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ASUS ROG Poseidon Platinum GTX 980 Ti Review

ASUS has just released its new hybrid air/liquid cooled video card based on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB GPU. The ASUS ROG Poseidon Platinum GTX 980 Ti can be run with liquid cooling to make this a cool and quiet GTX 980 Ti and hopefully give us some good overclocks. We'll test it, and find out how it does on air and liquid.

Introduction

ASUS is known for its ROG branding for video card enthusiast gamers and its ROG video card models. ASUS is also known for its unique Poseidon series of video cards. The Poseidon series is unique because there is nothing else like it on the market today, it offers a hybrid air cooled and liquid cooled solution on the same video card. You have the choice how you want to run it.

The first ASUS Poseidon video card dates back one and a half years to March of 2014 with the launch of the Poseidon series with the ASUS ROG Poseidon Platinum GTX 780. Following that video card, a year later came the ASUS ROG Poseidon Platinum GTX 980 we also evaluated. Now, in September of 2015 ASUS has its next ROG Poseidon Platinum video card ready to go and ASUS decided to build this one around the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti with 6GB of VRAM.

We are evaluating the ASUS ROG Poseidon Platinum GTX 980 Ti today. This video card does not come cheap, its MSRP from ASUS is $709.99. Typical MSRP from NVIDIA on GeForce GTX 980 Ti video cards is $649.99. That puts this video card at a $60 price premium. This video card has some unique features that no other video card has and allows the coolest and quietest GeForce GTX 980 Ti operation out of a retail box.


ASUS ROG Poseidon Platinum GTX 980 Ti

The ASUS ROG Poseidon Platinum GTX 980 Ti (referred to from here out as the "ASUS Poseidon GTX 980 Ti") is based on a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti GPU. All the specifications are the same as the GTX 980 Ti. There are 2816 CUDA cores, 96 ROPs and 176 texture units contained in 8 billion transistors. Memory is comprised of 6GB of GDDR5 on a 384-bit bus.

ASUS does offer some factory overclocks on the Poseidon GTX 980 Ti. Reference GTX 980 Ti clock speed is 1000MHz base clock and 1075MHz boost clock. ASUS ships the video card out-of-the-box in "Gaming" mode which puts it at 1114MHz base clock and 1203MHz boost clock. There is a selectable "OC" mode in software you can enable a base clock of 1140MHz and boost clock at 1228MHz.

These are not the highest factory overclocks we've seen, in fact the ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti has better factory overclocks. What is going to separate this video card is when you add liquid cooling and manually overclock. If you just run this video card at its stock factory overclocks, you might as well get the STRIX for a bit faster out-of-box performance for less money.

The ASUS Poseidon GTX 980 Ti has two options, one is the non-Platinum model and the other is the Platinum model. Look for a "P" in the product name for the Platinum model, for example ours is: POSEIDON-GTX980TI-P-6GD5. What this means is that Platinum models are in a word, cherry picked for better overclocks. If you really want the most out of your liquid cooled video card, spend the extra money for the Platinum model, else you are potentially holding yourself back even under liquid.

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What makes this video card unique is that it can completely run out-of-the-box without liquid cooling. It can run on air, using its fans and built in heatsink. Therefore, if you don't have a liquid setup ready you can still run the video card until you have one ready and enjoy gaming. Then, when you are ready to upgrade you can simply plug in some liquid and bam; liquid cooled video card. Under liquid note the fans will still spin, but they do spin at very low RPMs since the GPU is kept so cool under liquid cooling. This also safeguards your video card if the liquid cooling fails, it can still function just fine on air.

The construction is quite simple. The fan cover has the two fans directly attached to it and are "dust-proof" fans. Underneath lies the DirectCU H2O Vapor Chamber heatsink with extended fins and die-cast thermal armor. The tube connections are standard G1/4" threaded fittings. Copper heatpipes are utilized while the video card is under air cooling. This all sits atop the 10-phase Super Alloy Power II circuitry and POSCAPs. ASUS even flipped the power connectors so you can easily take the power cables out. Finally, there is an aluminum backplate for added support.

The liquid channel is quite interesting here, it is a "U" shape through the vapor chamber and the vapor chamber makes direct contact with the GPU, not the liquid itself. However, while this is not an expensive robust full liquid system, it does get the job done in cooling the GPU as you will see. It might not look very efficient, but don't let that design deceive you, the results speak for themselves.

ASUS has put one native HDMI 2.0 port on this video card along with three DisplayPort connectors and one DVI-I. The card measures 11.3 inches x 5.4 inches x 1.6 inches.

ASUS ROG Poseidon Platinum GTX 980 Ti Platinum Pictures

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Hooking up the liquid connections were quite easy, and as soon as we did we saw instant results. We are using a Koolance Exos-2 V2 (EX2-755) for our liquid cooling setup.