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.