MSI N280GTX OC HydroGen

A Closer Look

The waterblock is held on with 8 screws, 4 round head and 4 cap head style screws all with hex key fitting. Underneath the screws are plastic washers to prevent any shorting of the PCB. The block came away with relative ease once the screws were removed and I am pleased to report that the block made good contact with the GPU. Rather than opt for thermal tape, as used on the SLI chip and VRM’s,  MSI used the same paste on the memory as they used on the GPU.

Cap head Block removed

Block Contact

The main block is a 4 part setup with each section screwed to the main slab of copper. The top (as expected) is removable via a further four screws which then reveal the main section of copper. The section directly above the GPU is a very well machined fin design which increases the surface area being cooled significantly. This should serve to dissipate heat more efficiently than a flat section.

Inside Block Fins

Strangely MSI have seen fit to add a separate memory plate, again attached by screws, instead of milling the plate into the block. Why MSI did this is beyond me as all it serves is to create another layer for heat to be transfered through.The top cover which channels the water is a masterpiece in milling. The channels are superbly engineered with very few mill marks and no rough edges to be found. The inlet/outlet holes that lead to the Delrin barb housing are a little restrictive but not excessively so. My main concern is the the way the block will channel the water through the fins which, if the EK Supreme which has a similar design, is anything to go by will restrict flow even more.

Top Block Ram plate

Another little irritation of the block is the barb spacing. Those who wish to use 1/2 outside diameter barbs will find that the spacing is very tight. This shouldn’t however, be a problem for those who use the 3/8 barbs.
Opening Barbs
No one can deny that this is one serious looking piece of equipment. The engraved, aluminium inserts do not come into contact with the water so galvanic corrosion won’t be a problem and minor issues aside, which may/may not affect performance, the block could easily dethrone the very popular EK, Aquacomputer and XSPC if for nothing else but for its looks. Aesthetics however, mean nothing in the world of water-cooling if the block does not have the performance to match. Let’s find out if the MSI 280GTX OC HydroGen is indeed a sheep in wolf’s clothing…