Using a Corsair Hydro Series™ H70 on a NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 480

By Jake Crimmins, on April 20, 2011

The Hydro Series H70 is a popular cooler for today's current CPUs. I was already using a H70 to cool my CPU, and I decided to try to mod one to cool my GPU as well. Mounting the H70 onto my GPU should make it run much cooler. In order to mount the H70 onto my GeForce GTX 480, the stock mounting bracket for the H70 needs to be modified.

To make the modified mount as stock looking as possible, I decided to use 20 gauge steel to make the new piece fit on top of the modified H70 bracket. After measuring the mounting holes on the GTX 480 and the outer diameter of the H70, I created a template I could follow. After the template was transferred to the sheet of steel the center hole was drilled with a 2-7/8" hole saw. The next step was drilling out the mounting holes. After drilling all of the holes I used a dremel to roughly cut around the outside line. I made small cuts with metal shears to give it the final shape. All of the surfaces were then filed and sanded smooth.

Custom Bracket

The next step was modifying the stock retention ring to allow my H70 to mount to the card. I had a spare Intel mounting bracket available to use but the AMD bracket will do the same job. All 4 of the tabs needed to be cut off, and after I filed down all of the sharp edges I sanded the entire retention ring.

Whenever using any sort of power tools make sure to wear proper safety equipment

It was finally time to bond the modified H70 retention bracket with the 20 guage steel bracket that I fabricated. I used J-B Kwik epoxy to bond the two brackets together. To ensure good adhesion, I completely sanded both parts. I let the epoxy cure over night, and then sanded down any excess. After sanding down the excess epoxy, I gave the whole thing a quick touch-up with some spray paint to make it look similar to the stock bracket.

Final Mounting bracket

Before mounting the H70 to my GPU, I tested the card with the stock heatsink to get a base line. To put a load on the GPU I used Furmark v1.9, I also used GPUz to make sure the temperature readings were correct. After a few minutes the card was running 85°C, and after 3 hours the card had reached a max temperature of 94°C.

Stock Cooling

I removed the stock cooler that covers just the GPU after letting the card cool down. I then installed four 4-40 machine screws with nuts onto the card. I slipped the custom made bracket over the screws, and put the top nuts in place to keep it from falling off. Lastly I installed the H70 pump and cooling block combo onto the card. The process was very similar to mounting the H70 onto a CPU. I tightened the top nuts down finger tight to avoid damaging the GPU.

Mounting the H70 to the GPU
Click on the image to see a close-up of the Hydro Series H70 installed on the GPU

Within the first few minutes of testing my new Hydro Series H70 cooled GPU, the card was running at 55°C. After three hours of testing, the maximum temperature recorded was still only 60°C. That is a 34°C drop versus the stock cooler on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480! Not only did it give the GPU a significant temperature drop it also substantially lowered the noise level of the entire PC.

H70 GPU Temperature

Overall I was really impressed with how well the Hydro Series H70 was able to cool the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480. The bracket took approximately 45 minutes to fabricate and modify, not including the time for the epoxy and paint to dry. The effort of creating the bracket was well worth the results! I will be able to game for hours on end without my GPU reaching 90°C and have also made my entire system quieter by getting rid of the noisiest fan in my rig.

H70 Installed on GTX 480
The H70 was mounted in the back of the 650D with another H70 on the CPU mounted at the top of the case.