NZXT Kracken G10 GPU Modification

Greetings, today I shall discuss the upgrade on my GPU “Sapphire Radeon 7970”, this being an upgrade to heat distribution and noise levels. Most recently I have found that my 7970 seems to be working harder than usual. I can only pin this down to the architecture of the card keeping up with the graphics demands of today’s games,  this could change with the introduction of DirectX 12 in Windows 10 but I would like a more permanent option for future proof reasons.

Now, the following  components are what I will be using in this upgrade/modification.

  • Sapphire Radeon 7970 6GB Vapor-X  / 6144 MB Size 384-bit GDDR5 / 6000 MHz Effective / 28nm GCN Architecture
  • NZXT Kracken G10 GPU Adapter for CPU Coolers
  • Corsair H55 Closed Loop Liquid Cooling Unit
  • 2x Corsair AF120 red LED Fans
  • MX4 Thermal Paste

Now, the way the 7970 was designed meant it had more transistors in a lesser space, this showed a dramatic increase in performance (in it’s time). Which is why the Vapor-X was added to the card. As good as the Vapor-X is and has preformed, I would like to invest in a more quieter option.

For this I chose the NXZT Kraken G10, this modification allows a user to connect a cooler designed for a CPU to a GPU. So in effect I shall have 2 liquid coolers active in my build, and hopefully cooler temps all round.

To begin with I removed the current GPU and gave it a good cleanout, taking notice to the heatsink and case that surrounds the heatsink for future use. I also took the time to reapply the thermal paste incase the older paste had defected for some reason.

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The 7970 Card without the Vapor-X Cooling System

As you can see above, the card has been stripped down to the bear card, this was done with care and protocols in place to avoid any static discharge in the card. This could of potentially corrupted the cards hardware, rendering the card useless.

In the picture you can see the main graphics chip surrounded by the smaller black VRAM chips, which will later become an issue. Anyway I cleaned up the card getting rid of the excess paste you can see on the image above and making sure no fibres had remained on the surface of the graphics chip.

I then proceeded to unbox and assemble the Kracken G10 components, now to start with it did not fit correctly with the black plate installed (even though it said on the website). Luckily enough the modification fits without the backplate being installed.  I fitted the Kracken to the Card with the H55 installed, after a bit of a struggle but managed it in the end (not forced).

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NXZT Kracken G10 installed on to the 7970

Now as you can see on the picture above, the VRAM chips have not been considered at all in the design of the modification. The modification did not come with any pre-added VRAM heatsinks. This was an issue, the main graphics chip does not contact the face of the H55 either. A gap in between the pump and Chip is existent which is not good at all.

SO BE WARNED, IF YOU GET THIS MODIFICATION BE AWARE IT DOES NOT COME WITH HEATSINKS OR A GREAT FAN FOR THAT MATTER.

With this in mind, I will need to order the following things to allow proper usage of the modification.

  • Copper Shims, originally for laptop usage will allow me to bridge the Gap between the face of the H55 Pump and GPU Graphics Chip.
  • VRAM Heatsinks to cover the remaining chips that are uncovered and heat up way to fast.
  • Better 92mm fan, the default NZXT one is not that good at all. Perhaps a cooler master one.
  • PWM adapter cable for the Graphics GPU which will allow the GPU to control 92mm fans attached to the radiator if required.

 

Until these parts have been acquired I don’t believe the device is fit for use.

I will update the post when the components have been acquired.

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