- Unique air/liquid combo cooling for select nVidia/AMD VGAs
- Flexible mounting options
- MX-4 thermal compound included
- 2-Year Limited Warranty
Good, once installed 05/12/2013
1. Keeps 550 Ti very cool - 49 degrees C at 99% load on brutal stress test over a period of 3 continuous hours.
2. Comes with heat sinks for Voltage Regulators, VRAM - A very complete solution
3. Very quiet regardless of load.
1. Takes up 3 expansion slot spaces (4 total, including the card itself) and here is why: The EGA 550 Ti model that I have has VRAM on both sides, so if I want to heat sink all the VRAM (which I do), I have to put the heat sinks on both sides of the card - This takes up an additional slot above the video card. The plastic housing for this solution fills the space that the original heat sink and fan had taken, and then it's height prevents me from installing a card under it.
2. Infuriating to install! This is no joke, people. I read the reviews before purchasing this item and was aware of the complaints about the installation. I figured there were a number of wetware reasons that they had difficulty. I had NO IDEA it would end up being this bad. I can't count how many times I exclaimed about how poorly designed this product installation was.
a. The instructions required constant attention - often re-reading instructions and the oversimplified pictures. It required a lot of educated guesswork, and each time, I needed to put down what I was holding together to re-read and reinterpret.
b. The little stickers to keep the spacers in place were not at all obvious in the instructions that they were double sided. So I had no idea why they were needed at first. By the time I figured that out, I had already accidentally damaged a few and there were no extras. To top it off with these stickers, the paper just stuck to them and I just pulled off a layer of paper. A real pain in the behind. Finally, once I got them separated from the paper, some of them stuck to themselves and were then useless. Trying to line holes up and get screws in without these stickers was near impossible, and I ended up ditching two of the spacers for the sake of my own sanity.
c. The combination of things they want you to do in order to install the water cooler and housing on the GPU board was surely intended to be done with robotics. You have to line up holes on several layers when you have no idea where they are - because you can't see them. The black casing makes this even more difficult. Even worse: I had finally - FINALLY - gotten two screws in and it took well over an hour to try to get the other two in - come to find out, the first two screws had gone in incorrect holes. I had to unscrew them and try again.
Don't lose any parts! It comes with ZERO extra! (not counting heat sinks)
Overall, the instructions were cryptic to say the least, and the expectations the designer has of a single pair of hands and eyes are unrealistic.
Once installed, everything is great. But expect to spend a long period of time and complete frustration getting to that point. Make sure you are around company that will tolerate your frustration, anger, and colorful language during and after the installation. Maybe do something to calm yourself once you have finished. Please, don't harm anyone over the installation of this product.
Since I had extra heat sinks and glue, I put the heat sinks on every chip on my GPU board. I did have to get a little creative to cool the voltage regulators, since they were not all lined up. Ended up putting a larger heat sink on a few at an angle.
Possibly due to adjusting the position too much, or possibly due to bumping a heat sink before the glue was dry, one of the heat sinks for the voltage regulators came loose after about a week and it was easy to pull off (clearly, I don't want a heat sink falling loose inside my computer so I pulled it). All others are still firm, so I'm sure this was my own doing.
It is possible to get lucky with aligning the holes while holding the parts in place, and I assume that is what happened for some (if not all) of the people who say this product is easy to install. It just didn't happen for me. I recommend a well lit workstation with lighting that you can re-position, a magnifying arm, and one or two clamps.
I'm not sure if the housing fan is really accomplishing anything, but it's quiet (the whole solution is very quiet) and it's certainly not doing any harm.
If you are buying this item, remember: The stickers are double sided - you should be left with a clear looking ring that is super sticky. Don't let it stick to itself or it's ruined and there are no extras.
Is it worth full price? Not in my opinion. Is it worth sale price? Maybe. Like I keep telling myself, I only had to install it once.
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