5 Best NVIDIA RTX 3080 WaterBlocks to Buy In 2021

If you’re lucky enough to be able to snag the cream of the crop when it comes to gaming graphics cards, the RTX 3080, you might be just fine with running that beast as it is in your gaming rig. There does exist, however, a particular group of enthusiasts looking for the absolute best when it comes to thermals and performance. Yes, the gamers who are dedicated enough to establish and maintain custom water-cooling loops in their gaming PCs. If you’re looking to incorporate the brand new RTX 3080 into your custom loop, you need an RTX 3080 water block to go along with it.

Now, there are several blocks on the market but the most critical thing about water blocks is compatibility. Waterblocks do not offer a lot of tolerances and are generally tailor-made for one specific PCB design. As we know, this time around, Nvidia’s Founder’s Edition PCBs are not the same as their Reference Design PCBs, which is unlike anything they have done before. The Founder’s Edition cards for the RTX 3000 series from Nvidia now use custom, shorter PCBs with different component choices and placement as compared to the Reference PCB designs. This means that the customer has to know the difference between a water block designed for the Founder’s Edition card, and one that is designed for the Reference PCB.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into our picks for the Top 5 RTX 3080 Waterblocks for your custom water-cooled PC.

1. Bitspower Classic VGA Waterblock (Founder's)

Premium Founder's Edition Block

Pros

  • Compatibility with Founder's Edition
  • Advanced Fin Design
  • Beautiful Lighting
  • Included Aluminum Backplate

Cons

  • Relatively High Price

1 Reviews

PCB Compatibility: Founder's Edition | Materials: Plexi/Copper/Aluminum | Thread: G1/4 inch x 4 | Lighting: D-RGB

The Bitspower Classic VGA Waterblock is our pick for the Founder’s Edition PCB of the RTX 3080. For any of you rocking a Founder’s Edition RTX 3080, this is the water block to pick for your custom loop setup. Bitspower has included a host of interesting features in this block that make it a fantastic performer both in terms of thermals but also in terms of aesthetics.

Firstly, the block covers the full length of the card which is to be expected from a custom water block. Premium materials have been used in the construction of the block such as Nickel and Chromium plated Copper baseplate that increases the endurance and longevity of the copper metal in the baseplate. Moreover, the top of the block is made from high-quality acrylic and gives a very premium overall feel to the block. Bitspower has gone ahead and included a Bitspower Digital RGB LED Strip inside the acrylic block to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

Speaking of the aesthetics, the block looks phenomenal at least to our subjective aesthetic sense. There are no rough or sharp channels inside the acrylic and all the water conduits are embedded seamlessly into the acrylic so it does not give a “busy” look to the front of the block. Moreover, the RGB adds a cherry on top of the overall look of the block, and it can be controlled by a whole slew of RGB software like ASUS Aura, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, MSI Mystic Light among others. Bitspower has also included an Aluminum backplate to make the backside of the block look a bit cleaner and sharper.

The nickel and chromium plated copper base plate is the real star of the show when talking about the thermal performance of the Bitspower block. Not only does it expand the surface area to increase efficient thermal transfer, but it also includes a large number of small copper fins to aid in the overall heat transfer from the GPU die, memory modules, and VRM components.

Overall though, the Bitspower Classic VGA Water Block for the RTX 3080 Founder’s Edition does not disappoint. The only gripe we have with the block is its steep price which may not be attractive to a lot of customers. However, it is not as unreasonable as some of the other entries in our list.

2. EKWB EK-Quantum Vector Waterblock

Simple yet Elegant from EK

Pros

  • High Performance
  • Simple and Sleek Aesthetics
  • Elegant Lighting
  • Great for Minimalistic Builds

Cons

  • Very High Price

3 Reviews

PCB Compatibility: Reference | Materials: Plexi/Copper | Thread: G1/4 inch x 4 | Lighting: D-RGB

EK is one of the most premium and trusted water-cooling brands currently working in the consumer PC space. Their fanbase often swears by their build quality, compatibility, and ease of maintenance. The premium offering from EK for the RTX 3080 is the EKWB EK-Quantum Vector RTX 3080 Waterblock which is specifically designed with the Reference PCBs in mind. This block will not work with any Founder’s Edition cards due to the custom PCBs that Nvidia has installed inside the Founder’s Edition RTX 3000 series cards this time around.

The EKWB EK-Quantum Vector block is a really premium and well-built offering that combines high performance with sleek and minimalistic aesthetics to complement a unique custom water-cooled build. EK claims that the base of the block is CNC machined out of high-grade electrolytic copper and we have no reason to doubt that claim. In fact, the EK block contains the most amount of copper we have seen in any of the blocks in our roundup. Apart from the copper, the top of the block is CNC machined out of glass-like high-grade case Acrylic.

Aesthetically, the block takes a minimalistic approach to design which looks phenomenal. A large amount of copper inside the block can be seen through the clear acrylic and gives the block a really premium look. Moreover, EK has opted to put the fittings away from the face of the block, and the minimalistic EK logo on the bottom right corner of the block as well, which gives a really nice look to the block especially if it’s mounted vertically. D-RGB lighting is integrated well into the EK-Quantum Vector and that is addressable via a large number of motherboard synchronization software.

Performance-wise, we expect no less than the best from EK. The contact area is enlarged by a large number of tiny copper micro-fins which help in heat dissipation not only from the GPU but also from the memory modules and the VRM components. The block does not come with a retention backplate, however, and EK recommends the purchase of that separately to improve a bit on passive cooling

All in all, the EKWB EK-Quantum Vector is one of the best water blocks on the market for the RTX 3080 Reference PCBs. The quality comes at an incredibly high price premium though, as the EK Block is by far the most expensive block in our roundup therefore it is knocked down to second place by the offering from Bitspower.

3. Alphacool Ice Block Aurora Plexi GPX-N

An Affordable All-Rounder

Pros

  • Complex Two Path Design
  • Thin Block
  • Competitive Pricing

Cons

  • May not match minimalistic builds
  • Marginally worse build quality than EK

17 Reviews

PCB Compatibility: Reference | Materials: Plexi/Copper | Thread: G1/4 inch x 4 | Lighting: D-RGB

One of the finest blocks from Alphacool, the Ice Block Aurora GPX-N GPU Waterblock for the Reference RTX 3080 makes the list at third place. Not only does this block provide excellent cooling for the power-hungry RTX card, but it is also one of the most competitively priced blocks in our roundup. It may not be the most premium in terms of build quality or deliver the lowest temperatures, but it does aim to hit that perfect price-to-performance sweet spot.

Aplhacool’s Ice Block Aurora GPX-N Waterblock combines aggressive styling with a complicated design to improve cooling performance. The main baseplate is indeed made of Nickel-plated copper and the top is made from acrylic as well just like the other blocks. What differentiates the Alphacool offering from the other blocks is its complex water channeling system, where Alphacool has gone with a unique two-path design that helps to cool all the components on the PCB more efficiently. Alphacool has also shrunk down the thickness of the block to improve aesthetics as well as thermals.

As far as the looks of the blocks go, there is nothing particularly fancy about the look of the acrylic design on the block. It is certainly a bit too cluttered to fit minimalistic builds with a lot of channels and turns that distract from the water flow and simple block aesthetic. Alphacool has, however, implemented a beautiful lighting system that looks better than most other blocks out there. The core components behind that RGB are a series of addressable digital RGB LEDs that are inserted directly into the cooling block and run along the side of the entire block to efficiently disperse the light through the water. This gives some beautiful lighting effects especially if the card is mounted vertically.

The Aorura GPX-N Block is an efficient all-rounder that delivers on performance, build quality as well as aesthetics with no major drawbacks. It may not be as premium as the EK offering or look as good as the Bitspower option, but it delivers all the essentials in a package that costs less than both of those blocks. The pricing is the main attraction of the Alphacool block, and it certainly should be a consideration for anyone looking to put their Reference PCB RTX 3080 under a custom water-cooling loop.

4. Bitspower Classic VGA Waterblock (Reference)

Another High-Quality Reference block

Pros

  • Decent Compatibility
  • Advanced Fin Design
  • Included Aluminum Backplate

Cons

  • Very High Price
  • No Compatibility with ASUS MSI or Gigabyte yet

2 Reviews

PCB Compatibility: Reference | Materials: Plexi/Copper/Aluminum | Thread: G1/4 inch x 4 | Lighting: D-RGB

The second Bitspower entry in our roundup is specialized for the Reference PCB instead of the Founder’s Edition one. The Bitspower Classic VGA Waterblock for RTX 3080 Reference Design brings some changes from the other Bitspower block due to the structural changes in the PCBs that the two blocks are tailored for. This particular GPU Block has been designed with the Reference PCB in mind and has been tested to fit on Galax/ZOTAC/Colorful/Palit GeForce RTX 3080 graphics cards.

Similar to the first Bitspower offering, the Classic VGA Waterblock for Reference PCBs also uses a copper baseplate which has been nickel and chromium-plated to improve its endurance and longevity. The top is still made from acrylic, however, the build quality of the acrylic seems to vary between the two models. Bitspower has still included an Aluminum Backplate with this block as well, which is a nice touch at this price point.

Aesthetically, the Bitspower Classic VGA Waterblock takes a step back from the beautiful minimalistic designs and gorgeous straight lines that we have seen in other blocks so far. The Bitspower block goes for a more straight-forward, no-frills look which does not subjectively look as good as some of the other offerings in this roundup. The D-RGB implementation is still present and does look quite nice when it is synchronized with the rest of the custom loop. Many motherboard synchronization software such as ASUS Aura, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, and MSI Mystic Light, etc. can be used to sync the lighting to other parts of the build.

The Bitspower Classic VGA Waterblock for Reference PCBs has a glaring disadvantage that knocks it down to fourth place in our roundup. While it has been certified for reference PCBs, it has not yet been tested to work with reference cards from ASUS, MSI, or Gigabyte which are the industry’s leading graphics card manufacturers at least in the US. All in all, the Bitspower Classic VGA Waterblock for Reference PCBs is a good option if it fits your particular reference card and your budget.

5. Alphacool Eisblock Aurora Plexi GPX-N

Good Block, Disappointing Price

Pros

  • Thin Block
  • Included Backplate

Cons

  • Relatively High Price
  • Included Backplate Does not Look Good
  • Aplhacool IceBlock can be had for Cheaper

2 Reviews

PCB Compatibility: Reference | Materials: Plexi/Copper/Aluminum | Thread: G1/4 inch x 4 | Lighting: D-RGB

And our last pick of the day is the Alphacool Eisblock Aurora Plexi GPX-N RTX 3080 Waterblock with Custom Backplate, which is another Alphacool block that fits the Reference PCBs from Nvidia. This Waterblock is essentially just a rebranded and refreshed block of the same design that we mentioned earlier, but with a custom backplate included as well.

Alphacool’s marquee feature for this block is the inclusion of the custom backplate, which is a nice inclusion over the standard Alphacool block, but considering that offerings from Bitspower already include an Aluminum backplate with their standard blocks makes this a dull product in comparison. That is not to say that the Alphacool Eisblock is bad in any way. The block still features most of the good qualities that were found in the Alphacool Ice Block without a Backplate, such as the nickel-plated copper baseplate with micro-fins, and the thin acrylic top with dual-channel water conduits.

Aesthetically, the biggest change is the backplate which features a custom design that we are not quite fond of. The design takes away from the elegance and simplicity of water blocks and we believe Alphacool should’ve included a plain aluminum backplate instead. However, compared to the offering from Bitspower, the Alphacool Eisblock with backplate is significantly cheaper.

The standard Ice Block without a backplate is even cheaper than this one though, and it is up to the user to decide whether or not the backplate justifies the extra cost and does it even fit into the aesthetic of their build. This could be a great value purchase for some and a total waste of money for others.

Usman Saleem
Usman is a hardcore tech enthusiast and hardware geek with a passion for PC Gaming and the PC Hardware industry. What started with flash games in a browser window, led to an undying love for the technology behind PC Gaming and the hardware that drives it.