I ended up liquid cooling this card after all. I looked up some videos on YouTube for inspiration. I didn't want to go the route of a custom water block and then a custom loop. Maybe in the future, but for now I just wanted to get this going.
Here is what I bought:
• Kraken G10 bracket (G12 came out yesterday but the G10 works just fine and is $10+ cheaper)
• Kraken x61 liquid cooler (dual radiator)
• Black aluminum heat sinks, two different sizes (pictured below)
Not part of this discussion: I decided to liquid cool my CPU since I was already taking things apart. Why not, right? I bought the Kraken x41 to do that.
Once everything arrived, it was fairly simple and straightforward. I took the housing off the PCB. My card doesn’t have a back plate so I didn’t have to worry about that. Once I had the housing off, I applied the heat sinks over the areas that the housing had thermal tape/strips over. From there putting together the G10 and x61 was very easy, then I applied it to the card.
That entire process took about 45 minutes. Now here is where my plan didn’t go great.
Once everything was in place, I put the card in the motherboard and tried to put the radiator+fans at the top of my case. Well, this didn’t work out because I now had the radiator tied to the CPU in the back of the case and there wasn’t room at the top for the dual radiator (just the way my case was designed). I had to remove all the fans in the front of my case, as well as all the drive bays and my two hard drives, find new homes for my hard drives (2.5” SSD can go above the PSU enclosure, as shown in the picture, and my 3.5” fits perfectly on the “floor” of my case and is secured), and redo some cabling.
After that, I was able to put the dual radiator in the front in a pull configuration. Doing this was actually a pain in the butt, but eventually I got everything in and snug. I turned it on and gave it a test run and thankfully, everything worked.
I can’t remember all the details, but what I can remember is the following:
CPU Intel i5 6600K OC at 4.5GHz (this was my air cooled OC) running at 20 degrees idle, 40 under heavy load. I’m going to try pushing this to 5GHz tonight which is going to require a voltage push.
GPU has a base clock of 1480, boost clock of 1582. I had been able to push the clock to 1950 with air cooling and temps in the 80’s. But with temps that high it couldn’t maintain that 1950 rate. With the liquid cooling I’m now at 2200 stable, with temps not exceeding 46 degrees. It passed 3d Mark’s stress tests 7 straight times last night. Overall, very happy with this.