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Water-cooling has never been widely spread on the market because of implementation complexity, low cost-efficiency, doubtful reliability as well as some other reasons. For more than two decades air cooling has been the major way to cool down parts of computers. Now that central processing units, graphics chips and some other PC components work at high speeds and incorporate tens of million transistors, some companies pay more and more attention to alternative means of cooling, such as vapor compression cycle method used in refrigerators, heat-pipes and notorious water-cooling.

Every year there are more and more companies to offer us cooling solutions based on one of the mentioned techniques. Today we can buy “ready-to-go” water-cooling case and do not need to create such thing ourselves. Moreover, some companies supply their add-on cards with water-coolers already installed!

One of the first pioneers to bring graphics cards with water-cooler installed was a company called 3DPower. Its Poseidon GeForce3, however, has never been widely available in the market, while the company itself vanished into oblivion. Another loud presentation of water-cooled graphics card took place this Summer: the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra graphics card working at 500+/950MHz for GPU/memory is available now from Gainward.

Apparently, ATI’s biggest partner Sapphire Technology also does not want to be behind its rivals and is considering possibilities to launch water-cooled RADEON graphics card. The company teamed up with Koolance – one of the world’s well-known producers of high-end coolers – to bring you something ultimate.

Sapphire supplies RADEON series of graphics cards, including the highest-end RADEON 9800 XT model, with passive heat-pipe based coolers for those, who prefer extremely quiet computers. Water-coolers may allow increasing overclockability of certain graphics cards from Sapphire while maintaining very quiet operation – something enthusiasts may be tremendously interested in.

At Comdex trade-show Sapphire demonstrated a concept model of its RADEON 9800-series product with water-cooler installed. The company does not say anything concrete in regards the device, e.g., pricing or timeframes; but, at least, we now know that the firm is working in the direction.

There are more pictures of Sapphire RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB with prototype water-cooling at FiringSquad.


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