EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 ICX Review vs. Gaming X, Xtreme Aorus

By Published April 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm
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EVGA 1080 Ti SC2 Temperature vs. Time & Frequency

It helps to get a feel for the card’s baseline behaviors prior to getting further into testing. For that, we’re looking at the frequency versus thermals and time with the 1080 Ti SC2 ICX card. This helps us understand how the clock fluctuates based on temperatures.

The max clock range is about 114MHz from peak to dip, with temperatures controlled around 65C. Clock is fairly steady, and would smooth out further if given additional power budget to play with.

evga-1080ti-sc2-freq-v-time

The above is a power virus scenario. Your clocks will be higher in gaming. We're just checking for clock stability.

We’ll look at individual power stage and memory temperatures in a moment; first, let’s look at a comparative chart with competition. 

EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Temperature vs. Gaming X, Founders, & Xtreme

evga-sc2-temps-all

Our GPU comparison chart contains over a year of data at this point, but it’s all conducted on the same platform, so our tests are comparable.

Most notably, the 1080 Ti SC2 ICX card runs a GPU diode temperature of 40.96C delta T over ambient when under load, which is significantly cooler than the 1080 Ti FE card that’s running warm at 58C delta T. The ICX card also manages its temperature at a lower noise footprint, as might be expected given the aftermarket cooler.

The MSI 1080 Ti Gaming X ($750) runs at 44.3C delta T, about 3C warmer than EVGA’s SC2 ICX card. The Gigabyte Xtreme Aorus ($750 MSRP) version of the 1080 Ti operates at about the same temperature as the MSI card, making EVGA’s 1080 Ti SC2 the coolest operating GTX 1080 Ti that we’ve yet tested with the stock fan profile.

EVGA’s New Faceplate

evga-1080ti-sc2-tape

We’ve heard suggestions that the new hole-riddled faceplate could actually be beneficial to thermals over previous EVGA faceplate designs, since any video card shroud covers so much of the cooling area. Without a compatible shroud to mount to the card, the best way to A/B test this is to close off the holes. We pulled our Gaffer tape and plugged them all up into something of a brigandine patchwork video card, then reran thermals. This will block off air channels in a similar fashion to filling in the holes on the shroud, so will simulate a closed off faceplate.

evga-sc2-tape-v-notape-gpu

We’re accounting for ambient fluctuations in this chart with a modifier value based on thermocouple readings of the intake temperature. These tests were conducted at 50% fan speed to ensure that the fan did not adjust to higher temperatures between A/B execution. We also ran auto tests and found the same results – but we’ll use the 50% fan speed numbers for presentation.

Looking at the GPU diode temperature over time, we can see that our A/B test posts no real difference between the taped line – represented in orange – and the stock line in blue. The temperatures are within 1C of each other at all times, and ramp-up at a similar pace. The taped version does take a slightly wider arc to cool down, but isn’t anything extreme. Even idle temperatures are roughly equal.

evga-sc2-tape-v-notape-mem

The same is true for memory module #1, as seen in this next chart. Idle temperature at the start is about equal, ramp-up temperature and time is roughly equal, and steady-state temperature is roughly equal. Cool-down takes a marginally wider arc, again, but achieves the same result.

evga-sc2-tape-v-notape-pwr

And MOSFET #5 shows the same behavior, with a bit of an anomaly in the first quarter of the test that’s likely just from modulated load from the power virus.

evga-1080ti-sc2-tape-eq

If we switch now to one of GN’s EQ charts, we can see that the tests are all roughly equal. The biggest change we have is in PWR5, which can be accounted for in that anomalous spike in our over-time chart above. Everything else is within a 1C range, for the most part, if not less.

Like Gigabyte’s copper insert in the backplate, this shroud is mostly for looks. There might be an argument if you were to point a side intake fan at the face of the GPU, but testing thus far suggests that thermals are about the same with and without the plate. We can’t confidently state that there is a significant difference.

If you’re buying based on this faceplate, do it based on looks, not based on cooling. It’s an interesting design visually, and that’s got more value than any thermal offerings.

EVGA 1080 Ti SC2 ICX Noise Levels vs. MSI Gaming X, Gigabyte Xtreme

evga-sc2-noise-levels

We are moving now to noise testing conducted at 20” away from the system, with all passive components aside from the video card. The noise floor of the room is about 26dBAa. The EVGA card runs the same idle noise as other cards with a zero-spin fan policy – that is, it makes no noise idle. Both fans toggle off when under a 55C load, and spin-up asynchronously based on load for each half of the card.

EVGA’s default fan profile seems to auto-spin at around 1600RPM for the left fan and about 1700RPM for the right fan (in our test), resulting in a noise output of about 40.2 dBA, or about 3-4dBA louder than the MSI card at its auto speed of around 55%, and about 4-5dBA quieter than the Founders Edition card at similar fan speeds. EVGA could actually run a much more conservative fan profile if it wanted to, though they’d sacrifice thermal performance to some extent.

At 50% fan speeds for each fan – which is something that almost never happens – the EVGA SC2 card runs a 47.6dBA output. All of these GPUs run at or below 55% fan speeds in all real scenarios we’ve tested, so the 100% value isn’t too critical here – but EVGA does have the fastest fans of its size, which means louder output when maxed.

With regard to Auto, we’d recommend hand-tuning the settings. The extra few degree advantage over other 1080 Ti cards could be sacrificed for noise, if that’s more important to you. This same profile is what allows EVGA to thermally outperform Gigabyte and MSI renditions of the 1080 Ti.

Continue to the next page for synthetics.


Last modified on April 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm
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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