EVGA GTX 580 FTW Hydro Copper 2 Review
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 video cards, 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.
With help from the folks over at Swiftech, EVGA came up with a single slot, full cover watercooling solution you see here. It transfers heat from all the components that generate high temperature, specifically the GPU, VRM, and memory chips. The Hydro Copper 2 measures 10.5" (266.7mm) in length and stands 4.4" (111.2mm) tall. With the full card waterblock, it's also a heavy card, weighing in at 3 lbs. In comparison, the Hydro Copper 2 is the same length as other GTX 580s, but still shorter than the 12" Radeon HD 5970.
A look along the top edge of the card reveals some important connections. The Hydro Copper 2 requires two power jacks, one 6-pin and one 8-pin connector from the power supply. There are also dual SLI connectors which enable multi-card gaming, making it possible to link two, three, or four of these behemoths on the same motherboard. Look closely and you'll see a small EVGA logo next to the 8-pin power connector which lights up during normal operation.
An EVGA GTX 580 backplate comes pre-installed on the Hydro Copper 2. Besides protecting the card, it helps to cool the components found on this side of the PCB. And we think it adds to the overall aesthetic of the product, making it obvious this isn't a standard GTX 580. You can actually buy the backplate separately for $20.
Like the reference design, the Hydro Copper 2 comes with three connections on the PCI bracket. You get a mini-HDMI port along with two dual-link DVI connectors. The HDMI port is version 1.4a, which was released March 2010 and supports all of the latest 3D formats.
With a high end product, one would expect the accessory bundle to include everything required for installation. In this regard, the Hydro Copper 2 did not disappoint. There is a quick start guide, driver disc, DVI-to-VGA adapter, PCIe power adapters, and HDMI-to-mini HDMI cable. Moreover, EVGA threw in a set of 1/2" and 3/8" stubby fittings with corresponding hose clamps. The disk contains NVIDIA graphics drivers, EVGA Precision, OC Scanner, and EVGA SLI Enhancement.