Water Cooling Unconversion#

The nVidia 6800 Ultras that used to inhabit Phillip were the bane of my water cooling plans. I water cool for the quiet, not the performance. But these 6800s are so hot, my quietness plan was all messed up.

And its entirely my fault, too. I bought waaay too much video card. I wanted to experiment with SLI, using two video cards to run one display. Granted, the one display was a Samsung 243T with a native resolution of 1920x1200. The cards performed amazingly well, except that they were so hot, I ended up adding an additional radiator and two fans to the system to keep it cool.

The latest refit retired these toaster ovens, and I figured rather than let them sit there and rot, I'd let me friendly neighborhood computer store resell them for me. In fact, the owner came and picked them up, he had them sold before I was ready.

Unfortunately, the new owner wasn't into water cooling, so I had to convert these water cooled video cards back into air cooled ones. I had kept all the fan equipment in the original boxes, so it wasn't tough to find. Reassembly, however, is tricky.


Freshly removed from Phillip and drained of water, one water-cooled nVidia 6800 Ultra.

Four center plate screws, six spring loaded edge screws and two voltage regular mount screws later, the water cooling block is removed from the board. Notice the less than perfect impressions on the cooling block from the RAM chips of the video card. The system was never unstable, but it sure looks like this block wasn't as tightly fitted as it could be.

Deploying all the air cooling hardware. The copper block goes onto the GPU (along with the black backing plate), the angled aluminum block with the white blobs on it goes onto the RAM chips, the voltage regulator heat sink is the bottom right hand corner of the picture, and the fan assembly itself is in the top right hand corner.

After cleaning off the old thermal paste, I applied new stuff to the GPU, used the original white contact pads for the RAM, and carefully put everything together. The copper GPU plate goes on first, using spring loaded screws that go through the plate, board and into the black backing plate. Then the RAM cooler goes on with six different spring loaded screws. The comes the heat sink for the voltage regulators, held on with a pair of spring loaded clips. Finally, the fan itself is held on by three screws and plugged into the board.

Innit purdy? I like the water cooled version better myself.

That was the first one, the second one was even easier. Then a careful repack into the box, including power cables and DVI-VGA adapters for each.

These video cards were not a great investment for me - I think they were worth about 20% of what I paid for them a year later. Not counting the water jackets, which I still have and I can't imagine what I'll do with them. Maybe EBay.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 9:45:19 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) #    Comments [1]  | 


Sunday, August 3, 2008 7:47:50 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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