In our review of NVIDIA’s latest and greatest, the GeForce GTX 480, one of our largest complaints was with regard to the heat. Even during normal gaming, we saw GPU core temps rise to as high as 96°C, which is about ~6°C away from hitting the threshold… also known as the time the card will either throttle itself down, or crash.
Up to this point, few companies have unveiled truly effective solutions to aide in this situation, but for those willing to pay, EVGA looks to have the best one available. For a $150 premium over a regular GTX 480, you can get hooked up with the company’s Hydro Copper FTW version, where the GPU heatsink/cooler is completely replaced with a waterblock, which was designed in-house by EVGA.
Compared to the reference, the Hydro Copper FTW features +52MHz to the core and +104MHz to the memory. If you want to go even further, you’re likely to have far better overclocking luck than with a standard card. Why? EVGA told us that with this waterblock, temperatures will drop by about 40°C or more compared to a GTX 480 with reference cooler. That’s huge.
Of course, this waterblocked card doesn’t only improve upon temperatures, but also noise, which was another major complaint we had at the GTX 480’s launch. During hardcore gaming, the card for me got so loud that it effectively forced me to put headphones on. With this water-blocked version of the card, that won’t be a problem you’ll run into.
The GTX 480 Hydro Copper FTW is available now and retails for around ~$650. The cost-of-entry is definitely higher than most would want to pay, but for those who want one or more GTX 480’s and aim to keep temperatures and noise in check, these cards will be hugely desirable.