The down and dirty on the hot and bothered ACX 3.0 cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 2, 2016 - 07:10 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, GTX1070, GTX1060, GTX 1080, fail, evga, ACX 3.0

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Checklist time readers, do you have the following:

  • A GTX 1060/1070/1080
  • Which is from EVGA
  • With an ACX 3.0 cooler
  • With one of the model numbers above

If not, make like Bobby McFerrin.

If so, you have a reason to be concerned and EVGA offers their apologies and more importantly, a fix.  EVGA's tests, which emulate the ones performed at Tom's show that the thermal temperature of the PWM and memory was just marginally within spec.  That is a fancy way of saying that in certain circumstances the PWM was running just short of causing a critical thermal incident, also know as catching on fire and letting out the magic smoke.  They claim that this was because the testing focused on GPU temperature and the lowest acoustic levels possible and did not involve measuring the heat produced on memory or the VRM which is, as they say, a problem.

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You have several choices of remedy from EVGA, please remember that you should reach out directly to their support, not NVIDIA's.  You can try requesting a refund from the store you purchased it at but your best bet is EVGA.

The first option is a cross-ship RMA.  Contact EVGA as a guest or with your account to set up an RMA and they will ship you a replacement card with a new VBIOS which will not have this issue and you won't need to send yours back until the replacement arrives.

You can flash to the new VBIOS which will adjust the fan-speed curve to ensure that your fans are running higher than 30% and will provide sufficient cooling to additional portions of the GPU.  Your card will be louder but it will also be less likely to commit suicide in a dramatic fashion.

Lastly you can request a thermal pad kit, which EVGA suggests is unnecessary but certainly sounds like a good idea especially as it is free although requires you sign up for an EVGA account.  Hopefully in the spare seconds currently available to the team we can get our hands on an ACX 3.0 cooled Pascal card with the VBIOS update and thermal pads so we can verify this for you.

This issue should not have happened and does reflect badly on certain factors of EVGA's testing.  Their response has been very appropriate on the other hand, if you are affected then you can get a replacement card with no issues or you can fix the issue yourself.  Any cards shipped, though not necessarily purchased, after Nov. 1st will have the new VBIOS so be careful if you are sticking with a new EVGA Pascal card.

Source: EVGA

Alphacool Launches Expandable Eiswolf AIO GPU Coolers

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 28, 2016 - 12:01 AM |
Tagged: water cooling, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gpu cooler, Alphacool, AIO

Alphacool recently launched an interesting liquid GPU cooling product under its Eiswolf branding. Coming in an AIO kit or as a standalone GPU cooler, the Eiswolf GPX Pro is currently compatible with the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards.

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The Eiswolf GPX is a GPU water block that pairs a removable copper water block with a large aluminum fin stack that passively cools the memory chips and VRM hardware while also feeding some of the heat into the copper block (and then the water loop). Alphacool has custom milled the aluminum to exactly fit the GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 such that users do not need thermal pads for the memory (just a small amount of thermal paste) and only tiny and thin thermal pads for the VRM chips. The GPU block is all copper and houses the pump. A backplate is included and when installed the block hides the card’s PCB behind the aluminum plate with ocool logo. When it comes time to upgrade the graphics card, you can remove the block and only replace the aluminum block that is custom to a specific card, which is nice to see.

The Eiswolf GPX AIO is the kit version and gives users a fully functioning loop. In addition to the Eiswolf GPX GPU cooler, the AIO kit includes a 120mm radiator with two fans in push-pull configuration and tubing with quick disconnects on both tubes. The fan cables are sleeved and the 11/8mm tubing is resistant to kinking. The loop is all copper save for brass fittings. The quick disconnects make it easy to remove the GPU from the system or to expand the loop. Users can add a second GPU (which also gets them a second pump) and/or connect it to the company’s AIO CPU coolers. Of course, it would also be possible to connect it to your custom loop if you wanted.

Alphacool Eiswolf AIO GPU Cooler GTX 1070 Kit.jpg

Reportedly, when running two GPX coolers in a SLI (dual GPU) setup, it is possible to undervolt both pumps to reduce pump noise such that they are near silent.

The ability to expand the AIO loop and to upgrade to newer graphics cards easily makes this an interesting product though I would have liked to see a larger radiator option especially for those wanting to go the dual GPU / dual pump route!

The Alphacool GPX Pro 120 AIO kit is available for 150 Euros (~$164 USD) and the GPX Pro (the cooler Itself) is available for 120 Euros (~$131 USD). Pricing is a bit high, but it has the potentially to have a much longer useable life than other GPU AIOs. I am looking forward to the reviews of this new cooler. I would like to see support for other graphics cards though.

If you are interested in this cooler, Alphacool has a video on YouTube with more information.

Source: Alphacool

Gigabyte Launches GTX 1080 TT With Blower Style Cooler

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 6, 2016 - 03:17 PM |
Tagged: windforce, pascal, nvidia, GTX 1080, gigabyte

Gigabyte is launching a new graphics card with a blower style cooler that it is calling the GTX 1080 TT. The card, which is likely based on the NVIDIA reference PCB, uses a lateral-blower style single “WindForce Turbo Fan” fan. The orange and black shrouded fan takes design cues from the company’s higher end Xtreme Gaming cards and it has a very Mass Effect / Halo Forerunners vibe to it.

The GV-N1080TTOC-8GD is powered by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector and has a 180W TDP. Despite not using more than one external power connector, the card does still have a bit of overclocking headroom (a total of 225W from the PCI-E spec, though overdrawing on the 8-pin has been done before if the card is not locked in the BIOS to not do so heh). External video outputs include one DVI, one HDMI, and three DisplayPorts. I wish that the DVI port had been cut so that the blower cooler could have a much larger vent to exhaust air out of the case with, but it is what it is.

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Out of the box the Gigabyte GTX 1080 TT runs the Pascal-based 2560 CUDA core GPU at 1632 MHz base and 1772 MHz boost. In OC Mode the GPU runs at 1657 MHz base and 1797 MHz boost. The 8 GB of GDDR5X memory is left untouched at the stock 10 GHz in either case. For comparison, reference clock speeds are 1607 MHz base and 1733 MHz boost. As far as factory overclocks go, these are not bad (they are usually at least this conservative).

The heatsink uses three direct contact 6mm copper heat pipes for the GPU and aluminum plates on the VRM and memory chips that transfer heat to an aluminum fin channels that the blower fan at the back of the card uses to push case air over and out of the case. It may be possible to push the card beyond the OC mode clocks though it is not clear how stable boost clocks will be under load (or how loud the fan will be). We will have to wait for reviews on that. If you have a cramped case this may be a decent GTX 1080 option that is cheaper than the Founder's Edition desgin.

There is no word on pricing or an exact release date yet, but I would estimate it at around $640 at launch. 

Also read:

The GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition Review - GP104 Brings Pascal to Gamers

CES 2016: Gigabyte Xtreme Gaming Series GPU with RGB LED Fans (video) @ PC Perspective

Source: TechPowerUp

NVIDIA Bundles Gears of War 4 with GTX 1080 & GTX 1070

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 20, 2016 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, xbox, xbox one, pc gaming, nvidia, GTX 1080, gtx 1070

NVIDIA has just announced that specially marked, 10-series GPUs will be eligible for a Gears of War 4 download code. This bundle applies to GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1070 desktop GPUs, as well as laptops which integrate either of those two GPUs. As always, if you plan on purchasing a GPU due to this bundle, make sure that the product page for your retailer mentions the bundle.

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Also, through the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative, NVIDIA claims that this code can be used to play the game on Xbox One as well. Xbox Play Anywhere allows users to purchase a game on either of Microsoft's software stores, Xbox Store or Windows Store, and it will automatically count as a purchase for the cross-platform equivalent. It also has implications for cloud saves, but that's a story for another day.

The bundle begins today, September 20th. Gears of War 4 launches on October 11th.

Source: NVIDIA

Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming and Xtreme VR Link on the bench

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 20, 2016 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, GTX 1080, GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming Premium, factory overclocked, GIGABYTE Xtreme Engine, vr link

Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming comes with a nice overclock right out of the box, 1759MHz base, 1898MHz boost clock and a small bump to the VRAM frequency to 10.2GHz.  At the push of a button you can add an extra 25MHz to the GPUs clocks assuming you install the bundled GIGABYTE Xtreme Engine which also allows you to manually tweak your settings.  The Package part of the official name indicates that Gigabyte's Xtreme VR Link header panel is included with the card, you can install it in the front of your case to provide easy access to two HDMI connectors and two USB 3.0 ports for a VR headset. 

Pop on over to [H]ard|OCP to see how much more they could get out of the card as well as the effect it had on gameplay.

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"GIGABYTE’s GeForce GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming Premium Pack is one premium package of goodness. Not only have we got one of the fastest GeForce GTX 1080 video cards, but GIGABYTE has thrown in the kitchen sink in this Premium Package with enthusiast oriented gaming as the focus."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Celebrates 30th Anniversary in Style, a limited edition GTX 1080

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 15, 2016 - 02:51 PM |
Tagged: RGB, msi, GTX 1080, EKWB, factory overclocked

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MSI has just turned 30 and to help you join in the festivities they've released a custom GTX 1080 for purchase.  It uses an EK Predator Liquid Cooling Unit, the card is fully covered by a waterblock and a radiator and fan are already attached.  The card comes in a wooden box as a keepsake.

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The card is still two slots high and the GPU is overclocked somewhat, the boost is 1860 MHz.  In addition to the 30th Anniversary and MSI logos on the card, there are of course RGB lights which offer 16.8 million colours controlled by the MSI Gaming App.

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You can check out the full press release here, or the product page here.  Once we spot it on Amazon, Newegg and B&H we will update this post with links and prices.

 

Source: MSI

The Strix strikes again, Asus' ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 7, 2016 - 03:41 PM |
Tagged: GTX 1080 STRIX GAMING, asus, GTX 1080, aerogel

ASUS has updated their GTX 1080 Strix with a few more features than the previous models in this family.  The aesthetics are a bit different but there is more to the card than that, hidden under the front edge of the card are two four pin fan headers which allow you to connect two case fans to the card which will react according to the heat load on the GPU.  The new DirectCU cooler has five copper heatpipes and the PCB has eight-plus-two power-phases.  There are two models, the ROG Strix-GTX1080-A8G-Gaming and the ROG Strix-GTX1080-O8G-Gaming, with core speeds of 1670/1809MHz and 1759/1898MHz respectively.  The Tech Report tested out the first of those two cards, see how it matches up to the competition here.

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"Asus' graphics cards are favorites of ours at TR, so we were excited when the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 landed in our labs. We put it to the test to see whether Asus gave Pascal a good set of wings."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Acer Announces the Predator 21 X Curved Screen Gaming Notebook

Subject: Systems, Mobile | August 31, 2016 - 10:33 AM |
Tagged: 2560x1080, ips, Predator 21 X, notebook, laptop, gaming, curved, acer, kaby lake, GTX 1080, sli

Acer has announced "the world's first notebook with a curved screen", and this panel happens to be attached to a very high-end gaming laptop in the Predator 21 X.

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In addition to the 2560x1080 curved 21-inch display, the new machine also offers Tobii eye-tracking technology, Intel 7th Generation "Kaby Lake" processors, and (last but not least) dual NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPUs in SLI.

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"The Predator 21 X takes the flagship spot in Acer’s gaming notebook series and is advanced beyond anything on the market today. It’s the world’s first notebook to offer a curved 21-inch IPS display (2560 x 1080), and when combined with wide-angle viewing, it delivers a truly immersive gaming experience.

To bring gameplay immersion to the next level, the notebook also integrates Tobii eye-tracking technology for a new method of control that’s more intuitive and natural. Built-in eye-tracking hardware (infrared sensors and software) unlocks a completely new facet in gaming. By tracking a gamer’s eye with software, the notebook introduces new interactions like aiming, identifying enemies and taking cover simply by gazing at objects on the screen. Eye tracking also enhances the experience by providing infinite views whilst navigating treacherous paths and roads in a game."

Other features of the Predator 21 X include a keyboard with Cherry MX key switches, a unique design for the numeric keypad "that allows it to be flipped over and turned into a Precision Touchpad", a 5-fan cooling system, and a 4-speaker, dual-subwoofer premium sound system.

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Pricing and availability have not been revealed.

Source: Acer

EVGA's Water Cooled GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid Runs Cool and Quiet

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 23, 2016 - 04:18 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, pascal, hybrid cooler, GTX 1080, evga

EVGA recently launched a water cooled graphics card that pairs the GTX 1080 processor with the company's FTW PCB and a closed loop (AIO) water cooler to deliver a heavily overclockable card that will set you back $730.

The GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid is interesting because the company has opted to use the same custom PCB design as its FTW cards rather than a reference board. This FTW board features improved power delivery with a 10+2 power phase, two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors, Dual BIOS, and adjustable RGB LEDs. The cooler is shrouded with backlit EVGA logos and has a fan to air cool the memory and VRMs that is reportedly quiet and uses a reverse swept blade design (like their ACX air coolers) rather than a traditional blower style fan. The graphics processor is cooled by a water loop.

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The water block and pump sit on top of the GPU with tubes running out to the 120mm radiator. Luckily the fan on the radiator can be easily disconnected, allowing users to use their own fan if they wish. According to Youtuber Jayztwocents, the Precision XOC software controls the fan speed of the fan on the card itself but users can not adjust the radiator fan speed themselves. You can connect your own fan to your motherboard and control it that way, however.

Display outputs include one DVI-D, one HDMI, and three DisplayPort outputs (any four of the five can be used simultaneously).

Out of the box this 215W TDP graphics card has a factory overclock of 1721 MHz base and 1860 MHz boost. Thanks to the water cooler, the GPU stays at a frosty 42°C under load. When switched to the slave BIOS (which has a higher power limit and more aggressive fan curve), the card GPU Boosted to 2025 and hit 51°C (he managed to keep that to 44°C by swapping his own EK-Vardar fan onto the radiator). Not bad, especially considering the Founder's Edition hit 85°C on air in our testing! Unfortunately, EVGA did not touch the memory and left the 8GB of GDDR5X at the stock 10 GHz.

  GTX 1080 GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid Slave BIOS
GPU GP104 GP104 GP104
GPU Cores 2560 2560 2560
Rated Clock 1607 MHz 1721 MHz 1721 MHz
Boost Clock 1733 MHz 1860 MHz 2025 MHz
Texture Units 160 160 160
ROP Units 64 64 64
Memory 8GB 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 10000 MHz 10000 MHz 10000 MHz
TDP 180 watts 215 watts ? watts
Max Tempurature 85°C 42°C 51°C
MSRP (current) $599 ($699 FE) $730 $730

The water cooler should help users hit even higher overclocks and/or maintain a consistent GPU Boost clock at much lower temperatures than on air. The GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid graphics card does come at a bit of a premium at $730 (versus $699 for Founders or ~$650+ for custom models), but if you have the room in your case for the radiator this might be a nice option! (Of course custom water cooling is more fun, but it's also more expensive, time consuming, and addictive. hehe)

What do you think about these "hybrid" graphics cards?

Source: EVGA

ASUS Announces the ROG GX800 4K G-SYNC Gaming Laptop with GTX 1080 SLI

Subject: Mobile | August 19, 2016 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: UHD, ROG, Republic of Gamers, notebook, laptop, GX800, GTX 1080, gaming, g-sync, asus, 4k

ASUS has announced perhaps the most impressively-equipped gaming laptop to date. Not only does the new ROG GX800 offer dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics in SLI, but these cards are powering an 18-inch 4K display panel with NVIDIA G-SYNC.

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Not enough? The system also offers liquid cooling (via the liquid-cooling dock) which allows for overclocking of the CPU, graphics, and memory.

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"ROG GX800 is the world’s first 18-inch real 4K UHD gaming laptop to feature the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 in 2-Way SLI. It gives gamers desktop-like gaming performance, silky-smooth gameplay and detailed 4K UHD gaming environments. The liquid-cooled ROG GX800 features the ROG-exclusive Hydro Overclocking System that allows for extreme overclocking of the processor, graphics card and DRAM. In 3DMark 11 and Fire Strike Ultra benchmark tests, a ROG GX800 equipped with the Hydro Overclocking System scored 76% higher than other gaming laptops in the market.

ROG GX800 comes with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology and has plug-and-play compatibility with leading VR headsets to allow gamers to enjoy truly immersive VR environments. It has the MechTAG (Mechanical Tactile Advanced Gaming) keyboard with mechanical switches and customizable RGB LED backlighting for each key."

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Specifics on availability and pricing were not included in the announcement.

Source: ASUS