EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 review: A ferocious graphics card with a radical cooler

Fire-breathing performance, damn cold temperatures.

At a Glance
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2

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Power

We test power under load by plugging the entire system into a Watts Up meter, running the intensive Division benchmark at 4K resolution, and noting the peak power draw. Idle power is measured after sitting on the Windows desktop for three minutes with no extra programs or processes running.

power Brad Chacos/IDG

The EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 only uses a hair more power than the GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition, and a significant 10W less power at idle. That’s probably because the dual fans on EVGA’s card stop spinning when the card isn’t under load, whereas the reference model’s fan constantly whirs.

Heat

We test heat during the same intensive Division benchmark at a strenuous 4K resolution, by running SpeedFan in the background and noting the maximum GPU temperature (in Celsius) once the run is over.

temps Brad Chacos/IDG

The EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2’s robust iCX cooling solution keeps the GPU a whopping 15 degrees Celsius cooler than the Founders Edition under load, and it stays far quieter while doing so. It’s not just the GPU staying chilly, either: Checks with Precision XOC showed the PWMs and memory running nice and cool. I was hoping to snag a shot of the card blaring a red RGB indicator light but couldn’t get it to happen under any reasonable circumstances, even after overclocking.

icx temps Brad Chacos/IDG

Precison XOC’s sensor temperature readings while running our thermal test, a.k.a. The Division at 4K repeatedly. (Click to enlarge.)

That’s using the default fan curve, too. Precision XOC allows you to set a custom fan curve, or enable an “aggressive” fan curve. The aggressive curve, which I used in my overclocking endeavors, is no joke: It kept the overclocked GPU running between 52 and 59 degrees Celsius in The Division and Rise of the Tomb Raider even at 4K/Ultra. Air-cooled graphics cards don’t get much colder than that—though the fan noise generated using that setting is just as aggressive.

Next page: Overclocking and bottom line

At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating
    $749.99 MSRP $749.99
    View
    on Amazon

    The GTX 1080 Ti SC2 uses EVGA's revolutionary iCX cooling technology to make the most potent consumer graphics card in the world even better. It's cool, quiet, and powerful.

    Pros

    • Incredible gaming performance, even at 4K
    • EVGA's iCX cooling keeps temperatures and noise low
    • Smaller than other custom GTX 1080 Ti cards

    Cons

    • Shroud design may be divisive
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