Gigabyte GTX 1080 Xtreme Water Force Tear-Down

By Published September 20, 2016 at 9:00 am

As we board planes for our impending trip to Southern California (office tours upcoming), we've just finalized the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Xtreme Water Force tear-down coverage. The Gigabyte GTX 1080 Xtreme Water Force makes use of a similar cooling philosophy as the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid, which we recently tore-down and reviewed vs. the Corsair Hydro GFX.

Gigabyte's using a closed-loop liquid cooler to deal with the heat generation on the GP104-400 GPU, but isn't taking the “hybrid” approach that its competitors have taken. There's no VRM/VRAM blower fan for this unit; instead, the power and memory components are cooled by an additional copper and aluminum heatsink, which are bridged by a heatpipe. That copper plate (mounted atop the VRAM) transfers its heat to the coldplate of what we believe to be a Cooler Master CLC, which then sinks everything for dissipation by the 120mm radiator.

Here's our tear-down video. More info in text below, though the tear-down process and components are also shown in the video.

The Cooler Master CLC uses a different design than what we commonly find, seeing as both EVGA and Corsair/MSI use Asetek-designed coolers. CM's pump block is larger, uses a wide copper plate that connects directly with the VRAM plate (custom design), and then uses a protruded and isolated copper coldplate for direct GPU cooling. Isolating the protrusion assists in lowering GPU temperatures measured by the diode. This is a challenge that EVGA faced with its VRAM cooling plate, as the shared usage of a CLC will increase the measured GPU diode temperature due to saturation of the cooling solution.

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We believe the barb closest to the right-side VRAM is the out valve, as this would be the hottest location on the solution (closest to VRAM & VRM). The VRM is sinked by a copper plate and thermal pads, including the inductors, and transfers its heat to a small copper heatpipe. That heatpipe connects to the right-side VRAM plate, which connects to the CLC coldplate directly.

After testing – which will soon be published in the review – we believe that the Cooler Master block is running a higher RPM pump and may be doing some strategic liquid routing to improve GPU temperatures. Unfortunately, because this card is loaned by a reader/viewer (thanks, Sean), we can't take apart the Cooler Master CLC for further analysis.

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GTX 1080 Xtreme Water Force PCB photos are enclosed as well, but we'll forge ahead with a separate PCB analysis for more on that.

More content on this card in the coming days.

Editorial: Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke
Video: Andrew “ColossalCake” Coleman

Last modified on September 20, 2016 at 9:00 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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