GTX 1080ti watercooling worth it?

I picked up an Asus Strix GTX 1080ti OC last week. Messing around with Afterburner, I was a little sad to find I could only O/C by 75MHz, no matter what voltage I threw at it (power and temp sliders are at max). But playing in game, I noticed that I'm averaging about 2015MHz stable @ 55*C. From what I keep finding online, it seems like that's really good. Before I bought the card I was planning on getting a watercooler down the road for it to get a bit more speed out of it, but so far, from what I find online, I probably won't get much more to make it worth while. I don't think it's worth it unless I get +200MHz. Anyone else have any input?
Reply to mac_angel
17 answers Last reply
More about gtx 1080ti watercooling worth
  1. Dont bother with watercooling on it. You realistically are not thermally limited with modern cards, and you would never get your moneys worth out of it.
    Invest it in a new monitor, SSD, or whatever (or save it).
    Reply to Gam3r01
  2. If you want to lower the temps of the card then by all means, be my guest to watercool it(via a full cover block and a custom loop or an AIO cooler and a bracket) but please keep in mind that the card itself has a threshold and was put in place by NVidia. The only cards that will clock higher will be the K|NGP|N Edition cards by EVGA and I'm speculating the HOF cards by Galax.

    On the most strenuous of activities, what sort of temps are we looking at? We will need your full system's specs to better gauge the airflow and the rest of your components. List them as:
    CPU(&CPU cooler):
    Motherboard:
    Ram:
    SSD/HDD:
    GPU:
    Chassis:
    Reply to Lutfij
  3. I would only watercool it if you are going to do the shunt mod and remove the power limit. With that you may get more 50mhz, but thats it.
    Reply to iamacow
  4. Lutfij said:
    If you want to lower the temps of the card then by all means, be my guest to watercool it(via a full cover block and a custom loop or an AIO cooler and a bracket) but please keep in mind that the card itself has a threshold and was put in place by NVidia. The only cards that will clock higher will be the K|NGP|N Edition cards by EVGA and I'm speculating the HOF cards by Galax.

    On the most strenuous of activities, what sort of temps are we looking at? We will need your full system's specs to better gauge the airflow and the rest of your components. List them as:
    CPU(&CPU cooler):
    Motherboard:
    Ram:
    SSD/HDD:
    GPU:
    Chassis:


    Core i7 6850K @ 4.4GHz AIO watercooled (gaming, temp is around 40*C)
    4x8GB DDR4 RAM @ 3000
    MSI X99A SLI Plus
    Samsung M.2 512GB SSD
    Asus STRIX GTX 1080ti OC +75MHz core, +400MHz RAM, boosts to about 2000+, rarely dips, and between 50*C-55*C

    playing on three 46" TVs, surround mode.
    I was planning on getting another 1080ti, maybe around Black Friday or Boxing Day, and then a liquid cooling system. But all benchmarks I find on liquid cooling are between 2000MHz and 2100MHz. I have good temps already, so it doesn't look like I'm stuck on that point. when I try for 100MHz, my card fails on Heaven Benchmark
    Reply to mac_angel
  5. gave up playing Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 for the night and thought I'd look around to see about these BIOS's for the 1080ti. Found some interesting links so far.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/nvidia/comments/63gbit/you_can_now_flash_asus_strix_bios_to_nvidia_gtx/


    http://www.overclock.net/t/1627212/how-to-flash-a-different-bios-on-your-1080-ti

    the one just links to the other for the BIOS.
    Added question. Does the Core Voltage % not do anything in Afterburner? I figured out how to unlock it for the ti, but just seems odd that if it is working after I unlock it, then a whole new BIOS isn't really needed for all that trouble.
    Reply to mac_angel
  6. the core voltage% will allow your card to run at higher clock speed while under load but will provide more heat. i have been tweaking my overclock for the past 3 days and i mostly use the default factory OC as its good enough to get me 60fps at 4k on the games i play. even with my clocks at 2088/6150 i only gained a maximum of 5-8 fps, not really worth it in my opinion. plust the difference between high and ultra settings at 4k is even noticeable.

    my advice would be to see how it performs in games you play and only overclock if you really need to.
    Reply to Sean Payne
  7. so, reading through some articles and tweaking some settings (I only took maybe 30 minutes), I found that overclocking these cards are a LOT different than overclocking previous cards. Even with the fix for Afterburner to unlock the voltage slider, NVidia has it predetermined how much voltage they will take at a specific clock rate. So, moving that slider doesn't really do much. You need to pull up this graph and adjust the power points for some of the stages. I was able to go from 2000MHz boost to 2050MHz boost, but then dropped down to 2034 because of thermal throttling (that's why I didn't spend too much time on it).
    So, I'm curious to ask anyone that has a liquid cooled 1080ti, if they've played with this graph, or just did the typical way of overclocking. If my card is boosting to 2050MHz on air before being thermal throttled, again, making me wonder if I have more potential on liquid cooling.
    Reply to mac_angel
  8. Mac_angel that is just Boost 3.0 and all Pascal cards. The only difference for the 1080ti is that it is a bigger chip so it requires higher voltage. overclocks are not as high because of the 1.093v lock off.
    Reply to iamacow
  9. mac_angel said:

    So, I'm curious to ask anyone that has a liquid cooled 1080ti, if they've played with this graph, or just did the typical way of overclocking. If my card is boosting to 2050MHz on air before being thermal throttled, again, making me wonder if I have more potential on liquid cooling.


    My 1080Ti fe is not liquid cooled, however I have installed a aftermarket cooler(ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme III). Mine will maintain 2063 until about 50c and then starts to down clock. Amazed with this cooler though it absolutely destroyed the WindForce 3x GPU cooler on my 1070 and cools my 1080ti very quietly.

    Before I upgraded cooling I couldn't maintain anything over 1989 mhz.

    I use the sliders to OC my card.

    From what I've seen 2100 is possible with high end water, manipulating the curve and a bios with a higher power limit. Whether this is worth it or not would be up to the individual. After all we're only talking about another handful of frames.

    I'm considering adding water to my rig so I can maintain my OC's and take a little pressure off my air con bill with the summer heat coming. And to be completely honest this will be more about me conquering heat/water cooling coolness than about GPU performance.


    Probably a dumb question, but have you checked with CPU-Z too see what is actually limiting your card?
    Reply to biglizard
  10. https://www.reddit.com/r/nvidia/comments/62r2nc/hes_reached_2100_mhz_oc_on_the_1080_ti_find_out/

    i found that in my search about overclocking and just tweaked some of it for my graphics card. I wasn't able to get my overclock over +75MHz, which is not much, but I was boosting really well, from what I find comparing other cards. But by going into that graph and changing where it goes past 2000MHz to a higher voltage, I was able to get it higher. It only drops back down to 2025MHz after it reaches 55*C. There were still other higher voltage options to play with in the graph, but I never bothered trying since I was being throttled by temps anyway. And any time I see reviews on overclocking with a watercoolled 1080ti, they are just adding MHz with Afterburner and not adjusting the voltage options in the graph.
    Reply to mac_angel


  11. This is the graph I was talking about. Not sure if that 1.093v lock off is there (looks like that's where it levels off, maybe that's why?). I was limited to the +75MHz O/C, but I just moved them around a bit so it increased at a later stage instead of the default. I was stuck at about 2000MHz to 2015MHz. I decreased the O/C at that voltage and raised it later on, and I was able to get higher clocks by adjusting the MHz/voltage on the graph. I really doubt I'm the only one that has tried this, but in all my searching about O/Cing these cards, the only info I've found is that one reddit thread. And any article, YouTube video, or thread I've found where people have watercooled and overclocking, they are just doing so with the sliders in Afterburner, not adjusting the voltage per stage in that graph. Since I was able to get a higher clock by adjusting that graph, I'm wondering if people with a watercooled system can as well.
    I'm also interested in an actively cooled system, not just the typical waterblock and rad, but that's when I get a second card for SLI.

    Biglizard, I haven't checked CPU-Z to see what is limiting my card. I know that NVidia throttles these cards around 55*C-60*C. They don't run as hot as the Maxwell chips. I know I'm being thermally throttled as it is, so I haven't really spent a whole lot of time in trying to overclock further without trying to drop the temperatures more. I am trying to find out the space between the back of the card and the back plate because I'd like to add a thermal pad between the two to help transfer some of the heat away, as well as a big heat sink for the back plate, and smaller ones for the VRMs (I think those are exposed through the back plate, and I know those create a huge part of the heat.
    Reply to mac_angel
  12. It depends honestly I mean if you got the money to spend and want a complete build wehee you don't have to worry about putting anymore money into it go ahead, but overall it's not worth the time, money or the slight performance. Honestly I don't ever water cool my gpu's due to the fact that it's just not needed. I got a budget build but I run just abou every game out there, and let's just say that 5-10 fps difference ain't ganna make you play better unless your getting 30-40 fps in a game.


    Save the money
    Reply to gnrizla
  13. Gam3r01 said:
    Dont bother with watercooling on it. You realistically are not thermally limited with modern cards, and you would never get your moneys worth out of it.
    Invest it in a new monitor, SSD, or whatever (or save it).


    This is categorically untrue. With Pascal, temps are EVERYTHING. The lower the temps, the higher they'll boost, and the better they'll run.


    content edited out by rubix_1011

    mac_angel said:
    I picked up an Asus Strix GTX 1080ti OC last week. Messing around with Afterburner, I was a little sad to find I could only O/C by 75MHz, no matter what voltage I threw at it (power and temp sliders are at max). But playing in game, I noticed that I'm averaging about 2015MHz stable @ 55*C. From what I keep finding online, it seems like that's really good. Before I bought the card I was planning on getting a watercooler down the road for it to get a bit more speed out of it, but so far, from what I find online, I probably won't get much more to make it worth while. I don't think it's worth it unless I get +200MHz. Anyone else have any input?


    First, yes, watercooling will help. It may not yield a lot in terms of extra performance, that will depend on the GPU itself, how well the loop performs and how low the ambient temps are (your room temp). Where you'll definitely see improvement, is in the downclocking / downvolting that happens with boost 3.0. The lower temps will allow for the GPU to not have to downclock / downvolt, meaning you'll be able to maintain clocks a lot better, and for a lot longer.

    I see you're playing with the voltage / frequency curve. Good. Keep playing. Find a clock you want, and run it at the lowest voltage possible. Can also try a more aggressive curve, like pictured below. Just remember, when running at the maximum voltage (1.093v), you're going to be creating a lot of extra heat, so keeping the GPU cool is an absolute must.

    content edited out by rubix_1011

    Reply to Vellinious
  14. Lutfij said:
    If you want to lower the temps of the card then by all means, be my guest to watercool it(via a full cover block and a custom loop or an AIO cooler and a bracket) but please keep in mind that the card itself has a threshold and was put in place by NVidia. The only cards that will clock higher will be the K|NGP|N Edition cards by EVGA and I'm speculating the HOF cards by Galax.


    This is bad information. The KPE and other custom boards aren't guaranteed to overclock better. The only difference between these GPUs and the others, is that they have more power phases, and ever so slightly higher power limits....none of which aren't going to make any difference at all, unless the owner is, at a minimum, running a chilled loop, and even then, it's negligible.

    Better, Rubix?
    Reply to Vellinious
  15. If you have a 1080 Ti you can use a Shunt mod or flash the XOC bios to it. That will remove the power limit. However since NVIDIA still locked the voltage at 1.093v you will not get about 2100 without LN2 and some serious mods. Stock FE card will get you 2000mhz.
    Reply to iamacow
  16. In spite of all that you've said, Vellinious, the truth of the matter is that no matter how cool you keep it(without using exotic methods of cooling) there is yet a ceiling implemented by Nvidia to safeguard the company and/or the end user. That limit is what you're seeing all across this thread. In order to break those limits you're in essence voiding your warranty when you make any form of physical modifications to the GPU.

    Aggressively overclocking their components, unless stated by the OP that they are expendable, isn't a worth while suggestion to an end user.
    Reply to Lutfij
  17. Lutfij said:
    In spite of all that you've said, Vellinious, the truth of the matter is that no matter how cool you keep it(without using exotic methods of cooling) there is yet a ceiling implemented by Nvidia to safeguard the company and/or the end user. That limit is what you're seeing all across this thread. In order to break those limits you're in essence voiding your warranty when you make any form of physical modifications to the GPU.

    Aggressively overclocking their components, unless stated by the OP that they are expendable, isn't a worth while suggestion to an end user.


    Actually, no. That's again, inaccurate.....the cooler you keep it, the less voltage you'll need for a specific clock. By lowering the temps, and thus lowering the voltage, you can avoid the early power limit hit. You'll still eventually hit it on reference boards, but with most of the custom PCB GPUs, they have higher power limits set from the factory....they won't hit them as soon. I've had my 1080s running as high as 2278 and didn't hit a power limit and I don't hardware mod.
    Reply to Vellinious
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