Did you know the RTX 3090 VRAM ran hot? It has become enough of a serious issue for some really novel takes on the backplate design and cooling to pop up. When it came to the DIY watercooling field, this meant bringing about more ways to remove the heat from the back of the PCB than merely a regular aluminium backplate. There have been takes on active backplates in the past, with Aqua Computer first doing so with a heatpipe that I would argue is semi-active at most. Indeed, the company itself realized there is an opportunity for a coolant flow path on the back and put out some renders for interest checks in the community. A few enterprising community members developed mods to do the same, even making one a retail product that clips onto an existing backplate. That wasn't the most elegant of solutions, however, and Aqua Computer was since been beat to the market by EK.
First announced at its CES 2021 media event, the EK-Quantum Vector Active Backplate was the subject of many a discussion. Remember the dual PCB GPU sandwiches from a few generations ago? We can now have a water block sandwich with the GPU in the middle. I definitely had to put together a dedicated review for this despite it clearly not being as beneficial on my RTX 3080 relative to the RTX 3090. Thanks again to EK for sending a review sample to TechPowerUp, and be sure to read this review alongside my review of the EK-Quantum Vector GPU block and "regular" backplate.