EKWB's Special Edition Waterblocks are Worthy of Founder's Edition RTX 3080's

EK-Quantum Vector FE RTX 3080
(Image credit: EKWB)

At the start of the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 launch, EKWB teased that it had waterblocks for the Founder's Edition cards.  At the time, few details were available, and while EKWB did also confirm that the Founder's Edition card was not identical to the reference PCB design for AIB partners in revealing the blocks for the non-FE cards, buyers of Nvidia's Founder's Edition cards were still left wondering how to watercool their oddly-shaped PCBs. Now, the wait is over.

If you're looking for the prettiest waterblock of all, you may just have found it. EKWB's waterblocks for the Founder's Edition RTX 3080, called the EK-Quantum Vector FE RTX 3080 D-RGB, feature a very unusual design and go over-the-top in every detail. 

Because the FE boards have a triangular bite taken out of the rear to make space for the cooling fan, EKWB has taken the liberty to move the G1/4" threads over to the rear -- which is unlike any GPU waterblock I've ever seen.

One of the attributes of the FE cards is that none of the PCB is visible from outside the card, other than the PCI-Express slot, of course. Whereas normally a backplate is a separate part you have to purchase, EKWB's waterblock takes a cue out of Nvidia's book, and from the factory, the EK-Quantum Vector FE RTX 3080 comes with a backplate, thereby covering the entire PCB.

Going the full mile on... everything

Being a flagship part, EKWB went the extra mile on manufacturing quality too. The external casing around the acrylic top is made from anodized aluminum for a finer-looking finish, arriving in black and silver options with contrasting backplates. 

But, Aluminum must not come in contact with the water or you'll get serious corrosion issues, so EKWB ensured that it doesn't. The cold plate itself is made from nickel-plated copper, as parts should be in a custom loop.

EK-Quantum Vector FE RTX 3080

(Image credit: EKWB)

To complete the package, addressable D-RGB lighting is also included, and EKWB even ships the waterblock complete with a replacement IO shield, because who wants to see that ugly, dual-slot IO shield on a beautiful, thin, watercooled graphics card?

However, all this painstaking attention to detail isn't cheap. The EK-Quantum Vector FE RTX 3080 D-RGB comes in at a price tag of $280, which is a steep incline over the non-FE waterblocks that come in at about half the price. But pair this with a vertical GPU mount, and you'll certainly have something special to look at. 

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.