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nVidia GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition Graphics Card
Hello everyone! Will here with GR8 Tech 2Day and today, I am brining you an article on the nVidia GTX 1080 Ti and the NZXT Kraken G12 liquid cooling mod. The GTX 1080 Ti with the reference cooler runs slightly hot comparatively speaking to other GPUs of the time. Still, it was capable of slaughtering the other GPUs of it’s time. Given this, I still wonder how much more performance we could gain from keeping the GPU die cooler. Well, NZXT allowed us to do this with the introduction of the Kraken G12 GPU watercooling bracket. Does it really help the GPU perform better and how well does it keep temperatures down? Well, let’s find out.
GTX 1080 Ti at Amazon
NZXT Kraken G12
The nVidia GTX 1080 Ti was released on March 10, 2017. It was the upgrade to the GTX 1080 and the successor to the GTX 980 Ti. The Founders Edition card was released with a base core clock of 1480 MHz and a boost clock of 1582 MHz. The GTX 1080 Ti boasts 3584 CUDA cores and a TDP of 280 watts. The Founders Edition card is a blower-style card and does run relatively hot. During my test runs inside the be quiet! Silent Base 801, the card hit 84-85 degrees Celsius at full load. With these temperatures being reached, the core clock would throttle and I was only able to achieve a boost clock of 1873 MHz. Yes, this boost clock was higher than the 1582 MHz boost that nVidia touts in their press releases but with overclocking, you can get so much higher on this core, theoretically. This boost clock was absolutely being held back due to high temperatures and throttling. So, with this in mind, I asked myself, how much more performance could I get out of this beast of a graphics card with cooler core temperatures? That’s where the NZXT Kraken G12 comes into play.
GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
- Core Clock: 1480MHz base, 1582MHz boost
- Memory Clock: 11010MHz
- CUDA Cores: 3584
Teardown and Preparation
The NZXT Kraken G12 was released in April 2017 and was an update to the Kraken G10 GPU cooling bracket. The G12 added more all-in-one coolers to the compatibility list as well as a few more GPUs. The NZXT Kraken G12 is a simple bracket that allows you to attach a number of compatible all-in-one liquid coolers to a number of different GPUs. The Kraken G12 is relatively simple to install. Basically, you just remove the stock cooler that comes with the GPU and remove the thermal paste already on the GPU you are going to cool. Then, you attach the included 92mm fan to the Kraken G12 bracket. As you can see in the photos, I have actually replaced the 92mm stock NZXT fan with a Noctua 92mm fan. This is purely preference, but in my experience, the Noctua fans perform a little better than most other companies’ stock fans. After setting up the bracket, you then set up a couple brackets that are spaced specifically for the GPU you are using. In this case, I will be using the nVidia GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition card. There are 2 brackets labeled with an ‘N’ on them for nVidia. You screw those to the GPU PCB. Finally, you get the all-in-one cooler of choice and attach it to the bracket and to the GPU using the spring-loaded screws. Once the GPU is attached to the bracket, you install into the system and attach the fan and pump to headers on the motherboard and you are ready to begin. So, how did it perform? Well, let’s take a look.
Completed Modification and Install
Test Methods and Results
To test temperatures, I ran Unigine Heaven synthetic benchmark for an hour on loop and the maximum temperature that I saw was 84 degrees Celsius with the Founders Edition card and the core clock only managed 1873MHz. When I replaced the blower cooler of the Founders Edition card with the Kraken G12 bracket, Noctua 92mm fan, and Corsair H55 all-in-one 120mm cooler, the maximum temperature recorded was 54 degrees Celsius and the core clock averaged 2038MHz with a maximum of 2050MHz. That’s a 35.7% decrease in temperature and an 8% improvement in core clock frequency. During long gaming sessions in Destiny 2 at 4K, the maximum temperature recorded in Hardware monitor was 48 degrees Celsius with the Kraken G12 attached.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
When looking at the price of the Kraken G12 at roughly $25, the Corsair H55 at roughly $66, is liquid cooling your GPU worth it? Well, I think so. You are paying roughly $90 in addition to the price of the GPU (I got this GTX 1080 Ti for $400 in October 2019). So, you are paying roughly $500 for a liquid cooled GTX 1080 Ti and you are getting 8% more performance and far lower temperatures, increasing the longevity of the card. And liquid cooling the GTX 1080 Ti is a great investment because this is a card that was well before it’s time and will still perform admirably probably for the next 4-6 years. So, in closing, I can recommend to anyone who wants to give it a try, to do so. It was a fun easy modification and the card performs so much better.