BLAST FLOW Siberian Rev2 Modular VGA WaterBlock Page: 1
Introduction
 
How many times have you been faced with the realisation that when it comes time to upgrade your system, it also means that you may have to upgrade your water-cooling hardware? Now we all know that waterblocks, and in particular graphics card waterblocks, can easily cost a small fortune. Surely there has to be a better way than having to budget for a new waterblock when you decide that you need the latest graphics card!
 
Well fear not, there is a solution! Thankfully, a company has come up with such a radical, yet simple way of offsetting the purchase price for additional hardware. And that company is BLASTFLOW. BLASTFLOW are an London, UK based company specifically targeting the high-end water-cooling enthusiasts with innovative designs, and an equally high attention to detail.
 
Around September of 2007 rumours began to circulate that BLASTFLOW were working on something quite revolutionary, and most certainly evolutionary. The humble waterblock as we know it is about to change significantly for the first time in many years.
 
BLASTFLOW Siberian waterblock
 
Let's see what BLASTFLOW have to say about themselves:
 
BlastFlow is a manufacturer of watercooling solutions for Extreme Gaming PCs and Workstations based in London that has branched out from Vadim Computers - High End Custom PC makers. We are not just another manufacturer, we are a team of PC Gamers and Enthusiasts that have been using watercooling in our own systems long before joining BlastFlow. Our mentality is simple - to invent and manufacture products that we will use ourselves, as this is not just our work - it is our hobby and passion and the few products we develop are all made with the gamer's need in mind!
 
It's certainly nice to know that a company producing hardware for high-end water-cooling setups is equally as passionate about what they produce, as what we are about what hardware we choose to purchase.
 
Anyway, enough of the chit-chat, let's have a look at the BLASTFLOW Siberian Modular VGA WaterBlock specifications.
 
 
Specifications
 
The BLASTFLOW Siberian Modular VGA WaterBlock's specifications were taken directly from BLASTFLOW's Product Page.
 
Technical Data

The Blastflow Siberian is made out of CNC machined high grade copper and 5mm acrylic cover.

Dimensions: 107x72x14.9mm
Thickness of the main area: 13mm (single slot)
Weight: 361g (with no connectors)
Connectors: Standard 1/4" BSP thread (not supplied)
Fittings:
- 4 m2x20mm bolts (for 8800GTX/Ultra/GTS640)
- 4 m2x16mm bolts (for the rest of the cards)
- 4 m2 nuts
 
The idea behind making a VGA waterblock modular is certainly a valid one from an economic point of view. If you decide to change your graphics card in the future then all that is required will be the appropriate 'cooling plate' for your new card. Longevity and increased compatibility are the key features here.


BLAST FLOW Siberian Rev2 Modular VGA WaterBlock Page: 2
Packaging and Contents
 
The BLASTFLOW Siberian I received was clearly a review sample, and packaged as such. I also received the three current 'cooling plates' that BLASTFLOW has available for the modular waterblock. So please bear in mind that when you order yourself one you will only receive the GPU block and one cooling plate, and yours should be significantly more securely packaged than the one I received. Mine was bundled in a mass of bubble wrap.
 
BLASTFLOW Siberian with mounting hardware
 
At this point in time, or until I receive clarification from the manufacturer, you should expect the following:
 
* 1 x BLASTFLOW Siberian GPU waterblock
* 1 of either the 8800GTX, 8800GT/GTS (G92 variant) or the ATI 3850/3870 cooling plate depending on your graphics card.
* 1 x sachet of mounting screws and plastic washers.
 
 
A Closer Look
 
My first impression of the BLASTFLOW Siberian Modular VGA waterblock is that it is visually stunning. This block is quite literally a piece of art. The observant may notice the similarity to the Maltese Cross or the West Coast Choppers logo.
 
BLASTFLOW logo
 
The Siberian has its BLASTFLOW namesake inscribed upon the perspex top, as well as the the lady with flowing tresses which is BLASTFLOW's logo.
 
BLASTFLOW Siberian top view BLASTFLOW Siberian side-on
BLASTFLOW end-on BLASTFLOW lapping
 
The review sample that I received here had a few minor imperfections: there were a few reasonably deep scratches present on the side of the block, and the base of the copper block had some slight scuffing from the machining process. I am pleased to report though that it is incredibly flat.
 
The memory cooling plates that came supplied with the Siberian are just as visually appealing as the VGA block itself. Constructed of machined aluminium plate and protected from oxidation by beamblasting, the cooling plates are extremely lightweight. Due to the large amount of cards currently available there are restrictions as to what the BLASTFLOW Siberian will fit. BLASTFLOW has a compatibility listing on their website here, but I have taken the liberty of including it below for you so you can see what options are available for your chosen graphics card.
 
Current full cover compatibility with the existing cooling plates:

* Nvidia 8800GTX/Ultra
* Nvidia 8800GT/GTS512
* ATI 3850/3870

Currently pending cooling plate developments:

* Nvidia 9800GX2
* Nvidia 9800GTX
 
Anodised Aluminium cooling plate 8800GT/GTS 512 cooling plate
8800GTX/Ultra cooling plate ATI 3870 cooling plate
 
From the images above and below you should get an idea of how the BLASTFLOW Siberian Modular VGA Waterblock all fits together.
 
BLASTFLOW Siberian with GTX plate
 
I have included an image of the BLASTFLOW Siberian on my GeForce 8800GTS (640mb) so you can see how large this block really is. I haven't included any of the cooling plates as there aren't any currently available for my model of card, so the comination of Swiftech and Thermalright ramsinks and VRM heatsinks will have to do.
 
8800GTS with BLASTFLOW installed
 
It is worthwhile noting that if you decide to purchase the BLASTFLOW Siberian for your chosen card and there isn't a compatible cooling plate available, then you will need to source yourself some longer threaded screws, nuts and plastic washers. The screws supplied with the cooling plate and waterblock are not long enough for GPU-only purposes, as they are meant to fix the cooling plate to the pcb and then the waterblock to the cooling plate. As a result I had to scavenge some longer Alphacool screws in order to fit the block.
 


BLAST FLOW Siberian Rev2 Modular VGA WaterBlock Page: 3
Testing Methodology
 
For the testing phase of the review I have chosen to test the BLASTFLOW Siberian Modular VGA Waterblock against some other well known water-cooling blocks: the EK FC8800GTS; Swiftech MCW60, and the Alphacool NVXP-G8. A Laing DDC Pro pump with OCLabs alternative top running at 12v will be used to assist in making a comparison. I shall be looking specifically at pressure drop, flow resistance and cooling performance from within a water-cooling loop. All tests will be run 3 times to ensure the elimination of any oddities.
 
Variable psu @ 12v
 
I have included the setup details below:
 
Pressure Drop

For the pressure drop test I used a 25L portable water container filled with 20 litres of water, with a 1/2" plastic threaded barb placed in the bottom to represent the reservoir. A stop tap was inserted immediately after the 1/2" barb to allow for a faster water-block change. The True-Flow pressure meter was used to record the head pressure per 1 minute testing cycle. The pump was primed and let run for a short period to ensure that no air bubbles were left in the loop.

The first run made was with only the pump and pressure meter included in the loop and the water pressure noted. The absolute head pressure recorded for the Laing DDC Pro pump with OCLabs XP top was 33 kPa. For the second run the BLASTFLOW Siberian waterblock was included into the loop and the drop in loop pressure recorded. The same procedure was followed for the other waterblocks.

* 1 x Laing DDC Pro pump with OCLabs XP top @ 12v
* 1 x Alphacool NVXP-G8; EK FC8800GTS; BLASTFLOW Siberian and Swiftech MCW60 waterblocks
* 1 x Powertech variable DC power supply (quoted accuracy /- 0.2V)
* 1 x Multi-meter
* 25L portable water container
* 1 x Glycerine filled True-Flow pressure meter. (kPa/psi)
* 1/2" ID XSPC tubing
* 1/2" barbs
* 2 x stop-tap fittings
 
BLASTFLOW Siberian Swiftech MCW60
EK FC8800 GTS pressure drop Alphacool NVXP-G8 pressure drop
 
Flow

In a similar test to the pressure drop testing above, the flow test will highlight just how much the water blocks restrict the natural flow of the water-cooling loop. Utilising a very simple setup consisting of a pump, I/2" ID tubing, waterblocks, bucket and a stopwatch we will see how far removed from the absolute flow of the pump, that the waterblocks hinder flow. Running the pump into the bucket for one minute and then measuring the amount of water pumped will be the 'absolute flow' of the pump. The absolute flow recorded for the Laing DDC Pro pump with OCLabs XP top was 800 Litres per hour.
 
To calculate the flow-loss or restriction of each water block, they will each be included into the loop (one at a time) and the same procedure followed. The flow rate will be recorded in Litres/ hour. All simulations will be run 3 times each to ensure uniformity of the results and an average then taken.
 
Loop Simulation and cooling performance

I have replicated a watercooling loop similar to that in conventional water cooled setups, but it will include the GPU alone and should return consistant and unbiased performance results. The open loop that I have chosen to run with should give quite a good indication of how the BLASTFLOW Siberian waterblock would perform in your system. The BLASTFLOW Siberian and other waterblocks performance will be assessed at the Laing DDC Pro's operating voltage of 12 volts, simply because it is the typical voltage that the pump operates at.
 
For each seperate run, the pump was allowed to run for 20 mins to ensure the evacuation of all air from within the loop. The temperatures were taken at 30 minute intervals to allow them to 'settle'. RTHDRIBL will be used in order to simulate graphic load. Due to low maximum resolution of my testing monitor, RTHDRIBL will be run at 1280 x 1024 (4x Multisample). Whilst the small resolution isn't perfect for stressing the graphics card totally it should still give some comparitive results.

I have recorded temperatures at idle and load; all GPU related temperatures will be taken using RivaTuner vers 2.08 and water/ambient temperatures were taken using a common household mercury thermometer. The mercury thermometer was allowed 5 minutes to aclimatise to air and water and then the temperature recorded. Water temperature during the testing process was between 26.3 and 27.1 Degrees Celcius.
 
The setup used has been included below:

* 1 x Laing DDC Pro pump with OCLabs XP top @ 12v
* 1 x Alphacool NVXP-G8; EK FC8800GTS; BLASTFLOW Siberian and Swiftech MCW60 waterblocks
* 1 x Powertech variable DC power supply (quoted accuracy /- 0.2V)
* 1 x Multi-meter
* 1 x Radiical 120.3 Radiator
* 3 x Scythe Minebea 120mm cooling fans
* 1/2" ID XSPC tubing
* 1/2" barbs.
* 1 x Intel Q6600 processor
* 1 x ASUS P5B Deluxe wifi/App motherboard (bios version 1101)
* 1 x ASUS EN8800GTS graphics card (640Mb version)
* 2GB Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400 RAM
* Antec NEO EarthWatts 500W PSU
* 80 GB Western Digital SATA II HDD
 
Please follow with me over the page to see the test results...


BLAST FLOW Siberian Rev2 Modular VGA WaterBlock Page: 4
Test Results
 
Flow chart
 
Head Pressure loss
 
Idle temperature chart
 
Load temperature chart
 
Result Observations
 
Flow performance of the BLASTFLOW Siberian was certainly better than both the Alphacool NVXP-G8 and EK FC8800GTS full cover waterblocks, and second only to the popular Swiftech MCW60 GPU only waterblock.
 
Pressure loss was equally as impressive with the Siberian level-pegging it with the Alphacool NVXP-G8. Once again the Swiftech MCW60 wins out here, but it is only by 0.5 kPa. With the inclusion of a more powerful pump in your loop like the Laing DDC Ultra the effects of the pressure loss would be negated.
 
Idle temperatures were very close across the board. The slight variations in temperature that we see can perhaps be attributed to inconsistencies with TIM application or waterblock tension. However, the load temperatures illustrate the increased cooling performance that the Siberian has over both the EK FC8800GTS and Alphacool NVXP-G8 full-cover waterblocks.


BLAST FLOW Siberian Rev2 Modular VGA WaterBlock Page: 5
Conclusion
 
So how well did the BLASTFLOW Siberian Modular VGA Waterblock perform in today's review?
 
There is no doubt that the Siberian is positively the sexiest and most drool-worthy block currently available, in my opinion. The block has looks by the shed-load and would certainly compliment any high-end water-cooled rig. The overall finish of the waterblock is excellent even though my sample arrived with a few scratches.
 
Cooling performance of the BLASTFLOW Siberian is very good with greater flow and less-restrictive qualities than most of the waterblocks we tested it against today. Unfortunately, I was unable to assess the Siberian with the cooling plate due to the non-existence of one for my graphics card, but I will revisit this review in the near future and add results with the cooling plate included.
 
Pricing for the BLASTFLOW Siberian Modular VGA Waterblock is reasonably priced with other full-cover waterblocks with the VGA-only block coming in at £59.99+VAT and the cooling plates at £21.91+VAT respectively. While some may baulk at the additional cost associated with the modular features of the BLASTFLOW Siberian, in the long run, the cost will be offset by the fact that you save money by not having to upgrade with every new graphics card release. Or alternatively, you can just run with the VGA block only. The BLASTFLOW Siberian is available throughout Europe and the USA with Aqua-PC's and Primochill being the respective resellers and distributors.
 
 
Aqua-Pcs logo
 
The Good
- Exceptional Quality.
- Looks.
- Cooling performance.
- Modular design.
- Increased upgradability.
 
The Mediocre
- Initial outlay.
- Older generation cards may not be supported (GeForce 8800GTX is catered for but the older 8800GTS isn't.)
- Longer screws required for VGA-only which weren't supplied.
- Significantly dearer than the Swiftech MCW60.
 
The Bad
- Nothing to report
 
Editors Choice Award
 
Overclock3D would like to thank BLASTFLOW for supplying today's review sample.
 
Discuss in our forum.