Most aftermarket graphics card coolers position the fan(s) on the outside of the heatsink blowing toward the GPU core and circuit board similar to downblowing CPU heatsinks. The Setsugen is the first GPU cooler we've come across that actually does the opposite. It has a single 120mm fan underneath the main fin mass blowing outward through the heatsink (downward in a typical ATX case). This seems like a flawed approach as heat rises so in theory the exhausted air will simply drift back up toward the GPU.
Working with ventilation for over 3 years, I've learned that this is not an issue when you control the airflow in such a small space. As soon as you introduce any means of controlling the airflow, especially this close to the heatsink, the natual airflow in heated air won't really stand a chance even against the slowest fan. The fins are also sitting too tightly to take advantage of the natural rising of heated air.
From what I can see, the cooler design also seems deeply depandant on not using the stock cooling plate, due to the fan's closeness to the PCB aswell as it's air intake-orientation. I wonder if the fan's orientation would have helped cool down the PCB and other parts more efficiently due to the air being forced close along the PCB and heatsinks. I also believe that using the cooling plate might have caused a higher turbulence and thus more noise from the fan, due to the cooling plate blocking a lot of space that would not have been occupied if using the supplied heatsinks. Yes I do indeed agree that the results almost certainly would be a lot hotter VRMs, but I do believe that it's important we give the design a fair trial so to speak. I'm very interested in the results of dropping the cooling plate would be. I'm pretty sure it would be quite good in a HTPC where space is always tight, and where you don't use the hottest or biggest GFX card.
Would you guys be able to do quick re-test to look for a change in the results?
PS. Sorry for the bad english!