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XSPC Razor GTX680 Water Block Review

Manufacturer: XSPC

Features and Layout

Features

Courtesy of XSPC

  • CNC machined copper base
  • 0.5mm fins for high performance
  • Stainless steel top
  • Acrylic layer with 3mm LED holes
  • Brushed aluminum faceplate
  • Dimensions: 252.5 x 123 x 25.7mm
  • Prepared for SLI with 7 G1/4" ports
  • Supports GTX680 cards (NVIDIA reference design only)

Layout

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The XSPC Razor GTX680 water block is a full cover block with a black-colored brushed aluminum faceplate, giving the water block a sleek look as well as protecting the acrylic layer from scratches and damage. The aluminum layer further aids in dispersing light from LEDs placed in the acrylic layer to give the block the edge-lit effect. The inlet and outlet ports are housed in the newly redesigned multi-port connector, which is independent of the block itself and secured by screws going through the steel plate and copper base.

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The bottom of the Razor GTX680 water block is a machined copper plate with milled pads corresponding to the GPU chip, memory, and VRM chip locations on the board. The steel plate is secured to the copper base for a water-tight seal. All board mounting points are raised to avoid crushing the delicate chips on the GPU card while not being too high to inhibit good contact with the copper plate itself. The cut-out sections in the copper and steel plates, as well as in the acrylic layer, are to provide clearance for larger capacitors on the board's PCB.

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The sections for GPU chipset and memory cooling are located in the right quadrant of the base plate with raised layers provided for solid contact points. The machining of the copper plate was almost flawless with only a few minor areas where the milling remains apparent even after polishing. The contact surfaces are smooth and flat because of the detail XSPC put into the construction of this block.

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The VRM cooling pads are located on the left side of the copper base plate. Again, there are only a few areas where the block machining is apparent even after final polishing. However, the contact areas are smooth and flat, making for optimal heat dissipation surfaces.

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The Razor GTX680 water block entirely covers the front surface of the video card with the card shown being an EVGA GTX 670 FTW card. This block can be used on that particular GTX 670 card because EVGA designed the FTW card using the GTX 680 PCB. The block does not come with a back plate in its stock configuration, but XSPC and several other vendors offer back plates for the card. The back plate shown in the EVGA GTX 680 back plate. As a result of using that back plate with the XSPC block, I had to use several non-standard screws to hold the block in place. This is not a shortcoming in the XSPC design, but a result of the back plate I chose to use with the card. I would not have run into this issue if I chose to use the optional XSPC back plate in conjunction with the water block.

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With LEDs installed in the LED ports on the right and left edges of the acrylic layer, the combination of the steel plate underneath and the aluminum cover-plate work to disperse the light throughout the entire acrylic layer for a nice edge-lit effect. The card is pictured with red LEDs, while the block itself comes stock with blue LEDs.

Included Accessories

XSPC included all the accessories necessary to get the block attached and functioning.

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XSPC included a full color, double-side instruction sheet for installing the Razor GTX680 to the video card. While this does not seem like much, the instructions are clear and well detailed. Further, this is the standard style of instructions included with most water cooling gear.

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For mounting the block to the PCB, XPC includes 11 M3 x 6mm screws, 12 paper washers, one M3 nut, and five G1/4" plugs. The 11 M3 screws and paper washers are used to hold the water block to the PCB with the paper washers provided to protect the back surface of the PCB from damage. The nut is used to secure the upper retaining arm for the card's rear panel assembly. The plugs are provided to seal the unused inlet and outlet holes in the multi-port connector. Notice how the plugs have a black chrome finish with embedded o-rings underneath to create a water-tight seal between the plug to the connector surface.

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For lighting effects, XSPC includes double-headed 3mm blue LEDs with power provided via a single MOLEX power connector. You simply plug the connector into a female lead from your PSU. The LEDs cables are sleeved in dense-woven, black plastic-style sleeving to aid in camouflaging the cable.

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For interfacing the block surface to the PCB chips, XSPC includes 5 pre-cut 1mm thick thermal pads for the memory and VRM chip surface and custom-branded K2 thermal compound for the GPU chipset.

August 15, 2013 | 08:55 AM - Posted by HeavyG (not verified)

Is there a reason we you only show the temp over ambient vs actual temp? Most households would have ambient temps between 22-26. I just think actual temp would have been easier for an idiot like me to comprehend.

August 15, 2013 | 08:57 AM - Posted by HeavyG (not verified)

Of course, there is ambient temp within the case, which is probably what should be used... but still confusing. Just give me temps! TEMPS!!!

August 15, 2013 | 09:30 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

We report delta temps instead of actual temps to allow you to calculate what your temps would be based on your house or office ambient.  The delta temps are the card gpu temps minus ambient temperature measured at the time of testing.  We moved to reporting delta temps rather than measured temps based on user feedback from previous cooler reviews.

For example, typically my home office temp ambient is between 26-27C.  For stock temps with the ambient at 26C, the GPU temp should idle at 28C and go up to 47C under load temps.  If the ambient were 21C, the idle temp should be 23C and load at 42C.

 

August 15, 2013 | 09:31 AM - Posted by bburnham37 (not verified)

add the numbers in the graphs to your ambient. There's your temp.

your ambient: 22
card delta: 10
22 + 10 = 32 degrees

math = gud

August 15, 2013 | 10:26 AM - Posted by HeavyG (not verified)

Yea, I just didn't realize what I was looking at initially. Many times I elect to just jump straight to the graphs, and they didn't state anywhere that they were based on ambient... had to actually read. Knowledge is power!

August 16, 2013 | 01:22 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Finding it hard to justify $99 for this waterblock.

The 10% overclock is not unrealistic for an air cooler, especially an aftermarket cooler.

Aftermarket coolers are typically very quiet.

Real-world usage will not push a 6xx/7xx series card with an aftermarket cooler beyond 70C, perfectly acceptable ultimate/maximum-use temperature.

Waterblocks are typically made for reference model designs, which fail to match the benefits of aftermarket designs.

If you can find an aftermarket model for the same/near the same price as a reference model, why bother with watercooling?

August 16, 2013 | 06:40 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Keep in mind that the EVGA GTX 670 FTW card used for the review came overclocked from the factory, so a 10% overclock with that card equates to a more than 20% overclock on a vanilla GTX 670.  On a non-factory o/c'd card, the boost clock speed for the GPU typically hits 980MHz.

The choice between using an aftermarket cooler vs a water cooler is a long running debate that really has no right answer.  I've been water cooling my rigs for a long time, and prefer that to pure air cooling mainly because of the fan noise associated with air coolers if you want to push the performance limits.  It really comes down to the preference of the inidividual enthusiast...

August 16, 2013 | 06:21 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Steel touching copper with a fluid running between them. I've had some issues with this before.

August 16, 2013 | 06:30 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

As long as your coolant has some type of corrosion inhibiter in it (which most good coolant's should have), you should not run into any cross-metal type problems like galvanic corrosion...

August 16, 2013 | 08:47 AM - Posted by ZoranICS

The coolant is supposed to be "non conductive", so electrolytic/galvanic corrosion is a non-issue. Especially since the steel used is stainless and the copper is very pure and the lifespan of the cooler is much much shorter than it would take for the electrolysis to damage it so badly as to cause a malfunction. Would it be Aluminium instead of steel, it would "pee" in a few weeks.

Most of the good pumps used have a stainless steel part touching the coolant and there are no horror stories floating around.

Mild steel is a completely different story, that much is true.

August 16, 2013 | 10:46 AM - Posted by KasiorMC (not verified)

Morry - i love your reviews, just one question: do things work when you put them back together? jk. keep up the awesome work!

August 16, 2013 | 11:11 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Thanks.  And yes, in most cases they do work after putting them back together.  There was one time in the recent past were teh take apart result in disaster - but we won't discuss the H80i dissasembly here...

August 16, 2013 | 07:08 PM - Posted by razor512

I like to see both because what many heatsink reviews fail to show is the cooling performance curve with ambient temperature, eg CPU temperature will not scale linearly with ambient temperature, it tapers off slightly as ambient gets higher.

so temperature over ambient may not be the best indicator if you have some test done in a hot environment, where a 5 degree rise in ambient may only cause a 3-4 degree increase in CPU or GPU temperature.

I notice this with my current air cooler.

August 16, 2013 | 09:51 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Good point.  I will continue to report in deltas in future cooling reviews but will include ambient temperature at the time of testing as an additional data point either in the graphs or test description.

Typically, my office ambient runs between 25-27C which is most likely typical or a bit hotter than most homes / home offices.

Thanks for the feedback...

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