As Marilyn Monroe once stated, some like it hot. And where I say .. some don't. Yeah, that movie was a comedy yet what I'm talking about definitely is not. Graphics cards, well, generic components inside your PC actually have become way hotter temperature wise in the past 4 years. We all want the fastest performing products, and that creates heat. Today's graphics processors in the mid-range start at 500+ million transistors where the latest high-end products now sum up towards 1400 million transistors, of which each needs to be fired up with with current to make it work. Combine that with higher clock-speeds and a thermal envelope that has been raised (processors can work fine over 100 Degrees C these days) and you have a problem.

Well sort of. All these hot products have been equipped with pretty decent cooling. Yet often they disperse their residual heat inside your PC chassis, in term warming up other components. Though that does not per se has to hinder overall performance, it is a growing concern.

Luckily, if you can spend the money, there are always solutions out there that can solve the issue. Next to dramatically increasing that good old x-factor of your PC by aesthetically pleasing it, it is also one of the best methods of cooling down components. Yes we are talking about water-cooling.

I thank to the almighty one above that there are still some manufacturers out there actually releasing kits that have a pre-applied water-cooling blocks fitted to their graphics card. Today we'll review one of them.

We have BFG in da house putting down some Mack-daddy lovin at a GeForce 9800 GTX with their H2OC product, derived from H2O (water) and OC as in overclocked. Have a peek ... after which we'll dive into the actual review.

BTW I'm playing around with a new feature, hover over the photo below with your mouse and behold .. the magnifying function. Let me know if this is a feature you guys like, just post something in the forum thread related to this article.

GeForce 9800 GTX+ Hydra SLI

It's always interesting to see manufacturers with different things in their product designs. ECS always has been known as an OEM manufacturer. Last year an interesting shift was made. They started entering the retail and e-tail market. That means a new marketing approach, yet also new products. They did so with success and now have moved onward into a somewhat more enthusiast based product model. Today we for example see a water-cooled kit, pre-modified with two GeForce 9800 GTX+ cards, and it's called .. Hydra..

Quite an astounding kit as well as price wise, though more expensive due to water-cooling it still a very competitive kit. Basically you'll receive two pre-modified GeForce 9800 GTX+ products and a water-cooling kit that is supplied  by Thermaltake. It's in fact the Thermaltake big water series that you can slide into you 5.25"drive bay easily. That's also the generic consensus for this product release .. everything should be easy.

We've actually tested the Thermaltake Bigwater product before, yet then for CPU cooling. So the GeForce cards have the water-blocks pre-equipped, the water-cooling unit slides into the drive bay. Pretty much the only thing you need to do is connect four tubing connections, fill her up, connect some wiring ... and you are good to go. That's 15 minutes tops. As our tests will show the water-cooling unit is exceptionally good for the GTX+ cards. In fact the kit cools so well that we'll be overclocking the two cards pretty far. The end result is a much faster than GeForce GTX 280 performing product.

A pretty fun kit I might say, though not very cheap definitely competitively priced. Considering one GTX+ will cost you roughly 229 USD in the store you can easily do the math. Two cards would cist you roughly 458 USD, and then you'd need to purchase a water-cooling setup plus the water-blocks. ECS will offer you all that as a kit, at a 549 USD price tag, and honestly I think that is not a bad deal considering our experiences.

What we'll do today is have a closer look at the product that is called GeForce 9800 GTX+ and the chip that is powering it. We'll handle SLI and how to install it, obviously we'll show you the product installation with the help of a photo-shoot, then obviously we look at SLI performance with the help of our benchmark suite, then overclock the rig, and last but not least, our verdict on the ECS GeForce 9800 GTX+ Hydra kit. So yeah, we have a lot of ground to cover.

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Posted by ralfowen

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