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Follow the manual and place the thermal pads in the marked areas on the PCB, after having removed the plastic covers on both sides. I did appreciate that the VRAM thermal pads were already cut so it made things a lot easier here. XSPC has a lot of components covered here including the inductor coils and the VRAM power delivery ICs, although the primary heat sources remain the GPU, VRMs and VRAM modules as always. Apply thermal paste, and XSPC recommends pre-spreading the paste here, before placing the block on top and aligning the standoffs in the block with the holes in the PCB.

Now carefully flip the assembly over, and place it on a box such that the I/O plate of the PCB hangs past the box allowing the rest to lay flat. Use the provided screws, washers and nuts to install the block and also secure the I/O plate to the PCB as well which is a detail that more than one of XSPC’s competitors have forgotten about or not bothered to cater to. Note also that the EVGA ACX backplate, part of the GPU I used for testing, is fully compatible with the XSPC Razor water block so you can get away with this back plate if you have the same GPU.

In case you are going to use the XSPC back plate, start by placing the provided thermal pads over the two sets of ICs on the back, and then place washers over the appropriate holes noting that you may have to remove some of the screws/washers that were already used before. Once done, align the back plate on top and carefully install it using the provided longer screws making sure the washers have not moved. This is the trickiest part of the installation process but going one screw at a time and checking from the side continually will help a lot.

Removing the back plate and water block we see excellent contact everywhere, including a nice thermal paste spread. Good job getting this spot on, XSPC! Let’s now see how it performs beginning with liquid flow restriction on the next page.

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