EK's backplate water block turns your GPU into a liquid-cooled sandwich

EK water blocks active backplate cooling solution installed on a graphics card
(Image credit: EK)

EK has announced a brand new active cooling backplate during its EK EXPO at CES 2021, one which allows even the rear of your GPU PCB to be kept cool with liquid.

EK suggests its new cooler would be a decent fit for Nvidia's RTX 3090 graphics cards, as these come with double-sided GDDR6X memory in order to offer its mighty 24GB overall capacity. Those chips require cooling as much as any other, so why not have it look as good as the GPU block?

EK says that the cooling potential that backplate cooling offers isn't just limited to what's actually stuck to the rear of the PCB: a few memory chips, maybe, and some power delivery and electrical components. The PCB's many layers of copper traces act as a "huge heatsink" and therefore cooling it can even help lower overall card temps, and butting some thermal pads up against those components can also reduce coil whine.

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Unless you're operating with an unconventional case and riser setup with your GPU, in order to orient it another way, I can also see the active backplate cooling coming as a purely aesthetically led decision. Adding some stunning cooling where your very-visible backplate should be is a braggarts dream, and all us PC gamers fall into that category—don't lie.

We'll have to wait a little longer for all the details, but according to TechPowerUp, the new backplate kit will arrive in either acetal or nickel-plexi options and be available from next month for the RTX 3080/3090 reference PCB designs.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.