The Card, Prep and Installation
Here we have our victim, my ZOTAC 9800GTX. Nothing too fancy here, but it's enough to put a good test on the IXG-80HA2 and IXG 3F2 combo.
This side of the 9800GTX gives you a good idea of the amount of screws that need to be removed to take the stock cooler off. Not only do you have to get all the ones seen on the PCB, but there are a couple of screws hiding on the bracket as well. Careful removing the stock cooler, the fan lead is really short. You may need a pair of needle nosed pliers to aide in disconnecting it.
Fast forward through some tedious unscrewing and cleaning leaves me at this stage. The stock cooler has been removed along with the thermal grease NVIDIA supplies on their GPU's. Also be sure to take your time with the cleaning; it has been my experience that good preparation is essential to getting the RAM sinks to stay on for the duration of ownership. Lack of doing so will leave you disappointed as the sinks fall off later under normal use.
After carefully reading through the instructions once, I prepped my card with placing the heat sinks and foam pads as directed. Note the two outer IC's are covered in foam. This is to allow the cooler to extend where it needs to be without clashing with a RAM sink. You can see I covered the voltage regulation and other vital components as well, as the GTX2xx plate obviously isn't designed for this application.
From here we continue the preparations, this time installing the bolts used to pass through the PCB in the correct location of the base. Then, just slip a red washer into place to protect the PCB from abrasion.
Something to note is that I used the large bolts to aide in imagery, but I switched to the smaller versions for the installation as directed to use.
The black tape style washers are made to stick down to the top of the PCB, again to avoid abrasions from the springs on the screws from possibly doing any other sort of damage as well.
This is the result from my contact test. As you can see, there is contact of the TIM on only the center three pipes with naked core style GPU's. For a five pipe contact pattern you will need a card that has an IHS on it like the G80 series 8800 cards.
Fast forward a little more and we have the IXG-80HA2 installed on my 9800GTX. Something to note is at this point I noticed just a slight bit of flex starting to happen to the PCB, so I stopped screwing the mounting screws at this point and continued on.
Here is a shot of why SilenX says to put the foam pads on those two IC's. The way the pipes exit the base would otherwise make the clearance needed from a heat sink to clear impossible to fit under the base. You can easily see also the flex that is placed on this card from the IXG-80HA2.
As this angle plainly shows, the IXG-80HA2 is no joke when it comes to overall size. The IXG-80HA2 is almost as long as the 9800GTX and does a nice job of leaving a good amount of room for mounting the fans in one fan, two fan, or three fan configurations. One last thing that needs to be pointed out is that the pipe nearest where you connect the SLI bridges is slightly in the way. This will lead the buyer to possibly needing longer, flexible SLI bridges as well.
The same image here, just this time I have installed all three 80mm fans to give another perspective of how the IXG-80HA2 functions in full form. Notice that the card is well divided by these fans; one dead centre and one on either end to keep all the components cooler and address direct cooling on both heat sink plates supplied for the GTX2xx cards.