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Full Cover Water Block for Sapphire HD6950 Dirt3 Edition

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December 1, 2011 2:33:27 PM

TH Community,

I've been looking into this since I built my computer a few weeks ago. I have 2 Sapphire HD6950 Dirt3 Edition, which are great cards so far, but I "eventually" would like to water cool CPU and GPUs. Problem is, I can't seem to find a full coverage water block that fits the 6950 Dirt3 Edition. There are blocks that fit reference designs, but I think my PCB is revision 2 or something like that.

Reading THIS post leads me to believe that a reference 6870 water block would work just fine, but I can't confirm that. THIS is a 6870 reference design water block, complete with PCB pictures. Can anyone else on the forum have any advice to offer or has anyone been successful in finding a full coverage water block that works with 6950 Dirt3 Edition?
a c 324 K Overclocking
December 1, 2011 3:37:28 PM

Hang on- going to see if you can get hooked up with someone on our forum.
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a b K Overclocking
December 1, 2011 4:25:41 PM

Hey there, Rubix linked me here.

I think the Dirt3 versions use non-Reference PCBs (at least in comparison to the 6950s), since the PCB looks significantly different than the reference boards I had on my 6950s 2GB (Sapphire and MSI).

Dunno if this link works, but it's from coolingconfigurator.com (EK's waterblock search tool), and it has what I believe to be the PCB of the Dirt3 Edition. If that is the PCB, it is definitely NOT compatible with the 6950/6970 reference blocks. That isn't to say it won't work with the other blocks like you had been suggested, but it does seem a little unlikely.
http://www.coolingconfigurator.com/step1_complist?gpu_g...
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a b K Overclocking
December 1, 2011 4:33:19 PM

Did some more searching, can't find much on the 6950 PCB Rev. 2. It seems like using 6870 blocks are somewhat hit or miss because certain holes don't line up, etc. etc.

Unless you find some solid info (basically somebody who has actually done what you're looking for, I would suggest universals.

Going to keep searching later; have a decent amount of work to do...
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December 1, 2011 4:47:12 PM

Thanks for your help, boiler. I've been searching everywhere. Doesn't look like anyone has actually DONE it. Just talk about it. Looking at the EK configurator, all of the reference design PCBs use 6970 full cover blocks and the non-reference designs, like the msi twin frozr and my dirt3 editions either use the 6870 block or can't use a full cover block at all.

For visual reference to anyone who has a clue what they're looking at:

This is the PCB for the 6950 Dirt3 Edition



This is the PCB for the 6870 reference design


Just looking at them makes me think things won't line up. Screw holes for sure won't line up, but also the resistors or whatever, voltage thingies (sorry, I'm not familiar with the electrical parts of all this) aren't in the same places and the full cover blocks usually fit close to them or have holes cut out for them to fit through. So on the face of it, doesn't look like a 6870 block will work. Anyone think differently?

Boiler,
Assuming a full cover won't work and I have to go the universal route . . . what's the best way to keep all the other bits on the PCB cool. The universal will get the chip, but aren't there like memory and voltages things that need active cooling?

Thanks again for your reply and help and thank you, Rubix, for directing him here. :-D
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 1, 2011 6:03:52 PM

NP...actually, he has a PM open with me right now on exactly the same concept of universals. :) 
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a c 100 K Overclocking
December 1, 2011 6:36:35 PM

I'd like to see a good review comparing a full block to a universal block with air cooled VRMs/VRAM (using those aluminum fins). There should also be some universal blocks for VRAM and VRM, though... that would be cool.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 1, 2011 6:38:44 PM

I've seen some flow/thermal reviews in the past on full cover vs. universal blocks. Full covers seem to cool 1-2C better and flow marginally better in some instances, but people often take very minor differences (much like with CPU block performance) and make it seem like there are tremendous differences.
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December 1, 2011 6:51:34 PM

So if you use a universal block to cool the GPU, you have to use something like THIS to cool the memory?

Sorry if this sounds noobish, but I am. haha

Is there anything else on the PCB that requires passive cooling? From the pictures, I see the GPU obviously and 8 memory things.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 1, 2011 6:59:09 PM

Yeah, something similar to that would work. It all depends on what card you are running, too. You can sometimes find kits like that which supply different sized coolers for different components needing to be cooled, like the MOSFETs and voltage regulators. One thing to note is that you really need to clean the surfaces really well as the thermal pads used between the coolers and the components often leaves a very greasy film that will prevent the thermal adhesive tape from sticking. If it sticks and easily falls off, you have pretty much wasted the adhesive by coating it with this slick substance. Rubbing alcohol works well, but there are also some cleaners out there designed specifically for this purpose. I've used a tiny dab of super glue or thermal adhesive...either works fine and if you use VERY sparingly, you get good adhesion, good thermal interface and you can still remove the cooling devices without ruining the components. It's usually best to apply in 2 of the 4 corners and in very small amounts...not directly in the middle of a RAM module, for example.
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a c 100 K Overclocking
December 1, 2011 7:17:13 PM

Yeah I used some Arctic Silver thermal adhesive to stick the heat sinks on all my ram and vrms, at least on the bottom side. Had one fall off and break my fan when using the sticky tape - fortunately I got that fan replaced for free in a matter of minutes once I got back to the store.

My main concern is definitely the VRMs (if using universal block). In overclocking on mine, I was getting pretty significant heat coming out of those, crashed at 120C (VRM temp) until I did a few minor changes to help cool them. That's the main reason I don't have my 5850s under water - I don't think there's any point buying full blocks when I might replace them in a matter of months :) 
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a b K Overclocking
December 1, 2011 8:10:07 PM

Since this has become more about universals...what exactly are the VRMs and MOSFETs on the card? I just don't know which ones to buy...but I need to really soon...
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 1, 2011 8:34:31 PM

VRM are typically referred to as the voltage regulation modules. MOSFETs are typically used somewhat of a floodgate in conjunction to help control the amount of power being needed. I'm not the electronics expert, but this is my very rudimentary understanding. If I'm wrong, I hope someone can chime in with a better explanation, but in short, both are directly involved with controlling and conditioning the power being used by the card.
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a b K Overclocking
December 1, 2011 8:39:24 PM

Sorry, I meant what are they physically on the PCB. I just don't know what they look like. I just know there are VRAM and MOSFET copper heatsinks.
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December 2, 2011 2:24:32 AM

If im not mistaken.... In pic one the mosfets will be those wafer things to the left of the card in pic two you see those metallic cubes those would be the VRM



erm reverse what i typed :p 
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 2, 2011 12:41:03 PM

^Yeah, I'm pretty sure between VRM and MOSFETs, they are both of those components...just not sure which exactly is which.
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December 2, 2011 12:46:23 PM

Well mosfets will always be those wafer things. VRM for how I understand it can be a few things like the ferrite core chokes or the (copper?) core chokes in the first pic
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 2, 2011 12:49:11 PM

This would be excellent info to include in the sticky. If you have some reference info, I can add it or feel free to put some together, send to me and I'll add w/your name as credit. I know most people go full cover blocks because they are simple, but those that want to go universal, there are always a few extra considerations that get asked.
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December 2, 2011 12:50:38 PM

Sure ill type something up tonight when I get home from work. Or id type some half assed stuff here since im getting ready for said work lol :p 
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December 2, 2011 1:00:24 PM

Ok, I think I'm understanding this. So in order to include my crossfire 6950 Dirt3 Edition cards in a water cooling loop, I'll need THESE and THESE to passively cool the memory and mosfets? Or something similar to those. Am I understanding that correctly?

Is there any data that you guys know of that compares the cooling efficiency of a universal set up with the passive heat sinks to a full cover set up . . . if such a comparison can even be made logically?
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 2, 2011 1:12:09 PM

That would be excellent...let me know and include some reference info so we can included that as well.

Thanks man, this would be a great help. No rush...just if/when you get to it, we'll get it added.
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a b K Overclocking
December 2, 2011 10:54:21 PM

Hobo82 said:
Also, if anyone has any experience with universal GPU blocks, is the EK VGA Supreme HF -Bridge Edition good for what I'm looking to do?


Well EK's blocks in the reviews I read have been the best performers so far. The issue I have with the Supreme HF Bridge Editions is that you have to use EK's SLI/CF bridge system, which is simply just too expensive for me (personal preference). However, unlike the full cover blocks, you don't need to purchase an adapter to go from the block to the bridge - these just screw into the bridge directly.

You may want to see if you need a special mounting backplate; my new GTX 560 Ti requires one (they're only ~$5).

I ended up going with the Swiftech MCW82, simply because I liked the white :) 
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December 2, 2011 11:01:04 PM

And for you guys wanting to see here is my thing on the mosfets and stuff...

Okay so Rubix has asked me to talk a little about Mosfet/VRM cooling in relation to water cooling GPU's with universal blocks that do not cover these chips. First Will talk very briefly about what these things are and what they look like and why they are important to you.

VRM ( Voltage regulator module)
The simple expanation of VRM is simple, it is a device that is a DC-DC converter it basically takes the higher voltages that are sent to our video cards and lowers it so the cards can use it properly.

Now VRM typically is composed of three parts.
1. Logic Device (the thing that controls the things that give us the correct voltages/amperages)
2. Power device (the things that give us power)
3. Filtering device (filters the power)

Now that we know what VRM basically is lets talk about what is physically is. Below is a picture of a Asus EAH 5830 showing what is actually what.

Now to the very far right we have the VC thats that logical controller that is dealing with our power. For cooling purposes this is typically something that is not in need of specialized cooling, granted if you can do it more power to you. Now you will also see the VRM area and this is the area of focus.


Above you see we have our Transistors/inductors these are the (filtering device) that are used for smoothing out the proper power to our MOSFETS. You will also see the mosfets these are the things that actually send the proper filtered current/amperage to the GPU. (Side note a inductor/transitor/mosfet set are consider a phasepower so when you read like a mobo or card has a x number of phases its referring to this stuff!

Now the reason you want to cool these...
Naturally the inductors and mosfets tend to generate ALOT of heat when they are dealing with such high amps and changing them into fun useful power so its critical we keep these components as cool as possible especially in high end video cards that are very high amperage. If overclocking your cards I would strongly reccommend a full water cooler solution as most of these water blocks are designed to cool the VRM of the cards. But in instances where you need to use a universal I would STRONGLY recommend using cooper heatsinks and applying them to the mosfets and inductors.

Potentially when these components overheat it translates to articles on a video card or a system crash because the wrong voltage was going to the GPU.

Thanks to geek3d for the images
And if interested in a far more detailed look into mosfets and VRM here is a link to a very good article
http://www.geeks3d.com/20100504/tu [...] explained/
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 3, 2011 9:16:38 PM

Nice work my friend. I'll go through it and link it in the WC sticky, or carve out some space for it. I saw the info in your PM; thanks for the work...quick indeed. Nice job.
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December 4, 2011 1:23:40 AM

NP Rubix glad I could contribute something back :) 
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 5, 2011 12:45:33 AM

I'll work on getting it included this week sometime and give you credit on it, of course. It's been a busy weekend...so haven't been home much.
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!