Asus GeForce GTX 980 Ti Poseidon Platinum 6GB Review

Manufacturer: Asus
UK price (as reviewed):
£645.58 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $699.99 (ex Tax)

We've seen a fair few GTX 980 Ti cards over the last few months and they've invariably been pretty awesome – that's just what you get when you take one of the fastest GPUs in the world, overclock it and strap on a custom cooler. That's precisely what Asus has also done with its GTX 980 Ti Poseidon Platinum, but this is a card that offers something a little different to most, namely the ability to be cooled with either air or water out of the box, with no modifications needed.

Asus GeForce GTX 980 Ti Poseidon Review
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Enabling this unusual feature (but not unique – Zotac's ArcticStorm offers the same) is the DirectCU H2O cooler, which we've previously seen put to use on the GTX 980 and GTX 780. The GTX 980 Ti Poseidon claims to offer twice the cooling performance of a reference model when water-cooled, and a 10 percent improvement using air alone. Of course, with this being an Asus ROG product, there's a bit more to it than that as well.

A key aspect of third party cards is the factory clock speeds, and Asus here is fairly middle of the road with regards to what else is available. The Poseidon comes with a base clock of 1,114MHz (boost 1,203MHz) which is approximately 11 percent faster than stock, with our sample consistently hitting around 1,280MHz in real load scenarios. Unfortunately, Asus has not given the 6GB of GDDR5 the same consideration, as that ships at the usual 7GHz effective – still fast, but faster is always nicer.

The regular set of Nvidia display outputs is used, which is fine as with DisplayPort 1.2, DVI-I and HDMI 2.0, all of your needs should be more than met. Naturally, two SLI connectors are also found on the PCB, enabling up to 4-way SLI.

Asus GeForce GTX 980 Ti Poseidon Review Asus GeForce GTX 980 Ti Poseidon Review
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The power inputs are found in the usual top-right location, though Asus has upgraded from the reference 6-pin/8-pin combination to dual 8-pin, and as such a 2 x 6-pin to 8-pin PCI-E power adaptor is supplied in the box, which is the limit of the card's accessories.

The GTX 980 Ti Poseidon adopts the standard ROG red and black colour scheme with its cooler shroud – this is plastic, but the quality is still good. Aiding the aesthetics further is the ROG LED light, located just above the SLI fingers, which pulsates red when the card is active. Completing the look and build is a high quality brushed aluminium backplate which also helps to stabilise the card against its weight.

Asus GeForce GTX 980 Ti Poseidon Review
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In terms of size, the GTX 980 Ti Poseidon will occupy two slots and is 287mm long. It's also 137mm tall, meaning it extends almost 30mm beyond the edge of the PCI bracket, and that's before you've hooked up the power plugs and water-cooling tubing, so be sure to check your case has room.

Asus GeForce GTX 980 Ti Poseidon Review
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As with its GTX 980 Ti Strix, Asus's Poseidon card utilises the company's Auto-Extreme technology, whereby the PCB production process is fully automated to remove human fallibility and also flux-free to prevent corrosion in the long term. Lastly, the process is more environmentally friendly than before thanks to the elimination of harsh chemicals and a 50 percent reduction in power consumption.

Asus GeForce GTX 980 Ti Poseidon Review
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Asus has also deployed its Super Alloy Power II power delivery components, which can be seen in the 8+2 phase design (an upgrade over the reference 6+2). Through minimising conduction loss, switching loss and dead time they are said to increase power efficiency and thus reduce operating temperatures over the previous generation.

Asus GeForce GTX 980 Ti Poseidon Review
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The DirectCU H2O cooler uses a copper vapour chamber for the GPU and a die-cast metal contact plate to cool the memory chips, MOSFETs and VRM controller – it's a full cover solution. Above these sits the stack of horizontal aluminium fins which will predominantly guide air out of the card in two directions – one out of the rear IO panel and the other back into your case. Two 85mm fans on top provide airflow, though they're unfortunately not semi-passive.

Asus GeForce GTX 980 Ti Poseidon Review
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If you want to water-cool, you can simply connect tubes directly to the built-in G ¼-inch ports, which come with protective screw caps and form the entrance and exit to the vapour chamber's internal water channel.

Specifications

  • Graphics processor Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 1,114MHz (boost 1,203MHz)
  • Pipeline 2,816 stream processors, 176 texture units, 96 ROPs
  • Memory 6GB GDDR5, 7GHz effective
  • Bandwidth 336GB/sec, 384-bit interface
  • Compatibility DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5
  • Outputs/Inputs 3 x DisplayPort 1.2, Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI 2.0
  • Power connections 2 x 8-pin PCI-E, top-mounted
  • Size 287mm long, dual-slot
  • Warranty Three years

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