Lets not worry about cost for now, just the best solution to keep my HD4850 cool. Right now I'm leaning towards the EK fullcover block which comes to about $120USD shipped. The DD fullcover block is $130 @ NCIX + taxes/shipping and I don't really think it's worth that much...
And then there's the classic way of a GPU only block + RAM sinks, but I think the tubing to do that would kinda be a bit more difficult and I'd most likely lose my side fan which is needed to keep airflow coming to the GPU IMO. Unless of course I used 90 degree fittings on it.
Full-cover is the best way to go... but I must ask: why water-cooling? Noise issue? Full-blown cooling performance with a voltmod? I'm asking since the 4870s I had both had modified profiles that raised the fan speed to 35% and that took care of the heat problem, even under load.
Well the 4850 cooler is no where near as efficient as the 4870 one. Anything past 50% fan speed I can hear, but I have a window A/C unit so...
Once winter rolls around, I'd imagine that 50% fan speed is going to be a lot more audible and it only keeps the card just under 80C at load and 60C at idle. I wouldn't say my PC overall is silent though, it's quite audible.
And yeah, I'd probably give the pencil mod a shot. I'm no good with a soldering iron though so I wouldn't be putting VRs and what not.
One more thing, I guess my MCR220 is going to be pushing it a bit with my X3350 (Q9450)? I have push/pull P12s on it though.