bit-tech.net

Alphacool to 3D-scan GPUs to make waterblocks for non-reference cards

Alphacool to 3D-scan GPUs to make waterblocks for non-reference cards

Non-reference graphics cards often have capacitors and VRM circuitry in different places to reference PCBs making it tricky to make universal waterblocks. Alphacool will be soon be able to tailor-make blocks for specific non-reference models.

Alphacool has announced that it will soon be able to 3D-scan graphics cards with non-reference PCBs in order to make custom waterblocks far more easily.

It has made use of a cutting-edge 3D scanner to accurately measure the PCB to allow it to quickly manufacture custom cooling plates that are compatible with a new range of waterblocks.

In addition, it's offering a free waterblock set for your graphics card (see requirements below) in return for you loaning it to the company. This means it can scan your model and add it to its manufacturing database so others can potentially buy it too.

In the past, if you owned a graphics card with a non-reference PCB - that is one that's maybe had additional power circuitry added to offer better overclocking or even just a few capacitors moved around, you were very often out of luck if you later wanted to water-cool it.

This is due to the simple reason that it wasn't worth the time of waterblock manufacturers to go through their usual lengthy production process to create a new waterblock that far fewer people would buy compared to reference models.

Alphacool to 3D-scan GPUs to make waterblocks for non-reference cards *Alphacool to 3D-scan GPUs to make waterblocks for non-reference cards
Click to enlarge

The dimensions will be used to create a custom base plate that cools the memory and VRMs, which attaches to a backplate and universal waterblock that cools the GPU core directly. As the waterblock is universal, you can re-fit it to future GPUs and just buy a new base plate and backplate for the new GPU.

The baseplate is made from aluminium (at no point does it come in contact with the coolant), and Alphacool claims the mosfets on the card will be cooled to the same level as they would be on an air cooled graphics card running its fan at full speed while the core and ram would see a temperature drop in the region of 30-40°C.

The new waterblock range and 3D-scanning service will cater for any Nvidia GeForce 7XX-series model and any AMD Radeon 2XX-series models only at the start, with both reference GeForce GTX 750 Ti and Titan Black waterblock kits available at launch.

Alphacool to 3D-scan GPUs to make waterblocks for non-reference cards *Alphacool to 3D-scan GPUs to make waterblocks for non-reference cards
Click to enlarge

If you're interested in sending your non reference GeForce 7XX-series or Radeon 2XX-series card to Alphacool, you can contact them directly at www.alphacool.com or via your local Alphacool etailer.

Alphacool will also be producing a unique 'multi-bridge' connection system for customers with more than one GPU. The bridge will effortlessly connect the waterblocks as well as letting the customer illuminate the Alphacool logo with 5mm LED’s.

Alphacool to 3D-scan GPUs to make waterblocks for non-reference cards *Alphacool to 3D-scan GPUs to make waterblocks for non-reference cards
Click to enlarge

To support the modding community Alphacool will be publishing the dimensions of the 'multi-bridge' cover so you have the ability to make your own. Also if there is enough demand for a specific brand or logo Alphacool will be making custom covers available.

This could in theory be one way to create a proper water-cooling solution for AMD's new R9 295X2 as well. Do you think Alphacool's idea could be useful? Have you had to opt for reference models in the past as you needed to water-cool them? Let us know your thoughts in the forum.

16 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
daletur328 18th April 2014, 10:49 Quote
Great idea, would have loved this service with my card, just a pity it's 6xx series GeForce. Would be good to see a review of the temps.
theshadow2001 18th April 2014, 11:55 Quote
It's cool and offers choice where there was none. Which is great. But chances are it'll be expensive due to the small job lot production runs of the non generic elements.
schmidtbag 18th April 2014, 14:23 Quote
Definitely an interesting idea, but I'm sure the service will be pricey.

Makes me wonder how much an advanced 3D scanner was necessary. For example, I wonder if you could get the same results using a regular photo scanner. The way this works is you measure distance of the components based on how blurry they are, and maybe use brightness too as an aiding factor. This obviously isn't going to be as accurate, but you don't need 100% precision for a heatsink. You just need to make sure it's tightly and fully pressed against the GPU die and that it doesn't hit any of the other components. Also, from a user perspective, this approach is more difficult and requires more manual intervention. Personally, I'd rather spend $50 on a photo scanner than a multi-hundred (possibly multi-thousand) dollar 3D scanner that scans a device that is largely 2-dimensional.
SMIFFYDUDE 18th April 2014, 16:55 Quote
Why do customers have to send their cards in, why can't Alphacool just get hold of the cards for themselves and save people the hassle?
Cheapskate 18th April 2014, 16:58 Quote
Maybe not too pricey, It looks like they have a stock heatsink they can slap in a mill with little setup.
theshadow2001 18th April 2014, 17:21 Quote
I think the reason for sending the cards in and the laser scanner is to get various part samples across numerous batches. This would allow them to measure the variances in the cards production and ensure the blocks they produce would work correctly across all cards.
Combatus 18th April 2014, 17:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
Why do customers have to send their cards in, why can't Alphacool just get hold of the cards for themselves and save people the hassle?

There won't be any costs afaik - if the card isn't in their database and they deem your model worthy of adding to it, then it's free and you get a block for your trouble - very little hassle in that tbh so long as they return your card in a reasonable time.

It's also highly impractical to get hold of every non-reference card for every generation - literally dozens - no block manufacturer has managed it yet and asking for cards to scan isn't new either - EK has done it in the past, albeit maybe not with 3D scanning. This way both Alphacool and the end user benefit - the end user with a free block for their card if it hasn't been scanned already, and Alphacool gets to build its database of cards so it can cater for as many models as possible.
Guinevere 19th April 2014, 00:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
I wonder if you could get the same results using a regular photo scanner. The way this works is you measure distance of the components based on how blurry they are, and maybe use brightness too as an aiding factor.

If it was reliable to produce an accurate 3D scan from a 2D photograph using nothing but DOF... everyone would be doing it. If you're going to add it lots of processing and dynamic light sources for shadow mapping then you're just building an inaccurate 3D scanner using less than optimal techniques.

3D scanning has been pretty much sorted now. Hacked solutions are no longer required.
true_gamer 19th April 2014, 00:48 Quote
I like it! - The design is pretty slick too! Think this will be in my next build... :D
law99 19th April 2014, 09:00 Quote
This is a great idea. If you can choose any card you want, the premium of using this service would be well worth the extra paid.
Dogbert666 19th April 2014, 17:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by true_gamer
I like it! - The design is pretty slick too! Think this will be in my next build... :D

Awesome - knew we could rely on you :D
ksyruz 19th April 2014, 18:11 Quote
Seems cool and all, but most non-reference cards (Asus DCU ii, EVGA, MSI Lighning, KFA2/Galaxy hof, and Gigabyte) get waterblocks by one of the brands, especially EK waterblocks who do all of them in full cover.
craig - toyoracer 19th April 2014, 19:22 Quote
At last we can now WC Quadro-Firepro cards, so a good option. :)
true_gamer 20th April 2014, 17:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogbert666
Awesome - knew we could rely on you :D

Of course! :D - Just wish the next gen hardware would hurry up so I can start a build log. :)
Apoptosis 20th April 2014, 17:49 Quote
This is a good idea - I've been meaning to buy a GTX 780 for a water-cooled build but reference PCB's seem to be few and far between.
Star*Dagger 27th April 2014, 22:34 Quote
Not sure I would be comfortable with only 2 cards in my system. And I do my best to keep them in there and watercooled and not moved until the next 9 month upgrade cycle.

S*D
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums