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Adventures in trying to cool down a Reference-cooled (blower fan) GTX 1080

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Tech Tweaker

Dec 14, 2010
So, upon getting a GTX 1080 with a blower cooler (not my choice of cooling, would have preferred a mult-fan cooler such as ACX, Twin FROZR, etc), I quickly discovered that this thing runs flipping hot. Hot as in, 83°C is not only the suggested temp target, it's like it is this card's objective to meet or exceed that temperature as often as possible with the fan at high speeds making it quite loud. With my 780, 780 Ti, and 980 Ti (with ACX or ACX 2.0 coolers on all of them) 83°C was their temp target as well, but I never saw them exceed say 75-77°C in this same computer case.

Stock configuration:

Idle: 32-35°C (blower fan at 26% fan speed)
Load while gaming: 77-85°C with minimal thermal throttling when going above 82°C (blower fan speed maxes out at 59% with default fan curve)
Load while mining: 65-70°C with some noticeable thermal throttling (GPU Power Limit set to 80% to lower consumption. Blower fan speed maxes out at 84% with mining program fan curve.) If left to stock fan curve, card thermal throttles constantly.


Decided to try some things to attempt to cool this beast better than it could be in its stock configuration with the shroud and blower fan, since similar cards with non-reference coolers are overpriced right now and buying something else is not a viable solution. So, that led to step two, which was removing the shroud and unplugging the LED cable from the card (fairly easy to do), and then mounting a 120mm fan directly onto the heatsink with some zip-ties.

Shroud removed, 120mm fan mounted to heatsink fins configuration:
Idle: 28-33°C
Load while gaming: 60-70°C without thermal throttling (blower fan speed maxes out at 48% with default fan curve)
Load while mining: 61-68°C without thermal throttling (blower fan speed maxes out at 46% with default fan curve) Increasing fan speed for blower fan has no obvious difference, as air is not being channeled anywhere without the shroud on the card and it's just blowing out in all directions at once.

Card was much cooler, and noticeably quieter while gaming or mining than with the stock configuration. Only real downside was that it effectively makes this a triple-slot card, and so mounting anything in the slots below it would be more difficult than it would have been before.



With Corsair HG10 N980 (modified to fit GTX 1080) and Corsair H75 cooler:
Idle: 27-32°C
Load while gaming: 48-55°C without thermal throttling (blower fan speed maxes out at 35% with default fan curve)
Load while mining: 49-62°C without thermal throttling (stays around 50-54°C most of the time with Equihash, hits 55-61°C so far with Lyra2REv2) (blower fan speed maxes out at 41% with default fan curve)
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