Koolance is one of the most established brands in the field of custom watercooling, founded in 2000 with an emphasis on custom-designed industrial cooling solutions. Unlike most other companies, they have their manufacturing in South Korea and headquarters in the USA, where the designs are finalized. They are not a brand to release motherboard monoblocks or non-reference GPU blocks, instead taking the time for R&D to develop new CPU and reference PCB GPU water block designs. An emphasis on industrial design had led to function over form for a while until they decided to adopt both with their CPU-390 water block with full metal and acrylic top options, and today, we get to take a look at their GPU block specifically for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080.
The product name is not catchy, and there remain aspects where the engineer's mindset is prevalent. But the VID-NX1080 differs from previous-generation Koolance GPU blocks in that we finally have an acrylic top version to cater to the rising demands of custom watercoolers and modders - where aesthetic options are just as important as performance alone. The VID-NX1080 also comes in an acetal top version for those who would rather have that, and top material aside, both end up functionally identical.
|Koolance VID-NX1080 GPU Water block|
|Top:||Acrylic top with stainless steel cover|
|Cold plate:||Nickel-plated copper|
|GPU compatibility:||NVIDIA GTX 1070/1080 Founders Edition or other GTX 1070/1080 reference PCB GPUs|
|Mass:||1.02 Kg / 2.25 lbs|
|Ports:||Four, BSP G1/4" threaded|
Packaging and Accessories
Koolance operates a web shop in the USA, which is where these samples came from, and thus, we begin with a look at the shipping packaging itself. A well-sized box with over an inch of space between the box and the contents inside was used, space that was then filled with packing peanuts. Excellent packaging so far, and this will help with any potential shipping and handling issues.
The product box adopts a simple, clean-looking black and white color scheme with the company and product names on the front and a scanning sticker on the side. Open the box and we see another box inside, but this one has loose edges, which has it open up completely and expose the contents inside.
The accessories are in a large plastic zip lock pouch with smaller pouches for the various parts inside. We see a detailed installation manual (online copy here) and are given another quick guide on how to place the thermal pads. We also get large thermal pad sheets of marked thickness, which does help distinguish them easily. However, there are no cutouts or markings on these - end users will have to measure and use a pair of scissors to cut everything to size themselves. Here is where other companies who have made installation more user-friendly and quicker get some points over Koolance. As far as mounting hardware goes, we have the usual set of insulating washers, metal screws, and two locking nuts that have been the norm for the GTX 1080 water blocks we have seen. Also included is a small satchel of thermal paste, good for 1-2 uses.
Koolance was also kind enough to send a backplate to go along with the GPU block. The backplate's packaging is simple and effective, with the contents protected by foam sheets on both sides. Here too is a pouch that contains a similar installation guide (refer to the detailed online version linked above for more on the backplate as well), two thermal pad sheets, and mounting hardware - longer screws that have to pass through the backplate in addition to the PCB now. Interestingly, one of the thermal pad sheets is 2 mm thick, which is thicker than is the norm for those GPU block backplates I have tested, and I am not sure why Koolance opted for thicker pads here instead of thinner ones to aid in heat transfer.
The backplate comes separately wrapped in a plastic sheet to keep it pristine and free of dust, and taking it out, we see that it is a formidable piece of aluminum indeed. It is thicker than most backplates, with only the Aqua Computer active backplate being thicker than it in the samples I have here. There are also slightly raised sections to add to what surface is available for heat transfer, although it is more aesthetical than functional at this point.
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