Efficient cooling systems, which the user had to assemble himself from ready-made components, appeared about ten years ago. Enthusiasts could equip not only the processor with water blocks, but also other components, including the chipset, VRM module, and even video cards with drives. The liquid that carried heat away from the heating elements of the system by the circulation pump was eventually cooled by a couple of large low-speed fans, which made it possible to reduce the noise level of the PC. And if motherboards have not required enhanced cooling for a long time, then powerful graphics accelerators have always been hot-tempered and nothing changes in this regard.
Now it is not difficult to install a liquid cooler on the processor, but replacing a conventional video card cooler with a so-called “full cover” can sometimes lead to both the loss of the device warranty and the failure of the card due to careless installation. Therefore, some manufacturers began to offer video adapters with a pre-installed water block or a combined solution that allows you to safely use the usual air cooling in the absence of a CBO circuit. But is there any point in such products? We will try to answer this question by considering the novelty in the person of the ROG Poseidon GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Platinum Edition video card, which is at the top of the ASUS lineup.
ROG Poseidon GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Platinum Edition
The packaging of the top product of the ROG series has never been modest, and our case is no exception. If desired, you can hide a small laptop in it. The front of the dust jacket proudly reads «ROG Poseidon Platinum GTX 1080 Ti» in case you forgot what you got. There are also notes on support for DirectX 12, GameWorks, Ansel and VRWorks technologies.
The reverse side promises us excellent cooling, which will reduce the temperature by 5 degrees in standard use and by 30 when a water cooling system is connected. It also lists the specifications and location of the video outputs.
Below the top cover panel is a tile of images describing the product’s signature features: cooling, lighting, and software control.
The package bundle cannot be called rich, although this has become the norm even for products of the highest price range. The owner will receive a complete set of various Republic of Gamers stickers, a driver disk, a quick installation booklet, two 2x6pin/8pin power supply adapters, and two Velcro ties for routing wires. Of course, I would like to see several HDMI-DisplayPort adapters or similar ones, but no luck.
Now our eyes are presented to the ROG Poseidon 1080 Ti adapter itself, which has impressive dimensions, including due to its water cooling.
The main feature of ROG Poseidon hybrid cooling is the ability to work both exclusively in “air” mode and when included in the CBO circuit. Airflow is provided by two large 100mm fans with an IP5X dust rating.
The reverse side of the video card is covered with a backplate with an illuminated ROG logo.
The plate performs the protective function in full, but heat dissipation is occupied insofar as it is. The manufacturer should pay attention to the experience of, for example, EVGA, which organizes heat removal from the reverse side of the video chip, from the memory, and from the VRM zone in the latest products.
The profile of the video card is enlarged due to the terminal with two standard CBO ports for G1/4 threaded fittings. The ports are through, two plugs are supplied in the kit — this will allow you to separate the cooling tubes in any convenient way.
Also at the end of the ROG Poseidon is a special Aura Sync RGB lighting zone, which we have not yet seen from any other product in the series.
Inside there are a large number of diodes, creating the appearance of a tunnel that goes deep inside. Naturally, all possible color settings are available, as well as several glow modes: breathing, flashes, color change, color music and color change based on the temperature of the video core.
Two eight-pin connectors located on the outer end of the video card are responsible for connecting the power supply.
It is worth noting that next to the power ports there are points for measuring voltages. It’s nice that the ROG series has not lost its hardcore overclocking elements.
Instead of the standard set of three DisplayPort 1.4 and one HDMI 2.0b, the manufacturer decided to install two DP and HDMI, as well as add the still current DVI-D. This configuration simplifies the connection of VR headsets and does not require additional adapters.
The ROG Poseidon GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cooling system, as already mentioned, is hybrid and is a kind of sandwich from the evaporation chamber with a tube pressed into it for the passage of liquid, a radiator soldered to the evaporation chamber, and a casing with fans. This arrangement, ideally, should allow efficient cooling of the video card in both use cases.
The evaporation chamber, in addition to the video core itself, is in contact with the video memory through a soldered plate and thermal pads. A small heat sink plate is located in the VRM area and transfers the removed heat to the radiator. It is not clear why the manufacturer did not begin to bring a channel for CBO here, because batteries are one of the main sources of heating. Two heat pipes are designed to distribute heat over the entire area of the radiator. While evaporative chamber cooler configurations usually don’t carry a lot of heatpipes, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti’s heatpack is not small and could have more.
The heatsink is quite massive, but it does not go beyond the dimensions of the printed circuit board, which means that its area is smaller than, for example, the Strix cooler.
The printed circuit board is a non-reference design and is identical to the Strix GTX 1080 Ti model. On the one hand, this is not bad, because this is a top-end PCB with maximum capabilities, and on the other hand, we are used to the fact that a model with a Platinum prefix stands out among other products.
Eleven gigabytes of GDDR5X video memory is made up of Micron chips marked 7CA77 D9VRL. The place for the twelfth chip is empty and reminds of the existence of the Titan XP card. Well, the heart of this monster, of course, is the GP102-350-K1-A1 video chip.
12 phases are responsible for power, 10 of which work with the graphics core, and two more provide video memory.
The reverse side of the board does not carry any particularly remarkable elements, so we will not focus on it.
On the side of the PCB, in addition to connectors for its own cooling and lighting, there is also a block for connecting an external RGB diode strip and two more four-pin ports for connecting fans. Thus, the ROG Poseidon Platinum GTX 1080 Ti will allow you to create a kind of ecosystem through the capabilities of its software, tying additional lighting and fans to its operating mode.
The video card has several frequency profiles, which are switched through the ASUS GPU Tweak II utility. The standard mode is called Gaming Mode and provides for a base core clock of 1594 MHz and a Boost Clock of 1708 MHz. Our instance initially worked in OC Mode. The frequencies declared by the manufacturer in OC mode are 1620-1733 MHz. The actual frequency of the graphics core in stock and with air cooling was 1911 MHz and 5508 MHz for video memory. At the same time, the fans were spinning up to 67%, which, according to the tachometer, amounted to 1613 rpm. The temperature has stabilized at around 75 ° C, which you will agree is not enough. Yes, this is almost 10 degrees less than that of the reference model, but the video card cannot be called quiet even in stock.
Overclocking and raising the TDP limit to 120% made it possible to achieve stable frequencies in 1987/6107 MHz. At the same time, the temperature increased to 79 °C, and the cooler speed reached 77%, that is, 1833 rpm. This mode of use is unlikely to be comfortable or even acceptable for lovers of silence.
The inclusion of the ROG Poseidon GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Platinum Edition in the water cooling circuit has dramatically changed the current picture. The core frequency in stock mode was 2000 MHz, which is almost a hundred more than air mode. At the same time, the core temperature was only 50 ° C, and the air cooler did not even deign to turn on.
Given the frequencies in the drain, it becomes more and more difficult to talk about overclocking. We managed to reach 2091 MHz, but the Time Spy package from the 3DMark benchmark stubbornly refused to pass, despite the fact that all other test applications did not reveal any problems. But, in fairness, we had to lower the frequency of the video core to an absolutely stable 2038 MHz, the memory frequency was 6107 MHz. At the same time, the temperature increased by only two degrees — up to 52 ° C, and the fans continued to be silent, because they are connected only when they reach 55 degrees Celsius.
Note that, starting from the 9th series and up to now, the overclocking potential of NVIDIA video cards depends on the success of a particular chip instance and, to a lesser extent, on operating temperatures, but not on the number of phases or a reinforced element base.