EVGA Teases (Yet Pleases) At CES With New Laptop, iCX Cooling, Modular Water Coolers

EVGA had some impressive upcoming products displayed in its Bellagio suite at CES, including a new graphics card cooling solution, gaming laptop, and its upcoming modular CPU water cooler.

iCX Is Cooler (And Safer)

EVGA seems to be moving away from its flagship ACX 3.0 cooling solution in favor of a new patent-pending iCX cooler. The company couldn’t reveal hard specs (due to the cooler’s patent-pending status), and the new cards look strikingly similar to the previous ACX-cooled graphics cards. However, there were several notable upgrades we could see, including thermal pads, a changed backplate material, and different fans (all of which are presumably better). But why is EVGA coming out with a new brand of cooling now? We have a theory about that.

Not long ago, a number of EVGA 10-series GPU owners were reporting abnormally (and in some cases, dangerously) high VRM temperatures and the issue seemed to affect the entire gamut of ACX 3.0-cooled SKUs. The company did right by its customers by quickly responding with VBIOS updates for the entire ACX 3.0 cooling lineup. EVGA even offered to ship (or replace) additional thermal pads to rectify the supposed flaw, despite its assertion that the company’s internal retesting had found that the GPUs were operating within tolerance.

Although the high temperatures seemed to only occur with specific workloads (particularly Furmark) and every ACX 3.0 graphics card shipped after November 1, 2016, was updated, this could have been the final nail in the ACX cooling coffin (this wasn’t the first ACX-related issue we’ve seen in the last few years). We see the new iCX -branded graphics cards as a vehicle to not only give EVGA the opportunity to improve its graphics cooling from a design standpoint but also to deviate from a seemingly-tarnished namesake of ACX cooling.

We probably wouldn’t have been prone to this theory if EVGA didn’t slap “game with safety and peace of mind” on its promotional materials for the new iCX cooling solution, with the tagline somewhat implying that perhaps EVGA customers are seeking exactly that (possibly as a result of the recent ACX cooling-related issues). It’s also entirely possible that the new coolers could have been in the development pipeline for some time, and that it may not even be a direct replacement for ACX cooling (but rather, a premium alternative). Whatever the case may be, we’re excited to see EVGA offering improved shroud designs for its mostly-overclocked GPU lineup, and they certainly look cool.

The SC15 Is SC17’s More-Approachable Little Brother

EVGA also showed us its new SC15 gaming laptop, which could be described as a little brother to the company’s updated SC17 1070. The new 15-inch notebook features a new 7th generation (Kaby Lake) Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 16GB of DDR4-2400, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 graphics card. This is a considerable step down from the SC17’s static hardware set, which consists of an unlocked Intel Core i7 mobile CPU (at present, the i7-6820HK, which will likely be swapped to an i7-7820HK soon), 32GB of memory, and a GTX 1070 GPU. However, storage between the different-sized gaming laptops remains the same, with the SC15 offering a 256GB Samsung M.2 NVMe SSD and a 1TB 7,200-RPM HDD.

The SC15’s display is also considerably different (and less expensive) than its larger counterpart, with the 15.6-inch screen offering a resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 120 Hz with Nvidia G-Sync onboard. The SC17 features a 3840 x 2160 IPS display that lacks G-Sync, and the SC15’s graphics and display pairing seem to be more practical than the larger SC17’s GTX 1070 and 4K screen combo.

Between slicing the RAM capacity in half, using a lower-resolution display, and offering a mainstream CPU and GPU (over more-expensive unlocked processors and enthusiast graphics, such as a GTX 1070), we’ll likely see a dramatic cut to the SC15’s price tag compared to its larger, more aggressive kin. Although we aren’t yet sure what it will ring up for when it arrives, we are glad to see EVGA offering a trimmed-down version of its impressive SC-branded gaming laptop.

Modular Water Cooling Is Almost Here

We first saw EVGA’s concept all-in-one liquid cooling system at last year’s CES, and the company once again teased its modular water coolers and GPUs at this year’s show. Although a few key details (including pricing and the launch date) were painfully unavailable, we were shown a selection of the upcoming radiators and extension tubes, in addition to getting some more details on its interconnect and sensor systems.

Not much has changed since we last heard from EVGA on the subject of the interchangeable and upgradable liquid cooling solution, but we now have a better idea of what to expect when the company finally releases it into the wild. Radiators measuring 120, 240, 280 and 360mm will be available for purchase, and there’s even a double-wide 120mm option. Each radiator will come with a set of EVGA-branded fans (proportionate to the surface area of the radiator), and the company plans to debut quick-release liquid-cooled GPUs and CPU water blocks when the cooling ecosystem goes live.

All of the pieces of the modular liquid cooling system come prefilled, and EVGA explained that the interconnects house a series of sensors that can automatically detect leaks and pressure issues, and that it will notify the user of any irregularities via software.

Although EVGA didn't give a specific release date, the company said that the new modular cooling parts and accessories would hit stores in the first half of this year, and we’re excited at the prospect of a customizable all-in-one liquid cooling solution coming to retail.

Although EVGA was little more than a tease with its CES announcements, we’re certainly pleased with where the company is headed in 2017.

Derek Forrest
Derek Forrest is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes hardware news and reviews gaming desktops and laptops.
  • JackNaylorPE
    The EVGA SC series cards have long been "less than" the competing cards in the same price niche from MSi, Asis, Giga etc... the 5xx SCs was known for for weak VRMs and the SC line in general could be taken as SC = "Same Card" as reference. Sometimes they would change the VRM .. but simply replace it with another brand / model with the same number of phases. When one of the 3 heat pipes completely missed the GPU on the 970 ... EVGAs reaction was:

    1. Press release claiming it's all OK, I promise
    2. A fix which resolved the heat pipe issue but completely ignored the others issues (weak VRM, lack of adequate VRM / memory cooling)

    EVGA should just abandon the SC (and now the FTW as it suffers in 10xx versions) lines and the "fix" should include more than slapping a new name on it.
  • uglyduckling81
    No G-Sync on the expensive model which could really use it due to the 4k screen and the low frame rates it's going to getting.
    G-Sync on the 120hz model which has enough horsepower to run 1080p well beyond 120hz.
    Seems they got the features the wrong way around.

    EKWB already do modular water cooling with quick disconnects so it's hardly something new. Just new for EVGA. Not likely I would go with EVGA over an established water cooling brand unless they were cheaper but that seems unlikely.

    I took a look at the second hand market in AU. The only 10xx series GPU's are EVGA cards. All of them say stuff like, "Don't have time to play so selling to someone that can use" etc. No one writing changing to a better brand due to dodgy EVGA build quality, lol.
    Also we don't get the aftermarket service from EVGA that the US gets so you can forget about the offers they make.

    I've never bought EVGA and I doubt I ever will.
  • thundervore
    EVGA should be ashamed of themselves!! They release modular AIO units that can do both GPU and CPU but fail you give the GPU a full waterblock and release this hybrid crap nonsense?!
  • eriko
    EVGA hasn't done me right with my GTX 1070.

    I've contacted them almost a half-dozen times, and they just dont' reply.

    To make matters worse, I at least upgraded the bios (so the fans run higher), and that failed too. Luckily they have a dual bios, or I'd be one GTX1070 down now. The individual card with the failed upgrade, just runs fans @ 100% now. I didn't even try to do the other one.

    So I'm done with EVGA.
  • hapkiman
    I think the release of these "iCX" 1070/1080s is a big slap in the face to those who shelled out big bucks for the original FTW and SC models. Just check the forums at EVGA and you'll see how many people had/have issues with those cards due to very poor QC on EVGAs part. Numerous problems almost all of which are heat related. Then they wanted you to add thermal pads yourself to a $600 card to keep it from burning up? Insane. I had to RMA my 1080 FTW 3 times and I'm still left with a bitter taste in my mouth. Now they release a new version? WTF EVGA? I think the 10xx series ACX cooler cards have been nothing short of a nightmare for EVGA and it has cost them a lot of long time customers. I'm one of them.