How To How to install the Bykski Radeon VII full-cover block

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
19,370
8,159
136
Hi! Some of you might have a Radeon VII and be thinking, "gee, I wish I had a waterblock for this card". Then you might see noise about Bykski's full-cover waterblock being the best one out there in terms of performance.

But those instructions! They're all in Chinese or . . . something. Mine were in English, but they only pertained to blocks for cards I did not own. Seriously. Like, 4 different block types and . . . mine didn't match any of them.

I'm here to help. Since I've got installation of one of these blocks fresh in my head, I'll let you in on how to install one. No pics necessary. It'll be obvious once you get down to business.

Setup

Make sure you have some small Phillips head screwdrivers. And a Torx T8 screwdriver. You can find Torx bits in various small screwdriver kits. I got one in a kit from Wal-mart that also had a lot of small Phillips heads. This relatively-cheap kit got me through:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Hyper-Tough-TS99818A-44-Piece-Precision-Screwdriver-Set-with-Case/17190613

Also you need some 91% isopropyl alcohol and some coffee filters. I got a plastic putty knife as well, but it turned out I didn't need it.

Step one

Remove the stock cooler! I followed a teardown video for instructions. Try this one:


You need Torx T8 for the backplate and Phillips for the rest, as seen in the video. Note that there are two power connector's you'll have to remove, not just the one you see in the vid.

Step two

Remove the graphite pad from the die. I used my fingernail (really) to scoop up the graphite pad. It's pretty soft. Then I used 91% IPA (no, not India Pale Ale) + coffee filters to swab up the remaining bits. Swab towards the center of the HBM/GPU cluster, since you don't want that graphite pad getting on any of the uh . . . are those resistors? Whatever they are. Around the GPU. Okay? Okay. Also peel off the stock thermal pads since you will probably want to use the ones included with your Bykski block. There are four large strips you will cut into little bits real soon now.

Step three

There are multiple grooves molded into the Bykski block that line up with the thermal pads you just removed from the card VRMs. Take the thermal pads that shipped with your Bykski block and:

1). Cut them into smaller pieces that fit inside the grooves
2). Remove the clear plastic strips from one side
3). Press them into the grooves

Do not apply the thermal pads directly to the VRMs! Put them in the block, trust me. Leave the other side covered in plastic until you are ready for installation.

Step four

Apply thermal paste (or a new thermal pad) to the GPU/HBM area. The resin coating between the individual dice is safe to coat, so go ahead and coat the entire area. I used Kryonaut. You can use the included paste if you like. If you are going to use liquid metal, now is a good time to stop and coat the resistors (??) above and below the HBM/GPU area with clear nail polish. Let it dry before you do anything else. Then apply the LM.

Step five

Remove the plastic strips from all the thermal pads you applied to your Bykski block in step three. Put the block on a flat surface with the GPU/HBM contact surface facing up, and lower the PCB of the video card onto the block, using the screw holes to line everything up carefully. Press firmly and evenly across the PCB and across the underside of the block to make sure that the thermal pads adhere well. That should tack the two sides together somewhat. Then use one hand to support the card from underneath the block (it will be nearly impossible to get it to lie flat at this point) and insert one spring screw into one of the 8 positions around the GPU/HBM area. Make sure you put on a clear plastic washer for every spring screw! Tighten it only enough so that it won't jump back out of the hole.

Note on liquid metal

Some liquid metal will drip off the bare dice of the GPU/HBM if you hold the PCB upside down. You'll have to line it up by holding the PCB face up above your head while you lower the block onto the PCB. Kinda awkward, but that liquid metal can get really runny, especially if you use CLP or Conductonaut. CLU/Phobya not so much.

Repeat this process for the other 7 holes around the GPU/HBM area, though by this point you may be able to use two hands since, with one screw installed, the block and PCB won't separate easily. Try to install them on opposing sides, and don't tighten them down too hard at this point.

Once all 8 of those screws are installed, line up the backplate to see which three holes in the PCB and block will line up with the backplate. You will notice three. Don't put spring screws in those holes! Leave them empty. Try to install all the rest of the spring screws. I had enough to fill every hole that matched the block but one (plus the three holes that line up with the backplate). You will wind up with some unused holes in the PCB. It's just a "feature" of the block (ha ha).

Once all the spring screws are installed, carefully tighten them until your cheap Phillips head screwdriver starts to skip out of the screw instead of tightening it. If it feels like you need to push down really hard to continue tightening the screw, stop. That's enough. Pay special attention to tightening the screws around the GPU/HBM on opposing sides (top, bottom, left, right, top right, bottom left, bottom right, top left; for example) because overtightening one side could crack a die.

Then line up the backplate and use three of the many provided backplate screws to attach it to the block through the PCB.

You will have a lot of left over washers, and some unknown amount of unused white plastic spacers. I did not use the spacers. Use them at your own risk.

Aaaaaand you're done!
 
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EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,887
790
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I feel like water is a must with this card. Don't own one but from what I've seen and heard it's a loud and hot sum beach.

Having recently installed a FC block on Vega, I can appreciate the effect a properly installed block can have on a hot card. Near silent operation is a plus, too.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
19,370
8,159
136
Radeon VII is indeed toasty. It is much happier under water. I still haven't figured out how far mine will go, but right now I'm getting crazy low temps.
 

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