A couple of weeks ago a rather large package arrived at our door with the tagline of “graphics card” attached.  Hmm, usually they aren’t THIS big I thought…

ECS Ships 9800 GTX+ Hydra - Water Cooler SLI - Graphics Cards  1

Notice the BFG GeForce GTX 280 card in front of the ECS Hydra GeForce 9800 GTX+ box; that should give you some kind of sense of scale. 

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Opening up the box we see all the goodness that makes up the ECS Hydra package.  Included are two 9800 GTX+ graphics cards with some custom water cooled and active-fan cooled heatsinks, a Thermaltake BigWater 760 IS internal water cooling system and the appropriate fluids, connections and clamps. 

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The GeForce 9800 GTX+ cards are 55nm G92 GPUs that were initially previewed by us in mid-June as an answer to the AMD HD 4800 series of graphics cards.  Notice that the cards are still dual slot designs so you don’t really save any case or motherboard spacing by switching to this water cooled solution.

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The Hydra-branded Thermaltake BigWater 760IS is a self-contained water cooling kit that we are pretty familiar with.  It integrates the radiator, fan, pump and reservoir into a tight little package that rests inside a pair of 5.25″ bays in your chassis. 

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Out the back of the BigWater are a pair of Y-split tube, one labeled for in and one for out.  By simply attaching these to the corresponding in/out tubing on the two graphics cards and clamping it all down you will be up and running with a water cooled SLI graphics configuration!

I was a little disappointed to find out that these 9800 GTX+ GPUs are only running at stock settings out of the box: 738 MHz core clock, 1100 MHz memory clock and 1836 MHz shader clock.  Obviously with some water cooling going on I expected to see these cards pushed a bit further by the manufacturer but if nothing else you can always overclock them yourself.  Pricing is set to be $549 in the US this month setting it up as a strong contender with the likes of the GTX 280 and HD 4870 X2.  

We will obviously have a full review of the ECS Hydra GeForce 9800 GTX+ up very soon – so check back!