Swiftech Komodo R9 LE GPU Water Block
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 11-30-2014
Provided by: Swiftech

When the ATI Radeon R9 290X was released last year, it took reviewers all of about five seconds to determine that heat was an issue. It was not so much that the factory cooler was inadequate, but that AMD opted to implement a default "Quiet" fan mode that would run at a maximum speed of just 40 percent. With such a low fan speed setting, core temperatures could quickly escalate to near boiling temperatures, 95C in fact.

Although AMD claims that temperature poses no threat to the core, at that point the clock speed and voltage begin to throttle in order to keep the core operating below that maximum temperature. A BIOS switch featured on the card allows the user to change to "Uber" mode, which ups the fan speed ceiling to 55%, and does help somewhat but still leaves the performance struggling to maintain a constant output. Of course, manufacturers have since addressed this issue with non-reference cooler designs but where does that leave early buyers of reference cards?

If you're already running a liquid cooling system for your CPU, there is the option of adding a GPU block into the loop. Swiftech recently released their latest GPU block design, the Komodo R9 LE and Komodo NV GTX9, which match the aesthetics of their most recent CPU block we've reviewed, the Apogee XL.

The Komodo blocks feature a full-coverage design and offer similar illumination effects to the Apogee XL with changeable color schemes between red, blue, green and white. The base is manufactured of copper that has been chrome plated instead of the more commonly used nickel and the housing is acetal with a transparent window. Thermal pads for the memory and voltage regulators are pre-installed and an aesthetic brushed aluminum backplate for the rear of the card and a tube of Swiftech's TIM-Mate 2 are included.

Join us for a closer look at the Swiftech Komodo R9 LE GPU block.

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