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Unboxing and Overview 2

XSPC makes sure you get the product in perfect shape with yet more foam protection and then a vacuum sealed plastic wrap over the GPU block as well. Once removed, we see a GPU block that is distinctively their own with a full length aluminum top cover that has a brushed finish and XSPC logo similar to the backplate.

The I/O port manifold is a love it or hate it affair, and I personally don’t really care for it.It is far too large and riddled with holes to resemble a piece of black cheese instead in my opinion, but even I can’t deny that with 6 ports to choose from (3 per inlet and outlet), this is a case of function over form. The manifold extending in two directions also means this is no longer a single slot cooling solution either. From the side, we get to see that the aluminum cover is over an acrylic layer which in turn is seemingly over a copper cold plate. The cold plate has raised sections that make contact with various components on the GPU PCB with either thermal paste or thermal pads in between, and does not have a polish for a mirror-like effect although it feels very smooth and flat to the touch.

Disassembly is a multi-step process of peeling out the layers here with screws holding every layer in place- first the aluminum cover, then the acrylic layer which as we now see is simply an intermediate to have the LEDs shine through for lighting. Left behind is a skeleton block that is still fully functional and has a stainless steel top with the manifold connected to it. This super thin solution is the basis for XSPC’s Blade series of GPU water blocks.

The manifold is held in place by four long screws, removing which reveals two circular O-rings that direct the coolant in and out of the block. The stainless steel top once removed reveals the cooling engine which is fairly simple relative to newer designs. XSPC has gone with the tried and tested serial flow design wherein the coolant enters the block from one side and remains a single stream as it cools components, gets hotter progressively and exits the other side. Other manufacturers have adopted a split flow design wherein the coolant splits at the center over the GPU core microchannels cut into the cold plate similar to a CPU water block, and this helps lower liquid flow restriction while also aiding in heat transfer provided you have decent flow rate in the block. The only real advantage with serial flow blocks is that the two sides are interchangeable completely, but I would rather see XSPC adopt a split flow design sooner than later myself. They remain among the few options left for a copper cold plate GPU block too.

Let’s take a look at the installation process now on the next page.

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