Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review

Manufacturer: Asus
UK price (as reviewed):
£539.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): Currently unavailable

Around this time last year we saw the Asus GTX 780 Poseidon, and now it has taken Nvidia's latest flagship GPU and strapped the same DirectCU H2O cooler to it to create the GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum, which is sold with Republic of Gamers (ROG) branding. As before, its standout feature is the cooler, which can be used by default as a regular air cooler but also comes with fittings that allow you to easily hook it up to a liquid cooling loop.

*Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review
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We've also already seen the Asus Strix GTX 980 DirectCU II OC. As will be seen, the GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum is a very similar card to this. For starters, they have the same factory overclock, with a 5 percent boost giving both cards a 1,178MHz base clock (1,279MHz boost); the memory is left at stock speeds. One difference, however, is price. The Strix card is already expensive, retailing now for around £480 (basic GTX 980s can be had for £420), but this card increases the asking price by another £60. The GTX 980 has never been Nvidia's best weapon for price-performance, but even so this is undeniably costly. Still, it's not every GTX 980 that has a hybrid air and liquid cooler strapped to it. In fact, this is the only one we're aware of.

*Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review
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The card is very weighty, so it's a good thing that there's a solid brushed aluminium backplate, which not only looks great but also keeps the hardware extremely rigid. The plastic black and red cooler shroud is also sturdy; it has a relatively closed design but is not fully sealed, so some air will still be exhausted into your case. The red ROG logo along the top edge is backlit and pulsates when the card is powered up as an added aesthetic bonus.

*Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review
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Since the cooler is the same as that on the GTX 780 Poseidon, the card looks almost identical to before. One difference, however, is the rear I/O panel, which has been updated to the more modern selection of Nvidia connections, including three DisplayPorts. A DVI to VGA adaptor is also supplied in the box.

*Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review
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Another accessory that comes with the GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum is the dual 6-pin to 8-pin PCI-E power cable. Like the Strix GTX 980, the card uses a 6-pin/8-pin PCI-E power plug combination, a slight upgrade over the dual 6-pin reference design. Naturally, both SLI connectors are intact, with the GTX 980 being one of the few Nvidia cards to support full 4-way SLI.

*Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review
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Also along the top are the two water-cooling tubing holes, complete with G 1/4-inch threading and screw on plastic caps to stop any dust accumulating inside when they're not being used.

*Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review
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The DirectCU H2O cooler uses a copper vapour chamber to cool the GPU, with which it makes direct contact. A thick metal plate, which Asus refers to as die-cast thermal armour, is also used to draw heat away from all of the memory chips, as well as the MOSFETs and VR controllers, via thermal pads – heat from this plate is then passed into the vapour chamber. The liquid channel passes through this in a U-shape, but the chamber is is also soldered to a standard heatsink with three nickel-plated copper heat pipes and a large array of aluminium fins. These are in turn cooled by the two 92mm fans, though these are not semi-passive as with the Strix card. Still, it's a very high quality cooler that ensures all critical components are directly cooled whether you're using air or water.

*Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review Asus GeForce GTX 980 Poseidon Platinum Review
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A look at the PCB reveals that it is virtually identical to that used in the Strix GTX 980. On the far right side we have the DIGI+ VRM digital voltage controller, said to reduce power noise by up to 30 percent. This is connected to a 10-phase delivery system that uses Asus's Super Alloy Power components, which include concrete core chokes and hardened MOSFETs that can withstand greater stress and heat than standard components. Japanese black metallic capacitors are also used and these are said to have 20 percent better temperature endurance and a five times longer lifespan. Finally, the six small holes above the DIGI+ VRM chip provide voltage readouts for the GPU core, memory and PLL voltages.

Specifications

  • Graphics processor Nvidia GeForce GTX 980, 1,178MHz (boost 1,279MHz)
  • Pipeline 2,048 stream processors, 128 texture units, 64 ROPs
  • Memory 4GB GDDR5, 7GHz effective
  • Bandwidth 224GB/sec, 256-bit interface
  • Compatibility DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5
  • Outputs/Inputs Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI 2.0, 3 x DisplayPort 1.2
  • Power connections 1 x 8-pin PCI-E, 1 x 6-pin PCI-E, top-mounted
  • Size 287mm long, dual-slot
  • Warranty Three years

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