MSI N280GTX OC HydroGen

A Closer Look

A Closer Look

The waterblock is held on with 8 screws, 4 round head and 4 cap head style screws all with hex key fitting. Underneath the screws are plastic washers to prevent any shorting of the PCB. The block came away with relative ease once the screws were removed and I am pleased to report that the block made good contact with the GPU. Rather than opt for thermal tape, as used on the SLI chip and VRM's,  MSI used the same paste on the memory as they used on the GPU.

Cap head Block removed

Block Contact

The main block is a 4 part setup with each section screwed to the main slab of copper. The top (as expected) is removable via a further four screws which then reveal the main section of copper. The section directly above the GPU is a very well machined fin design which increases the surface area being cooled significantly. This should serve to dissipate heat more efficiently than a flat section.

Inside Block Fins

Strangely MSI have seen fit to add a separate memory plate, again attached by screws, instead of milling the plate into the block. Why MSI did this is beyond me as all it serves is to create another layer for heat to be transfered through.The top cover which channels the water is a masterpiece in milling. The channels are superbly engineered with very few mill marks and no rough edges to be found. The inlet/outlet holes that lead to the Delrin barb housing are a little restrictive but not excessively so. My main concern is the the way the block will channel the water through the fins which, if the EK Supreme which has a similar design, is anything to go by will restrict flow even more.

Top Block Ram plate

Another little irritation of the block is the barb spacing. Those who wish to use 1/2 outside diameter barbs will find that the spacing is very tight. This shouldn't however, be a problem for those who use the 3/8 barbs.
 
Opening Barbs
 
No one can deny that this is one serious looking piece of equipment. The engraved, aluminium inserts do not come into contact with the water so galvanic corrosion won't be a problem and minor issues aside, which may/may not affect performance, the block could easily dethrone the very popular EK, Aquacomputer and XSPC if for nothing else but for its looks. Aesthetics however, mean nothing in the world of water-cooling if the block does not have the performance to match. Let's find out if the MSI 280GTX OC HydroGen is indeed a sheep in wolf's clothing...

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Most Recent Comments

22-01-2009, 06:20:39

JN
"Pre-overclocked graphics cards are nothing new but pre overclocked AND watercooled cards are something of a rarity. Can it compete with the GTX285?" - by Webbo

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...140623547s.jpg

MSI N280GTX OC HydroGen

22-01-2009, 06:27:47

premiumgfx
Impressive performance for a GTX 280! And the card has an interesting heatsink.

22-01-2009, 06:49:06

moogle
First time I seen a fine machined waterblock from a watercooled ready gpu manufacturer. Looks like it cools well too

22-01-2009, 06:50:55

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='moogle'
First time I seen a fine machined waterblock from a watercooled ready gpu manufacturer. Looks like it cools well too
Agreed. I'd actually prefer that block (in terms of looks at least) over anything that EK could offer.

22-01-2009, 06:57:23

VonBlade
Stunning performance. It's so nice to see proper paste instead of that awful white goop too. But wow what a huge performing card and block.

Shame about the bracket. The devil is in the details.

VB

22-01-2009, 10:58:36

zak4994
Have you tried overclocking past the limits?

At 40C that is so cool.

22-01-2009, 11:02:37

moogle
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Jim'
Agreed. I'd actually prefer that block (in terms of looks at least) over anything that EK could offer.
It does cover more of the card than the EK's. I do like that

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='VonBlade'

Shame about the bracket. The devil is in the details.

VB
Dremel anyone?

Or can't you buy a single bracket that will fit on it. Only problem is I think there is an LED indicator on the 2nd grill part of the bracket, so you'd have to take that off.

22-01-2009, 11:07:05

Luigi
Those blocks are awesome.. I believe Aqua-pcs may be stocking them soon, not too sure though.

22-01-2009, 11:08:12

AntiHeroUK
What company manufactured the blocks for them. Reminds me of aquagraFX blocks a bit.

22-01-2009, 11:08:26

soapsupah
wow, loved that block pretty cool , and great performance, +1 for MSi. , also wc it wont obviously wont void warrantry

thanks for the review jim, pretty cool one

Soap.

22-01-2009, 11:10:29

Luigi
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='AntiHeroUK'
What company manufactured the blocks for them. Reminds me of aquagraFX blocks a bit.
watercool.de Also known as heatkiller.

22-01-2009, 11:16:25

moogle
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='AntiHeroUK'
What company manufactured the blocks for them. Reminds me of aquagraFX blocks a bit.
It does doesn't it. I can't find the GTX280 blocks on their site though

22-01-2009, 11:18:47

AntiHeroUK
Thanks Luigi.

22-01-2009, 11:34:47

HypoglossalXII
How do you reckon MSI's water cooled 260's compete against the BFG variant? Granted there are marketing terms like MAXCORE and thermointelligence used, but do these actually play any part in making the cards have more bang for their buck?

-HypoG

22-01-2009, 11:35:45

Luigi
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='HypoglossalXII'
How do you reckon MSI's water cooled 260's compete against the BFG variant? Granted there are marketing terms like MAXCORE and thermointelligence used, but do these actually play any part in making the cards have more bang for their buck?

-HypoG
Not more bang for buck, but for first time water coolers its much safer than possibly breaking your card.

22-01-2009, 11:56:31

moogle
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='HypoglossalXII'
Granted there are marketing terms like MAXCORE and thermointelligence used, but do these actually play any part in making the cards have more bang for their buck?
Just sounds like a bit of marketing cow poo to me. Thermointelligence is just a name for some of their cards with those better than stock air and water coolers and the MAXCORE just means they're the new 216 core cards iirc. Nothing that makes the cards more bang for their buck I think.

I still prefer choosing your own waterblock because when it comes to selling your card, you're limited to a small market of watercoolers rather than everyone (if you had the original cooler).

23-01-2009, 11:38:47

Capn Jack
Hasn't anybody here at OC3D heard of Zotac? They've got a GTX 280 AMP clocked at CC 700, SC at 1400, and MC at 2300 on air! So MSIs N280GTX OC doesn't really impress me. I purchased two of these Zotacs just recently and current OC is 730/1536/2650...still on air! Fan is set to auto and flucs between 40 - 60 with temps rarely getting above 64C. Things are so steady and quiet, I may try pushing Core a little higher. At my current OC, I've even got the Zotac 285 AMP beat!

23-01-2009, 13:16:21

w3bbo
Of course we have heard of Zotac - we reviewed a GTX260 from them already.

MSI also have an air cooled GTX280 available which runs at the same clocks as the warercooled version. Somehow though I doubt it would run as cool, silent or indeed overclock aswell as the HydroGen. I am however, happy to be proven wrong.

23-01-2009, 13:17:28

Luigi
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='w3bbo'
Of course we have heard of Zotac - we reviewed a GTX260 from them already.

MSI also have an air cooled GTX280 available which runs at the same clocks as the warercooled version. Somehow though I doubt it would run as cool, silent or indeed overclock aswell as the HydroGen. I am however, happy to be proven wrong.
agreed with that... The air cooled cards will need more case fans etc to keep them cool, its simply not designed to run at those speeds- This card Is!

24-01-2009, 12:42:05

Trollgaard
"Thermointelligence"... That's what I use when I look out the window and decide to stay inside because it's winter. I have just got myself 2 EVGA GTX280 cards. I would love to get them watercooled at a later stage. And the SLI-Set HEATKILLER GPU-X G200 they have at watercool.de seems spot on when the time comes

08-02-2009, 04:41:11

fruityness
Thats just sexy, I'll have two please.

08-02-2009, 08:01:04

w3bbo
Why stop at two? Get TRI SLI and be a man.

08-02-2009, 11:42:18

fruityness
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='w3bbo'
Why stop at two? Get TRI SLI and be a man.
Oh go on then! Seeing as w3bbo is buying I'll have three then!
Reply
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