Alphacool has launched a new service – GPU Cooler Customization. The aim of this service is not only to reduce the costs of water cooling components, but also bring compatibility far beyond only high-end graphics cards.
In the past there were two options: buying a full-cover water block for your specific graphics card, or buying a universal block, though both options had their problems. The full-cover blocks would only work on that specific card, so upon upgrading, you'd also have to buy a new water block. The universal options never properly cooled memory or VRM circuitry and didn't always work on all cards.
Alphacool's GPU Cooler Customization service pretty much solves the problem as it splits the cooler up into multiple parts. There will be a core water block that cools only the GPU, and there will be a separately designed cooling plate. The core block will be a universal block that will work on most graphics cards. The bigger cooling plate will be built specifically for the graphics card in question. This block won't have any liquid flowing through it, though.
As an example, a complete kit is available for the GTX 750 Ti cards for about €59, while the GTX Titan Black solution will cost €79. Backplates are included in this price and are part of the standard kit.
Say though, that you want a block for your non-reference card and it is not in Alphacool's lineup; normally, you'd have to wait. Alphacool has a cool kick-off program though, where if they don't have a design for your card yet, they might agree to let you send your card over so they can scan it and get a block made. As a thank-you for lending them your card they'll return the card to you with a free core block, cooling plate, and a backplate. The next person who wants a block for that card will have to pay though, as Alphacool will have added the designs to the library.
This seems like a fairly good solution to make water cooling a bit more affordable. Of course, the performance won't be entirely on the same level as hard-core water cooling, but it'll be a much more affordable way to get water blocks onto your GPUs. Time will tell if it succeeds.