Now that Nvidia’s top-end GTX 1080 Ti is in-market, lovers have begun testing, to see simply how a lot efficiency they will wring out of the core. Thus far, the GPU has confirmed to high out round 1.9GHz in best-case eventualities, with a typical increase clock of round 1.6GHz. However how far can that be pushed?

That’s what the parents at Tom’s Hardware needed to know, so that they constructed a customized water cooling loop to see how far the GTX 1080 Ti will be pushed. Effectively, that, and since they weren’t notably happy with the GPU’s total noise stage underneath load. Customized water cooling loops aren’t one thing I’ve gotten to play with fairly often, however I’ve constructed one after I examined the CryoVenom R9 290 simply over three years in the past (we used the identical rig for testing a pair of Asus Poseidon GTX 780s as nicely).

Like all of Nvidia’s trendy graphics playing cards, the GTX 1080 Ti makes use of GPU Increase to set its base clock (1480MHz), increase clock (1582MHz), and max increase clock (1900MHz). How excessive the GPU really clocks will depend on the standard of the chip and the enclosure it’s put in in. Tom’s and Eurogamer each indicate that the GPU can hit a max increase clock of 1850-1900MHz, however it could actually’t maintain it very lengthy. Anandtech experiences common clock speeds from 1620MHz to 1746MHz relying on the sport.

Constructing a customized water loop modified that. By drastically decreasing the temperature of the GPU, THG was capable of considerably improve its common clock charge, permitting it to hit a steady and steady 2.1GHz. So how did that impression efficiency?


The features listed below are pretty nominal, to be fairly sincere. The sport’s body charge undoubtedly improves, however solely by ~20% in contrast with a 50% improve in GPU clock (from 1.4GHz to 2.1GHz). This is only one title and never each recreation responds equally nicely to GPU clock will increase — there are at all times instances of video games that scale in line with a number of elements, reasonably than simply pushing the GPU more durable. Nonetheless, an additional 20% in a recreation operating on essentially the most highly effective GPU you should buy is not any small factor. That’s sufficient of a body charge improve to make the distinction between easy and jerky play in nook instances in a extra aggressive title.

The opposite main benefit of water cooling in contrast with air is that it’s largely silent. You’ll get some very low pump noise and the occasional gurgle. That’s just about it, and operating your GPU at 40-45C even underneath full load is fairly cool.

On the identical time, although, the appearance of Turbo speeds from AMD and Nvidia have made it more durable to guage what sort of overclocking headroom avid gamers can moderately anticipate. After I examined the GTX 1070 I used to be initially dissatisfied with its overclocking, till I spotted the core was hitting 1900MHz+ by itself. The 1080 Ti is able to comparable bursts, although it apparently has extra hassle holding them. However when a GPU’s clock charge bounces from recreation to recreation and second to second, and when firms have reserved clock speeds for themselves nicely above the official “Increase” clock, it leaves much less room for overclocking.

After I reviewed the CryoVenom, I famous with approval that the chip had gone from a 950MHz base clock all the best way to 1225MHz, a rise of 30%. For those who calculate the GTX 1080 Ti’s equal overclocking from its official increase clock of 1582MHz, the chip is 1.32x quicker with water. Calculated from the common clock velocity Anandtech noticed, it might be 1.25x quicker with water. Calculated from its personal most increase clock, which it apparently can hit for restricted durations, it’s an anemic 10.5% quicker.

If nothing else, this means lovers must watch out when calculating how a lot to spend money on overclocking gear and what they contemplate a “good end result” to be. And, in fact, the nice outdated days when GPUs might usually be pushed by 40-50% out of the field, with minimal cooler modifications, are as over for GPUs as they’re for CPUs. Water or no water, overclocking simply doesn’t scale the best way it used to.