Beta Orionis – Part XIII

Build Log:

I remounted the Koolance water block, but the temperature differential still continues.

Now when originally running Unigine’s benchmarking tools after putting together the loop in parallel, I noted that there was a good 10C difference in temperatures between the cards — see Part XI for details. Changing to series didn’t change the differential much. So I remounted the block with fresh thermal pads and fresh IC Diamond, and it improved the differential in Unigine’s tools, but that was the only place I saw the difference.

In Bioshock Infinite with ultra settings, though, the differential was very pronounced. And worse was the temperature the card reached while I was playing. First, my setup: I have the video outputting to a 32″ 1080p television — namely a Toshiba L2400 — through HDMI.

On performance, I’ll let CPUID’s HWMonitor paint the picture.


A 23C difference in temperature between the cards, with the hottest card reaching 77C. On water. It’s reaching 77C on water.

Now they came back down to around 30C within a couple minutes of shutting down the game. But when a Kraken G10 with an all-in-one cooler performs significantly better than a near full-cover water block, there’s a concern that needs to be alleviated. Now when running Bioshock Infinite during the Kraken G10 testing, I didn’t have it running nearly as long as I did before capturing the above screenshot, but I don’t think it would’ve gotten nearly as high — the temperatures still reached 60C in under 20 minutes with the Koolance block.

So this tells me one of two things: either the card is the concern, or the block is the concern. Given the card that is getting the hotter temperature is the one I previously had mounted into a Kraken G10, I’m thinking the block is the problem.

So what other options are available? Well the only ones I’m seeing are Watercool’s Heatkiller GPU-X3, the XS-PC Razor, and EK FC-680. EK is just a bit too expensive, in my opinion, and I tend to go for the best performance value I can find. It’s why I went with Koolance on the CPU — and I’m not complaining at all about the performance I’m getting from it — but I am thoroughly disappointed with the GTX 680 waterblock.

So which am I going with? I’ve decided to try the Heatkiller block, namely because FrozenCPU had it for $75, plus another $25 for the back plate. Performance-PCs had the block for $115 and another $37 for the back plate. Plus the discount code pretty much eliminated the shipping.

In the mean time, I’ll just need to watch the temperatures if I play anything relatively intense, like Bioshock Infinite.