To be succinct, this is one of the most aesthetically pleasing pieces of computer hardware I have ever had the pleasure of seeing in the flesh. I would go so far as to say it is even better looking than XFX’s passively cooled GeForce 7950 GT Extreme
card that we looked at a couple of months ago.
A few months ago, we got wind that BFGTech was looking to work with some of the world’s top cooling manufacturers. In all honesty, we weren’t thinking about which watercooling manufacturers the company could possibly work with. Instead, we were expecting to see BFGTech launch a new video card using one of Arctic Cooling’s designs.
We certainly didn’t expect to see the guys at BFGTech working with Danger Den – names don’t get much bigger than Danger Den in the world of watercooling. The lesson to learn here (and I guess the same is true with G80 in that respect) is to expect the unexpected with this generation of graphics hardware.
BFG makes it clear that this card requires you to supply your own internal or external watercooling kit in order to cool the card – it’s a part of the system requirements on the card’s product page. The company also makes it very clear that it won’t honour the warranty if you try running the card without a watercooling loop attached to it.
Believe me, we’ve heard stories of people not realising that you need to buy a watercooling kit in addition to the cost of the card, and have tried running the card without any cooling at all. I think you can imagine what happened next...
If your watercooling kit uses different sized tubing, there is support for any barb type providing it uses the G1/4 BSPP thread type. You’ll notice that the barbs can be fitted on either side of the card, thanks to Danger Den’s design which incorporates a pair of removable stoppers. It also makes connecting a pair of BFGTech watercooled 8800 GTX’s in SLI easy, as you can route directly between the two cards with very little hassle.
The main portion of the cooling design is manufactured from a large slab of copper carefully sculpted in a way that, combined with the black Delrin (polyoxymethylene - Wiki
) cover, makes the card look incredibly bad ass. The slab of copper is an all-in-one solution that not only covers the GPU and memory on the card. It also covers the PWM circuitry next to the pair of power connectors at the far end of the card, along with keeping NVIDIA’s NVIO chip cool at the opposite end of the card.
NVIDIA’s reference air cooler on both the GeForce 8800 GTX and GeForce 8800 GTS takes up a pair of slots – BFGTech’s watercooled card only has a single slot bracket on the rear because the cooling solution is also only single slot. This will allow you to install another add-in card right next to it, without impeding the airflow around the card (since it doesn’t require any).
For the purposes of our review, we used Corsair’s excellent Nautilus 500 with its standard 3/8” tubing – we believe that it is one of the best out of the box watercooling solutions out there. Obviously, with different cooling implementations, your experiences may vary; for example, if you’re cooling the CPU, GPU and motherboard chipset, you’re probably not going to achieve the same kind of temperatures we’ve achieved during our testing.