Gigabyte GTX 980 WaterForce Card with Threatened Cooler Master CLC

By Published October 23, 2015 at 7:35 pm
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Readers following our story on the Asetek vs. Cooler Master lawsuits may remember a call to attention regarding the Fury X's utilization of a CM Seidon equivalent CLC. Gigabyte's newest GTX 980 WaterForce card uses a 120mm CLC supplied by Cooler Master, with the pump mounted atop the coldplate (GPU block). This falls within Asetek's claims regarding its patent protection – and the company holds patents valid for GPU- and CPU-mounted pumps – and Gigabyte could reasonably be impacted by the resolutions set forth by recent lawsuits.

 

Regardless of the legality of CM-cooled GPUs, the GTX 980 WaterForce is fresh on the scene with its 120mm CLC cooler. The marketing materials boast a “38.8% cooler” performance than reference, which seems realistic, and a 1253 / 1354MHz clock-rate. The GPU clock is among the fastest GTX 980s on the market, though there's still room for additional OCing by users interested in getting the most out of their liquid.

980-waterforce-2

Taking a look at the coldplate design, it appears that the CM Seidon pump mounts directly to a larger copper “substrate” plate, which uses a short heatpipe to funnel heat from the MOSFETs to the larger plate; it appears that the heatpipe also contacts chokes or VRAM. The underlying coldplate (to which the heatpipe is mounted) does not see direct cooling from the liquid block, leaving us curious as to how Gigabyte is dissipating its heat generated from the VRM. There is no on-card blower fan, as found on the 980 Ti Hybrid and 980 Ti Sea Hawk cards, so VRM and VRAM modules must be cooled by the plate and its single heatpipe. If we can secure a review sample, we'll see how the MOSFETs hold up to additional OC load given the barebones cooling design.

We do not yet know the price for the GTX 980 WaterForce.

- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.

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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