EVGA GTX 1080 SC ACX 3.0 Review



Analyzing Temperatures & Frequencies Over Time

Modern graphics card designs make use of several advanced hardware and software facing algorithms in an effort to hit an optimal balance between performance, acoustics, voltage, power and heat output. Traditionally this leads to maximized clock speeds within a given set of parameters. Conversely, if one of those last two metrics (those being heat and power consumption) steps into the equation in a negative manner it is quite likely that voltages and resulting core clocks will be reduced to insure the GPU remains within design specifications. We’ve seen this happen quite aggressively on some AMD cards while NVIDIA’s reference cards also tend to fluctuate their frequencies. To be clear, this is a feature by design rather than a problem in most situations.

In many cases clock speeds won’t be touched until the card in question reaches a preset temperature, whereupon the software and onboard hardware will work in tandem to carefully regulate other areas such as fan speeds and voltages to insure maximum frequency output without an overly loud fan. Since this algorithm typically doesn’t kick into full force in the first few minutes of gaming, the “true” performance of many graphics cards won’t be realized through a typical 1-3 minute benchmarking run. Hence why we use a 10-minute warm up period before all of our benchmarks.

For now, let’s see how these new algorithms are used when the card is running at default speeds.

EVGA has installed their epic-looking ACX 3.0 heatsink onto this card and the results really do speak for themselves. It is able to maintain a temperature of just 75°C despite the Superclocked’s increased clock speeds, which is significantly better than what the reference card could lay claim to.

EVGA’s cooler is able to idle its fans when there’s a low load situation which makes the card completely silent until it detects temperatures rising above the 70°C mark. After that, rotational speeds spike for a fraction of a second and then level out to a more consistent level as they adapt to the core’s heat output. With that being said, due to the fans’ size they don’t need to spin very fast to achieve an optimal amount of air movement.

As you might expect, frequencies remain very consistent regardless of the amount of load or the duration of a gaming session. There’s simply no reason to throttle things down since temperatures remain well in check.

Framerates are pretty much as expected: high and consistent. There is no perceptible loss since clock speeds don’t move south of the 1880MHz mark.

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