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Water won't save you this time

Billy-Bob_Kenobi
  • 30 months ago

So, since Tom's Hardware Guide didn't receive one of the water-cooled Vega 64 cards for testing, they decided to put an aftermarket GPU cooler and a 240mm radiator on their air-cooled sample to see what hidden potential might be lurking there.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-rx-vega-64-water-cooling,5177.html

Spoiler: perhaps 7-12% performance gain, depending on the title, at the cost of pushing the card to its wattage ceiling (400W: an extra ~105W over and above the TBP for a stock air-cooled Vega 64 card.) And the 240mm radiator was indeed necessary; the cooling headroom simply was not there with a 120mm rad. The parts aren't cheap, either: the Eiswolf 120 waterblock (and 120mm radiator, because it's a complete kit) is €159.95 (~$188.10) and the 240mm Eiswolf-ready Nexxos radiator is €62.95 ($74.03) on Alphacool's site, which pushes the cost of this little project up into "...or, I could buy a GTX 1080 Ti" territory.

There's still a case to be made for water cooling -- I was looking into it for noise and thermal management concerns -- but don't expect to get any significant performance gains this time around. (It's also worth noting that they acknowledge the possibility that they simply received an unusually bad sample, but also note that there's a known bug with driver clock speed reporting that would explain the higher results other reviews have attained.)

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