We have earlier tested the Alphacool Eisblock Aurora Acryl GPX-N RTX 3090/3080 Suprim X with Backplate water block for the MSI GeForce RTX 3080/3090 series graphics cards. This time we are spinning the Alphacool Eisblock Aurora GPX-N Acryl Active Backplate 3080/3090 Suprim X which is to be used in conjunction with the above-mentioned water block.
The backplate is made of nickel-plated copper material and houses an acrylic block on the backside of the plate. The block has an integrated A-RGB LED strip for some vivid illumination. Alphacool has provided thermal pads, rubber covers, and screws for easy installation of the backplate on the card.
The active backplate is listed at €79.99 at the time of review.
MSI GeForce RTX 3080/3090 Gaming X Trio/Suprim X Graphics card. Please check the compatibility information on the Alphacool website or better yet use their GPU Config utility to clear any doubt on the compatibility.
Let’s start taking a closer look at the block.
The active backplate is shipped inside a paperboard packing with minimalistic packaging info. Part no is the critical information there as it will confirm which part it is.
Everything is nicely packed inside the containers.
The complete plate is in glossy/mirror nickel finish which is a high fingerprint magnet. Better handle the backplate wearing some gloves not to leave any fingerprint mark. We are in the midst of changing the photography setup hence I had to take this picture in the standing position to give you a good idea of the actual color or outlook of the active backplate.
The above picture shows the underside of the active backplate. There are 4x raised or protruding surfaces. These make direct contact with the VRAMs located on the backside of the PCB. Obviously, thermal pads sit between them. What is not shown here is the support on the backside of the power delivery circuitry. There are two large in length thermal pads that are to be placed on the right and left sides on appropriate areas to provide heat transfer coverage. I will show them soon below. The complete backplate is made of nickel-plated copper.
Here comes the real deal on this active backplate. We have an acrylic block here. This is the exposed side of the active backplate so this block will be visible to the user. The dimension of the active backplate is 295×127.25×13.3mm (LxHxW).
Looking closely at the block, we have two G1/4” threaded ports on the top. The user can install any fitting supporting G1/4” threads. There is a single black color O-Ring running on the entire boundary of the block to ensure the proper seal. The water channel is also crystal clear with no second-guessing. Coolant flows from one port on a dedicated channel all the way to the other side and goes out from the second port. The block is tested for 0.8 bar pressure and can withstand the operating temperature of 60°C. The block can support up to 16/13mm fittings in a straight layout and up to 19/13 angled fittings.
The block has 6x digital RGB LEDs inside for some vivid illumination.
The cooler also has an inlet and outlet ports on the side suitable for 5/3mm hoses. It is important that you pay attention to the size limitation here.
Alphacool also carries MCX 2x distributor which has 5.3mm hose outlets. Using this part, the active backplate can be integrated into the loop which would save space and provide a simple solution. This option is not viable for the Alphacool Eiswolf 2 AIOs and can only be employed using Eisblock Aurora Acryl/ES Acetal GPX-N GPU custom water coolers.
The above picture shows the port with its protective cap removed. If you are not going this route, then please don’t remove the protective cap as it would be difficult to put it back on in a secure manner. Alphacool has secured these caps using metallic liners from the factory. Also, don’t use excessive force when putting these covers back on as this could tear these and end up leaking. Saying this from my experience. Yes, call me a noob!
As we have mentioned above that this cooler has 6x digital RGB LEDs integrated into the acrylic block. Alphacool has provided proprietary connectors for that. You would need a supported motherboard sync cable or Alphacool RGB controller to control the lighting on the cooler. Since you would be using this active backplate with the Eisblock GPX cooler, you would not need to worry as the GPX cooler comes with the supported motherboard sync cable.
Alphacool has already cut the thermal pads to the required sizes. Each packet has a number coding which would help the user dedicate which pad to use where. The installation guide uses these numbers for reference.
- 2x Screw Plugs
- 2x plugs or Protective Caps for 5/3mm
- 1x Plug Tool
- 8x M2x11 Screws
The installation is a walk in the park.
The stock backplate provided with the Eisblock GPX cooler is already installed on the card. We first removed that backplate.
Next, we properly and thoroughly cleaned the contact surfaces on the active backplate using isopropyl alcohol and cleaned it off. Next, we placed the thermal pads on the backside of the PCB. Yes, I moved differently than what is mentioned in the guide. Either way can work.
Carefully place the cooler on the backside of the card by aligning the holes on the active backplate with the holes on the PCB. Once placed, secure the active backplate using M2x11 screws. That is all. It is done. Ah! My wordings remind me of the scene from Game of Thrones Season 3, where Daenerys Targaryen frees The Unsullied. “Is it done then?”. “It is done”. XD Pun intended.
The above picture shows the overall impact on the width of the graphics card after installing the Eisblock GPX cooler and Active Backplate.
This is my favorite picture. A beauty at sight!
Next up, is the installation of fittings. This is totally up to the user requirements. We are using Alphacool HF Compression TPV Metall 12.7/7.6mm fittings.
Another shot with the fittings installed on the cooler and the active backplate.
Following is the configuration of the loop setup to test the active backplate.
We have used Alphacool’s NexXxos 360 XT 45 v2 radiator. The radiator has a dimension of 400x124x46. The fins are made of copper material with a light black color coating. We can easily see the copper shimmering on the fin assembly. The radiator has 7x G1/4 threaded ports for which Alphacool has provided plugs.
We have used Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM fans on the radiator. This is a perfect combination in our opinion for the optimal performance from a thermal and noise perspective. Salient specifications of the fans are:
|Speed||2000 RPM (±10%)|
|Static Pressure||2.34 mmH₂O|
|Input Power||1.68 W|
|Input Current||0.14 A|
|Operating Voltage||12 V|
|MTTF||> 150,000 MTTF|
We have used Alphacool new reservoir.
Alphacool VPP775 PWM pump.
We have used Alphacool AlphaTube TPV matte black tube 12.7/7.6mm size.
We have used Alphacool HF compression TPV Metall fittings of size 12.7/7.6mm in straight and angled.
Digital RGB Lighting
The Alphacool Eisblock Aurora GPX-N Acryl Active Backplate 3080/3090 Suprim X comes with integrated 6x digital RGB LEDs. We have daisy-chained the Eisblock GPX-N cooler, Active Backplate, and the reservoir and connected them to the JRainbow header on the MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK motherboard. I am in love with the lighting. Here are a few pictures for your eye’s pleasure.
The above video shows the coolant flow through the block.
Following test configuration is used: –
- Intel i7 10700k
- MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK
- T-Force NightHawk RGB 16GB @ 3200MHz
- MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio 24G Graphics Card
- addlink S70 256GB NVMe SSD
- bequiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum PSU
- Thermaltake Core P6 TG Snow Edition converted into an open-frame layout
We have already covered the Alphacool Eisblock Aurora Acryl GPX-N RTX 3090/3080 Suprim X with Backplate. Click here to check that out. In this testing, our focus will be on VRAM temperatures only. We have used the 3DMark Time Spy Extreme stress test. TechPowerUp GPU-Z sensor log is used to record the temperature. The idle temperature reading was taken with the system on idle for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Let’s take a look at the results.
The MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio 24G has an auto fan feature where the fans would stop spinning if the temps are below the 50°C. The result is quite self-explanatory.
The maximum VRAM temperature we saw under stress load was 94°C on the stock cooler which came down to 66°C using the active backplate. We have already covered why using the stock backplate of the Eisblock GPX-N cooler, we did not see any drastic improvement in thermals. Alphacool’s official statement is also provided in the content. You can check our review of the cooler for the graphics card by clicking here.
We have an impressive performance feast from the Alphacool Eisblock Aurora GPX-N Acrylic Active Backplate 3080/3090 Suprim X.
The Alphacool Eisblock Aurora Acrylic GPX-N 3080/3090 SUPRIM X with Backplate is a water block for the supported MSI GeForce RTX 3080 and 3090 graphics cards. Now, Alphacool has released Eisblock Aurora GPX-N Acrylic Active Backplate 3080/3090 Suprim X which can be used in conjunction with the Eisblock cooler.
Why Active Backplate? Nvidia with its 3000 series of graphics cards has implemented VRAMs on the backside of the PCB on high-end models only. This would mean, we need more cooling towards the backside of the PCB as well. We have seen high operating temperatures on these VRAMs (this would vary from model to model, manufacturer to manufacturer, etc). In our case, the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio 24G has seen a maximum VRAM temperature of 96° or 97°C in the past using the stock backplate and cooler.
The manufacturers of water cooling components quickly acted and started releasing active backplates to cope with the high operating temperatures on the VRAM of these graphics cards. The concept is alike the main cooling engine concept for the GPU itself except that we are now water cooling the VRAMs on the backside of the PCB as well as the power delivery circuits.
Coming back to the main topic, Alphacool has also released an active backplate for selected models recently. We got one, we fired it up and it went up beautifully! The dimension of the active backplate is 295×127.25×13.3mm (LxHxW). The thickness of the active backplate is 13.3mm. Combining it with the 25mm thickness of the main Eisblock GPX-N cooler, we have a total of 38.3mm for the integrated cooling solution. Keep in mind that, this figure is without the fittings.
The block on the active backplate is tested for 0.8 bar pressure and can withstand the operating temperature of 60°C. The block can support up to 16/13mm fittings in a straight layout and up to 19/13 angled fittings. The complete backplate is made of nickel-plated copper material whereas the block is made of Acrylic.
The main block has two G1/4” threaded ports. This is one way of integrating the active backplate in the main loop. Alternatively, there are two 5/3mm ports as well which can be used on Alphacool MCX 2X distributor using 5/xmm hoses. This would come in handy if you are building in a compact case that is space constrained. The machining and milling job is perfect and we have a gasket along the boundary of the block to ensure a proper seal. The coolant flow channel is clear and simple.
Alphacool has integrated 6x digital RGB LEDs in the block for some vivid illumination. Alphacool is using proprietary 3-pin connectors for the lighting making it compatible in their ecosystem though I would have loved to see the use of standard 3-pin 5V connectors. Since this active backplate will be used along with the main cooler for the graphics card, the user needs not to be worried as the main cooler has an adapter cable allowing the cable to the motherboard.
Alphacool has provided all sorts of the mounting hardware required to assemble the block. One good thing is that the thermal pads are already cut-to-size and placed inside clear labeled containers making it easier for the user to set up the block in no time.
Eisblock Aurora GPX-N Acrylic Active Backplate 3080/3090 Suprim X is listed at €79.99 at the time of the review. The active backplate serves its purpose in quite a form and function. From 94°C to 66°C is an impressive improvement in the VRAM thermals. Eisblock Aurora GPX-N Acrylic Active Backplate 3080/3090 Suprim X and Alphacool Eisblock Aurora Acryl GPX-N RTX 3090/3080 Suprim X with Backplate are a win-win game for the user as they both work in tandem offer fantastic cooling performance in quite a style. This combo has won our Must-Have award which is equivalent to Editor’s Choice and they come strongly recommended from my side.
We are thankful to Alphacool for giving us the opportunity to review the active backplate.