Unboxing and Overview
I am going to use smaller thumbnails of images to shorten the length of the individual pages based on some feedback. As usual, click on each image to view full size if interested.
Aqua Computer operates a webshop and thus we begin with a look at the shipping packaging as well. No complaints here with the use of an appropriately sized box and packing paper all around the individual items themselves.
As mentioned before, I received not just a waterblock but also a backplate. Both come in individual packaging, and have to be ordered separately as well. Let us begin with the waterblock now. The product packaging uses Aqua Computer’s blue, yellow and black color scheme which is in line with the company logo. No illustration or details of the actual product inside aside from a label on one side, and there are two flaps to help keep the contents inside in place.
Open the box and you immediately see the waterblock itself in a plastic wrap. Underneath and to the side outside the thick foam cutout are the accessories. The foam piece is sturdy enough to where even a naked hex nut driver did nothing but stay in place, so this is good packaging here. Along with the driver, you get a manual which is fairly cramped but does enough to help even first time users- as long as you are using the NVIDIA Founders Edition GPU. Any other reference PCB/third-party cooler version will need you to figure out how to remove the cooler off the PCB itself. As far as mounting materials go, there are two stop plugs included along with stainless steel screws, bolts and a strip of thermal pad. No thermal paste included here, so please be aware in case you do not already have some.
The waterblock itself comes in a vacuum sealed plastic wrap, and this helps keep the nickel plated copper finish clean and dust-free when you remove it. There is a LOT of metal here, with what is essentially a one-piece cold plate/frame combo that then has a top cover screwed on. In this case, I have the black smoked acrylic top that offers lower light transmission but looks great by itself, while adding a darker tone to colored coolants underneath. There are other options available including a clear acrylic top cover as well as unplated copper cold plates.
As a result of the thick cold plate/frame used which weighs a lot by itself, the kryographics block is not full length in that it does not cover the entire GPU PCB. This is an aesthetics consideration only, as it is a full cover block that actively cools the GPU core, VRMs and VRAM modules. Aqua Computer has laser engraved on the company name, the Made in Germany tag as well as the kryographics Pascal on the metal itself, and this is also present on the I/O port manifold. This is one of the blocks that uses a split central flow, the first from Aquacomputer to do so, and thus there are designated inlet and outlet ports wherein you can get that extra bit of performance vs the other way round.
There are four ports in total on the manifold, and thus the two stop plugs that come with the block. The nickel plating is exceptional with no machining marks visible and a mirror finish applied. The thick cutouts in the metal that make contact with the VRAM modules indicate the use of thermal paste over thermal pads, if you had missed this so far.
Disassembly is fairly easy with just a few screws from the top that hold the block together. There is also a thin metal plate that goes around the acrylic top cover to provide uniform force when the three parts are screwed together. As we saw earlier, Aqua Computer has used a split central flow design here wherein the coolant enters from one port into what is essentially a jet plate over the core microfins, splits into two streams in the center and these two parallel streams traverse the block before combining and exiting the other port. There are two O-rings used here, one around the jetplate and the second around the cooling engine of the block itself. This is a similar design that has been adopted in CPU waterblocks to good success, and it is good to see GPU blocks adopting the same design. This has an advantage in reducing the liquid flow restriction of the GPU block, and also helping cool the GPU core further as a result of the two coolant streams travelling less and getting not as hot as one stream going the entire length. The coolant flow is better illustrated in the last image above with a red colored coolant.
On to the backplate now. We already got a brief look at the product packaging before, so let’s see what is inside:
More foam pieces here to help protect the contents inside, including one on top as well. Below lies the thick aluminum backplate, and below/to the side are the other parts. You have a user manual similarly detailed as the one for the GPU waterblock, a replacement manifold with built-in heatpipe, a heatpipe cover and mounting hardware including two strips of thermal pads.
The backplate has a light blueish hue to it, but it is hard to tell it is not black once installed and in your case. The underside has two sections that contact the VRMs as well as a row of chokes from the other side of the PCB, and thermal pads are placed here to aid in heat transfer. Not sure what is the point of cooling the chokes necessarily, but it could simply be to prevent any electrical shorting. When assembled, you would have the new manifold, which has the heatpipe through it and held in place via an O-ring, in contact with the coolant and drawing heat away from the backplate as whole. As such, the backplate is indeed actively cooled.