. Still, you may be considering going for a more effective or quiet type of fan. There is also the option of running a so called Push/Pull setup on a radiator, this is when you put a fan on the front of the radiator and one on the back of it. With the front fan "pushing" air though the radiator and the rear fan "pulling" air through the radiator, effectively creating a very efficient channel of air going through the radiator. The push/pull setup is particularily effective with fans that has less static pressure. The important thing to consider is that the fans that are stacked in a push/pull configuration need to be of the same type, this is simply because if one of the fans is faster or delivers more pressure the other fan may be foreced to go in a speed that it is not designed for which again is not exactly good for the motor in the fan itself (it may end up having a far shorter lifespan due to it).
So... What should you consider when choosing a radiator fan? Well the first thing to consider is the size of the fan needed, then you need to consider your budget. So after figuring out these things what should you really be looking for with a radiator fan? A good radiator fan has as high a static pressure as possible at the RPM you are looking to run it at, while high air flow is also good (in fact a combination of both delivers an excellend radiator fan) the static pressure is more important while using radiators (especially looking at how dense many of the AIO radiators are). So what if you can't find a good static pressure fan within your budget? I will list a couple of good budget fans as well, while they will not deliver as much static pressure as premium radiator fans they will perform well for the money. Premium Static Pressure Fans:(Click to show)
While this section used to be reserved for only a select few in the industry, in 2014 we saw quite a few fans hit the market for exactly this purpose. However I want to say that these are simply my recommendations and I am open for sugestions from anyone on this matter.
120mm(Click to show)
When we are talking about 120mm fans the king of the hill used to be the Scythe Gentle Typhoon and while these are still excellent fans, they went out of production in 2013/2014 and used ones are fairly expencive. SO we will have to look at alternatives, and while some will claim otherwise these alternatives are as good if not better then the Gentle Typhoon.
First we have the Noctua NF-F12 which has been revered by many as the best fan and it went head to head with the Gentle Typhoon.
The next one I would like to mention is the Corsair SP120, and wile it performs about the same as the noctua and Gentle Typhoon it is a bit cheaper in the US. Something to mention is that it comes with interchangable rings that you can paint and use to make that build theme of yours fit even better (the L version of this fan is included with all new Hydro series coolers), they can also be found in an LED enabled version as well as a Performance and Quiet edition as well as PWM and 3-pin.
The next on the list is a fairly special fan, as it comes from 3 different manufacturers. It was developed by both Blacknoise and Alphacool, and is licensed my Phobya as well. This means you can find quite a bit of different finishes and setups for these fans. It is ofcourse the Noiseblocker Eloop. This fan is well known for being quiet and perform extremely well, there are tests that shoiw it go head to head with the revered Gentle Typhoon and win in several cases. So... which one do you want? well there are the standard versions from Blacknoise that tends to be a bit on teh expencive side of what you can get these fans for (They call their fan series Noiseblocker), it comes in four different 3 pin versions ranging from 800RPM to 2400RPM, as well as two different PWM versions at 1500RPM and 2000RPM. Then we have alphacool's versions which have blue blades and can be found in two editions, the 1200RPM and the 2300RPM, both of which come with regular 3-pin connectors. Then there is the Phobya editions that can be found with both red and black blades. You can get the black version in both 1000RPM and 1800RPM editions, while the red version can only be found in a 1600RPM edition. All the Phobya and Alphacool fans are 3-pin so you will have to go with Blacknoise Noiseblocker if you want PWM, on the pluss side Phobya nad Alphacool fans do tend to be cheaper than the Blacknoise Noiseblocker fans.
The next on the list is the Alphacool Sussuro, which I have yet to read any tests on. It is however fairly well priced and it should at least on paper perform exceptionally well, whith specefications that beat the Eloop. It is something to consider, and I can't wait to read some reviews of it.
The Next is the Cooler Master Silencio FP 120, this fan was one that surprised me a bit. I didn't know of it before Cooler Master included it on their new line of Nepton and Seidon Coolers (which is actually one of the rasons why this is one of the AIO coolers I tend to recommend), but they also sell them seperatly. They seem to perform quite well and they are delivered in both 3-pin and PWM editions, so it is something to consider if you want a good fan as they are very agressively priced as well as good performers.
This next fan is one that has gotten a lot of praise from watercoolers all over the world, and it seems to have taken the market with storm. It is ofcourse the EKWB Vardar, and it can be found in 1150RPM, 1450RPM, 1850RPM, 2200RPM and 3000RPM, all of which come with 4-pin PWM headers. I would really like to read up on some reviews on this as well, and I'll probably do that and update this thread with more information.
While there are plenty of high quality static pressure fans in the 120mm size range, there is less so within the 140mm size range. I will list some that people do tend to swear to, and a couple that has been promised a release in 2015. While some of these do perform well, and the added area of a 140mm radiator adds a lot to the efficiency. The 140mm fans that I will mention do tend to have significantly lower static pressure than their 120mm counterparts. As such, many do actually decide to mount 120mm fans on a 140mm radiator using a shroud like this.
First fan I will mention is an old and trusted fan, it's the Noctua NF-P14s redux. This is the same fan as the older high end NF-P14, it's just a new and cheaper alternative with a regular 140mm frame (not to mention it's grey and not brown). It can be found in a PWM editon, a 1200RPM editon and a 900RPM edition.
Then we have yet another Noctua fan, it is what Noctua themselves will recommend. Namely the NF-A14, this fan is by no means bad. It performs about the same as the P14, but does cost a bit more than the redux edition. IT comes in several editions including a PWM edition, a ULN edition (ultra low noise) and a regular version.
The third alternative I want to mention is the Phanteks PH-F140SP, it is Phanteks' answer to a static pressure optimised fan in the 140mm segment. It performs about the same as the previously mentioned fans, so it is a good alternative for a good 140mm fan. It is also installed as stock in all Phanteks cases.
Then we have the Cougar Vortex series fans that I do see a lot of people use, they have decent performance and should do well on a radiator.
Now with the Corsair SP140, we are talking about a fan that Corsair swears will be released soon. Still we don't have any data on this, but their SP120 series has done well, and the fact that it's named SP140 and not AF140 means they will focus on static pressure on this one. The Corsair H110i GT is the first product to be released with these fans. Sure it's in their bundled L edition, but it should be fairly similar to what the retail version will be.
Good News, EK has released their 140mm Vardar fans. At the moment we only have access to 1 version of the fan, which is the EK-Vardar F1-140 running at 1150RPM. The currentspecs and graphs that I have seen point towards a very good fan that is able to perform well while still keeping the noise level at a minimum.
There is also another gem that I stumbled across, namely the new Noiseblocker Eloop 140mm. You get them in 3 different volt regulated fans at 600, 900 and 1400 rpm as well as a PWM enabled fan rated at max 1200 RPM. This fan seems to be a good contestant for this use and if it's anything like the 120mm eloopps, then I can personally testify that it's indeed VERY silent. Keep your eyes on this one.
It is hard to recommend any particular fan here as most fans do tend to be less specialized. I would look for some used fans, as well as looking at brands that you know to be quality. Even so I know the following two fans are ever so popular as budget fans:
The Yate Loon fans, really this is what many have chosen to run in their water cooling set-up going years back. They offer 120mm fans as well as 140mm fans and do perform fairly well for the pricing point, but I would recommend running several of these fans in push/pull to get decent performance out of these.
Then we have the Arctic F12, it is fairly cheap and do outperform the Yate Loon in many cases. It is also from a reputable company that does know a thing or two about cooling. This fan is what is mounted as standard on the Arctic Cooling Accelero Hybrid AIO solutions. So you do know that Arctic does seem to think them at the very least adequate as radiator fans. they also have decently priced 140mm fans.
This section is under construction, the info that is here is still accurate, but not complete
When it comes to all in one liquid coolers you have two main approaches. One being the main concern in this thread and it involves factory sealed systems that are meant to offer care free cooling in the same way as regular old heat sinks. This offers you close to the performance of regular custom loops with a few drawbacks. As it is most CLC solutions use cheaper radiators and weak pumps to keep cost down, now this is all good when it comes to the purchase price but it does lower the performance a bit. This is the main reason why many people are against the regular AIOs, because they claim that you get more performance in open loop kits. On the plus side the purchasing price is about the same as for high end heat sinks, so we get the performance of water at regular heat sink prices. The second approach is the open loop AIOs like the well known Swiftech H220/H320, the Cooler Master Eisberg kits and the Fractal Design kits. These kits are made to be expandable and usually comes with more powerful pumps and sometimes better radiators. They are also expandable with regular GPU blocks and more radiators, so they can offer better performance. The main downside is that some of these kits are more or less open loops, so it includes all the needed maintenance work and they do tend to be in the pricey range for AIO kits. If you choose to go down this route then you may want to opt for some of the “custom” kits that many water cooling companies offer such as Alphacool, XSPC, EKWB, Phobya and several others. These may offer you better performance, but at a higher starting price. Never the less I will just mention the regular AIOs in this thread as they are far more available, and they do offer the same capabilities as the CLC kits but with the same downsides and upsides of open loops. They do however offer excellent performance for the price tag and it does save quite a lot of space compared to full out open loops. I have tried to mention the most known solutions in the list underneath, that way you can choose the option that fit your system best. I will also try and include a review where I can find one so that you may compare the performance of each cooler (they will be on a CPU, but the difference between them should be the same on a GPU) Closed Loop Coolers (CLC):(Click to show)
There are several approaches to fitting a CPU cooler within the market of CLC cooler, and I will structure this section of my thread accordingly. All approaches will either be named by the company that manufactures them or by the company that sells them. I have then structured each part so that you may look at different sizes within each fitting mechanism. Please know that I have only included the ones I know of and I will add more as more are released to the market and more become known to me. You will find all CLC units in the subsequent lists:
Alpenfoehn(Click to show)
When it comes to cooler master they have two different product lines, consisting of the Nepton and the Seidon. Teh Seidon units tend to be great units for people with an AMD or ATI card as the older units (those with round pumps) can be mounted directly to the card without a bracket of any sorts. The Newer Seidon units looks like they use a newer square design on the pump/block. The Seidon and Nepton product line is separated by the size of the radiators. The seidon units utilizes the popular 120mm sized fan size, while the Nepton utilizes the larger and less common 140mm fans (More and more newer cases comes equipped with fans in this size). This gives the Nepton units more surface area for the radiator and with the correct fans they should outperform a 120cm radiator. Still all of these units provide good cooling at a reasonable price. Something that should be mentioned is that the Nepton and the newer Seidon units need to utilize either the GPU_Cool or the zip tie approach to be fitted to a graphics card. The following lists show all the units in their respective sizes:
Single 120mm Fan (120)(Click to show)
The Cooler Master Seidon 120m utilizes the round Seidon design and can thus be mounted directly on to an AMD/ATI card, if you wish to mount it on an Nvidia card you will have to use the GPU_Cool bracket or the Zip tie approach to get it fitted. It performs adequately for a 120mm radiator and would be a nice entry level cooler with a 27mm thick radiator.
The Cooler Master Seidon 120XL utilizes the round Seidon design and can thus be mounted directly on to an AMD/ATI card, if you wish to mount it on an Nvidia card you will have to use the GPU_Cool bracket or the Zip tie approach to get it fitted. It performs quite well for a single 120mm radiator and should represent a step up in performance from the 120m. IT has a 38mm thick radiator so it may take up more space then the 120m but should perform better as well.
The Cooler Master Seidon 120v seems to be an updated design and utilizes a square design on the pump/block unit. This is a bit unfortunate when mounting them on your Graphics card as you can only use the GPU_Cool bracket or the Zip tie approach to get it fitted. Still Cooler Master claims better performance over the 120m with 27mm thick radiator so we might be looking at a better block and pump since the radiator is the same size. It may be a jump up in performance from the 120m but I'm unsure if it will perform better then the 120XL.
The Cooler Master Seidon 120v Plus is supposedly an improved edition of the 120v so it utilizes the same block design as it's predecessor. This is a bit unfortunate when mounting them on your Graphics card as you can only use the GPU_Cool bracket or the Zip tie approach to get it fitted. Still Cooler Master claims better performance over the 120v with 27mm thick radiator so we might be looking at a better block and pump since the radiator is the same size. It may be a jump up in performance from the 120m but again I'm unsure if it will perform better then the 120XL.
Unfortunately I can't seem to find a review on this but if you find one you may use that to compare it with other coolers.
This section concerns open loop all in one units that come pre-assembled, I may add unassembled units in a category of their own as the thread grows. It should be mentioned that some manufacturers promise a maintenance free cooler for a given time so with some of them you will at the very least have a hassle free time within a given time period. For now these are the ones that is known to me within this category:
Cooler Master(Click to show)
I always wanted to add a section to this thread that includes personal experiences, especially since there is so many options in this matter and there might be thousands of variables when it comes to results and direction. So far I have one unique experience included, but I hope to add many more in time as diversion will truly show the potential and downsides of the mod. Therefore I have included all the different experiences that I have been allowed to publish in the subsequent list: Personal Experiences:(Click to show)
I have separated each and everyone to make it more organized and easier to get to.
This one is by Rainmaker91 (me) and shows the process of mounting a homemade fitting bracket with a fan and heat sinks. It also shows the end results in the form of temperatures.
Rainmaker91(Click to show)
This is how I made my own cooling bracket to fasten my Corsair H105 to my GPU.
My original project was simply to get a NZXT Kraken G10 as it supports all Asetek coolers out there, I also bought myself a Corsair H105 as I figured it would be able to handle more than my GPU could ever throw at it.
After waiting nearly 2 months to get the G10, I got fed up and canceled the order. This meant I needed to look for alternatives, and other than the universal bracket by richie_2010 I didn't really see any options out there. The universal bracket is a good alternative but I still think it looks a bit basic for my tastes, thus I continued looking for alternatives. After a while I finally found the Sigma_Cool mkII that seemed to suit me good both for looks and compatibility, or so I thought. I ordered one of them and when it arrived in the mail I tried it out on my H105, to my surprise it ended up not fitting at all. It was no fault of theirs, I had simply made the assumption that if it fit one Asetek AIO it would fit all. I tried forcing it on the H105 and just while I thought I could bend it so that it would fit it ended up breaking in half. It was after all a product made entirely of plastic and it might be good enough to hold the pump to the GPU, but it certainly wasn't an unbreakable product. Never the less, if you own one of the Asetek AIO systems that is supported then it might be a viable option for you.
After breaking the Sigma_Cool bracket I was left with no other alternative then to either make my own or modify the bracket bundled with the H105 as is done here. Since I wanted something that would be sturdy and good looking it meant I had to create my own bracket I ended up combining it with the Fan mount found in this guide. The bracket is largely based upon the Sigma_Cool MkII but it has been redesigned so that it can be mounted on any Asetek AIO, I also chose to do it the way Asetek intended by attaching it to the pump by sliding it on and twisting it so that the cogs overlap.
I also desired to create something to support any extra weight a cooler would add, and I based it on Arctic Cooling's designs . This support bracket would also be where I ended up adding any stylish stuff thats there purely for looks. The support bracket was supposed to be fitted to the card and cooler by using angles and screws so that the support bracket would help take some of the weight from the card. As of yet it is not finished but I figured it looked so good that I just mounted it in the case without fastening it to the GPU. The production process was very crude and I ended up creating everything by "hand" out of a 2mm sheet of scrap aluminum I had laying around. After the products were finished I sanded them down and added a coat of primer before I sprayed it all with 3 coats of some Heat resistant paint I had laying around (you could use any kind of paint, the heat resistant was just what I had at the time). The tools I used to create all parts was a Jigsaw, a drill, a sander and some files to shape the "finer" edges of the aluminum (aluminum is very soft so I ended up removing quite a bit with a file).
I wanted to show you all my final result, and if anyone has any questions about the production process or simply just want to post a general comment then feel free to do so.
And here comes the Pictures:
Here is the finished Bracket that is used to hold the pump in place on the GPU
This is the Fan mount that is fitted to the GPU bracket and with a screw to the PCB
Here is how the screws are mounted (I used nylon and fiber discs to make sure the screws didn't short circuit the board). The ram heatsinks have also been mounted, and as you can see they have to be placed a bit strangely to accommodate the large block and pump.
Here I have mounted everything on the card
This is the support bracket, that isn't really supporting anything at the moment. I added some plexi that I had left over that I engraved, and some LEDs to make it "glow".
In these 2 pictures you see the entire thing mounted in my computer.
I also bought myself a cheap backplate that I ended up modifying a lot so that I could keep my VRM heatsink and so that it would fit my non reference 7950.
Now for the part you all might be wondering about; the temps are impressive and I would like to say that they alone justify the jump to watercooling. The problem with that is that I can't seem to manage to produce enough heat with my 7950 with the stick clock, there is also the fact that my stock cooler was a very good piece of machinery that held my GPU in the mid 60s under heavy stress. The main reason I did this was so I could better control the noise level of my computer and in that regard I would say it's a big success. The best thing about a radiator is that you can easily get good temps with dead silent fans as long as you run them in push/pull. The temps I got with the core at 850mhz and memory at 1250mhz and the corsair fans at 100% was somewhere between 57*c and 58*c with MSI Kombustor running a burn in test. The most impressive feature here is that the temp doesn't increase that much with overclocking, and with a core at 1200mhz I get under 70*c which I find is good for a GPU designed to be at 90*c.
In regards to using water cooling on your GPU it follows the exact same principles that regular water cooling does. Thus you may add better fans on your radiator to get better temperatures on your core. For me the drop was drastic, when I added a push/pull setup of Noiseblocker Eloop B12-3 fans (running at 1000 RPMs) my temperatures dropped down to 45*c. This was in my eyes a drastic improvement and it did so all the while lowering my noise levels, so it is definitely something you should consider doing. It is all abount money in this regard though so if you are a bit more scraped for money the fans that came with your AIO unit will do just fine temperature wise.
this looks exactly like the bracket i saw on ebay under the astek stuff..r u in partner with them (joke)
nice mod btw..
, nah... But I suspect they just made it out of the same principles. It is after all based on Asetek designs and as such anyone who has the pump themselves can figure it out.
And thanks, I have no idea how long I will keep it though as I suspect I will upgrade to a full custom loop when the next generation of AMD GPUs get released (I suspect they will have fixed most of the quirks with 295x or 390x). I might end up gifting it away for the price of shipping (Or just sell it with my AIO coolers), it's always fun to make your own components and learning from it so it's not a total waste
I updated the original post to contain a list of the AIO cooler mount that I know of. There is sure to be many more out there so if you know of any or has any suggestions or questions then please just leave them in a post in this thread. I also updated the thread headline to better fit the new content as it doesn't necessarily just entail Asetek coolers anymore.
if you end up dumping these kits..pm me..
ill happily accept them...i think you should post in either the mod threads too..and people are misreading your thread..i see it as an information giude more than a mod guide..theres constantly ?s in the mod threads for diff aio coolers and brackets..if you can become the other party for pure hardcore info..your gonna do great with this thread..
Just rename the thread or ask a senior moderator for advise..as it is now i love it..youve got good insight and nice bracket ideas..keep this one goin and contact a few guys like cakewalk s..nukemaster..cravinmild.ask them if theyll help you out too..theyre real hardcore modders