EVGA GTX 480 Hydro Copper FTW Review - HotHardware

EVGA GTX 480 Hydro Copper FTW Review

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Watercooling has seen greater mainstream acceptance in recent years. As a result, manufacturers have acknowledged the trend and expanded their product lineups to include these more exotic parts. But what's the big draw for videocards, motherboards, or memory pre-installed with liquid cooling options? Simply put, increased cooling potential nets higher overclocking headroom which translates into higher, stable operating frequencies and ultimately, greater performance. In this particular case, performance is anchored by lower component temperatures and a quieter computing environment as well.




The Hydro Copper GTX 480 measures 10.5" in length, making it one of the longer cards on the market. It is an inch longer than the GTX 470, which measures 9.5", but is much shorter than ATI's HD 5970, which checks in at 12" long.



Along the top edge of the card, we find some important connections. Like the reference design, EVGA's HC FTW GTX 480 requires two power jacks, one 6-pin and one 8-pin PCI Express connectors. Dual SLI connectors enable multi-card gaming, making it possible to link up to four of these monsters on the same motherboard.


EVGA teamed up with Swiftech to produce the waterblock found on this card. Within it, the Hydro Copper uses a 0.6mm thin pin matrix, while the shiny base plate consists of chrome plated C110 copper. The top plate is made of sturdy black derlin, and an integrated heat pipe connects the block to the mosfet heatsink for additional cooling ability.  


With the waterblock removed, we can clearly see NVIDIA's reference design GTX 480. The GF100 GPU is a huge chip, and we understand why it requires so much cooling. The black PCB is pretty much standard on all high end graphics cards, with less expensive models sometimes sporting other colors. 


There are a couple of things to note on the PCI bracket of this card. First, it has three available connections, just like the standard GTX 480. You get a mini-HDMI port along with two dual-link DVI connectors. Just remember that NVIDIA Surround technology requires two current generation videocards so don't expect multi-monitor gaming capability from a single product. Secondly, EVGA has replaced the reference design dual slot bracket with a single slot option, freeing up adjacent PCI slots on the motherboard for other purposes. Too often, we find watercooled videocards sporting the stock dual slot bracket, negating one of the advantages of using a single slot waterblock.


Included with the GTX 480 HC FTW is an accessory bundle that makes the installation a simple affair. There is a quick start guide, driver disc, DVI-to-VGA adapter, and HDMI-to-mini HDMI cable. EVGA thankfully included a set of 1/2" and 3/8" stubby fittings with corresponding hose clamps. And they didn't let us down on the software front either. The driver disk contains EVGA Precision, OC Scanner, SLI Enhancement, NVIDIA's Supersonic Sled Demo, and the Design Garage Demo.

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I remember this coming out on launch day, I'm surprised you haven't done a review of this sooner.

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Ya, we even talked about it :P

But a review is better then none :). They should of buffed up the card with water cooling... :D it only runs a bit tad faster form the benches. but it does take up more power!

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while it would be nice to have this for how quiet it is... for an economic point of view it just make more sense to pick up 2 GTX 460s and be faster for less.

You can even add a 3rd one for only $40 more than this thing is.

Then over clock them and you'll be smokin.

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Yes, please.

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Until the refresh comes out, I think I will be avoiding Nvidia's 400 series cards.  Man they suck down some serious power.  Though the new GF104 spin is looking very nice and I'm hoping they can use it to build a replacement for the 480.

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Not bad numbers put up here. I still wish Nvidia could get their power levels of Fermi down to ATI level. One good thing about buying a factory water cooled card is that if there ever is a mishap like a spring leak you are covered it also helps this is a EVGA card and they do stand behind their cards. 

I wonder if EK makes water blocks for Fermi, they always were the go to company from what I remember. I like that sweet looking nickel plated water block they used to make.

 

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Nice card.

expensive and also a bit of a PITA, but good performance specs too.

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I entered all the evga contest for there 11th anniversary  contests hoping i would win something like the 480.

Dought i will win but still can dream. lol

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fat78:

I entered all the evga contest for there 11th anniversary  contests hoping i would win something like the 480.

Dought i will win but still can dream. lol

I entered the scavenger hunt too. But the other two contests require you to make a wallpaper or play Battlefield Bad Company 2, things that I can't do at the moment. And anyways there still hope, the contest hasn't ended yet.

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I entered one of the scavenger hunt contests before... there are so many people you're competing against tho... it makes the odds of you winning pretty low :-\

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