How to Water Cool a GPU (GPU Water Cooling)

written by jacob tuwiner Jacob Tuwiner

GPU water cooling is only for serious members of the PC Master Race — using water around your PC components is of course risky, but when done properly, it’s a great way to push your components to the limit.

In this guide, we’re going to talk all about water cooling your GPU, and some different GPU water cooling solutions.

Different Types of GPU Water Cooling Solutions

If you decide you want a water-cooled graphics card in your system, whether for their lower noise level or maybe higher overclocked performance, you have to decide which of the many types of GPU water coolers you want to go for.

The options take into account budget, performance, and ease of use.

Built-in Water Coolers

evga aio water cooler

Many mid to high-range graphics cards have models that include AIO (All In One) water cooling solutions.

The company EVGA has a bit of reputation for making this AIO water-cooled graphics cards.

Ranging from the now distant dream that is the Nvidia 10-series cards, EVGA had its GeForce GTX 1070 FTW Hybrid Gaming and GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Hybrid Gaming cards.

This trend still continues with their 20-series card, going all the way up to their GeForce RTX 2080 Ti XC Hybrid Gaming card.

Manufacturers like MSI also offer GPUs with pre-installed water blocks that don’t include a radiator, fan, or tubes.

These cards, such as the MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2080 Sea Hawk EK X, are built for custom water cooling loops so that you aren’t forced to worry about voiding your graphics card’s warranty with a third-party water block.

Third-Party Water Blocks

ek-waterblock

Speaking of third-party water blocks, companies like EK WaterBlocks offer custom water blocks for pretty much any graphics card you could think of.

These water blocks are marketed to custom-loop water cooling enthusiasts and offer a wonderful look alongside amazing performance numbers.

We don’t suggest this solution for anyone new to water cooling, as the expense and risk of damage to your whole computer just isn’t worth it.

Placing a third-party water block on your graphics card requires voiding its warranty, so any damage from there on is all on your hands.

Plus, working with custom loops runs the risk of unforeseen leaks if you don’t hook up and test your system properly, and these can damage many other components in your system.

Though, if you can get it all figured out it’ll look pretty badass, guaranteed.

DIY Liquid Cooling

evga aio water cooler

DIY is one of my favorite words because it usually means cheap. Sometimes cheap is bad, but not always, you’ve just gotta look out for what you’re buying.

DIY liquid cooling used to be a thing of the past.

Thanks to NZXT, however, you can water cool your graphics card in a couple of easy steps.

NZXT’s Kraken G12 Liquid Cooling Bracket allows you to connect any off-the-shelf AIO liquid cooler that has an Asetek style bracket.

Most new water coolers have this type of mounting to account for different socket types.

The bracket simply connects to your graphics card, you attach the AIO to it, then just hook up your radiator as you would a normal water cooler.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend the extra money and effort to buy an AIO water cooler and attach it yourself, ID-Cooling offers a bracket that includes the liquid cooler already.

It’s a pretty good price too, at just over $50USD, as opposed to the $30USD of the NZXT bracket before you even get a water cooler.