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Gainward CoolFX revision 2 - VGA watercooling for the masses
Today Gainward celebrated its first birthday here in the UK and being such good sports they invited some journalists over to their offices to rejoice in beer drinking and showed off their latest products. Three main products were on show today, all of which were seen at last month's CeBIT exhibition. In our FX @ CeBIT 2003 article we were one of the first to show pictures of a water-cooled Geforce FX 5800 Ultra card.

Today we saw a revised edition of this water-cooling solution which was designed by the guys at Bit-Tech. It has been dubbed CoolFX. In this article we will concentrate on this. Other products that were shown :- Gainward FX PowerPack! PRO/660 TV (Geforce FX 5200) and the Gainward FX PowerPack! Ultra/760 XP "Golden Sample" (Geforce FX 5600 Ultra).

To refresh your memory, the card we saw at CeBIT looked like this :-

A fully fitted system using the above cooling was snapped earlier today.

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The new version, given the label "revision 2" was shown off today. This isn't the final shipping version, and Gainward were keen to further enlist the thoughts of the Bit-Tech experts to further develop this system in order to enable higher overclocks and lower noise. They expect to be at revision 4 before they have the final product.

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The fittings are shown on a dead demonstration 5800 Ultra board. As you can see there are quite a few major changes including the two separate memory coolers instead of the one piece which was placed over all four BGA DDR-II RAM modules on each side. The main GPU block has changed, although we are told that in the future all fittings will be positioned such that a PCI slot isn't taken up.

However the most important thing about this new revision of the water-cooling solution is that it can be used on other Gainward cards. The fittings were removed from the dummy 5800 Ultra board and placed on a Gainward 5200 Ultra. Quickly we saw massive overclocks and low temperatures (26-27C whilst running 3DMark 2001). For reference, we usually see temperatures of 59-64C on the 5800 Ultra cards.

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The reservoir and radiator are all packed into a 5.25" bay fitting lunchbox. The unit can be easily filled with water using a syringe and any air bubbles that are trapped will be automatically dispersed within 30 minutes of running. We couldn't get a picture of the inside, however the back looks fairly simple.

On the front you have a digital temperature display which can take up to three sensor readings.

The Gainward FX PowerPack! Ultra/1000 Plus "Golden Sample" (aka 5800 Ultra) will retail for 479.99. The whole cooling solution is said to retain for 200 (about 140). Gainward expect some online retailers to offer the CoolFX for around 120.

Many will question whether there is a large enough market for a solution that costs over 600, however there is no doubting that the CoolFX is by far the most innovative out-of-the-box cooling solution that anyone has offered and kudos must go to Gainward for taking the risk. Also further kudos for listening to Bit-Tech rather than doing an in-house job which probably wouldn't please real water-cooling enthusiasts.

Expect these on the shelves in May.