Ultimate ROG Strix GTX 1080 TI Overclocking Guide
Extreme overclocker Michał “Xtreme Addict” Vobożil published the ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti and aims to help ambient and extreme overclockers to get the most out of their graphics card. The guide was originally posted on the HWBOT forums and is shared with Overclocking.guide with explicit permission of the author.
- Test Platform
- Air Cooling Tips
- Extreme Overclocking
- ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti Overclocking Results
Finally the AIB GeForce GTX 1080 Ti with custom PCB are out! In this article I would like to focus on the ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti. This guide applies also for the Poseidon graphics card as they share the same PCB. The GTX 1080 Ti is a new chip for the AIB partners and currently there are no super top high-end extreme overclocking cards like the Matrix out yet. However, it looks like the Strix may be sufficient. Bear in mind that the Strix series are designed to be slightly ahead of the Founders Edition cards and are not designed with Extreme Overclocking in mind.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be overclocked!
- Intel Core i7 6950X at 4500 MHz
- ASUS ROG Rampage V Edition 10
- GALAX Hall of Fame “GOC Edition” 4x 8GB (Samsung B-die)
- HyperX 240 SSD
- K|ngp|ncooling TEK 6.66 for GPU
- Corsair H100 for CPU
- Seasonic 1200W Platinum
- Thermal Grizzly & Kingpincooling “BLUE PASTE”
To sum up design – it’s upgraded reference design with extra gaming features, using more phases and better quality, though controllers are still reference. There are a lot of similarities to reference design – for instance card uses “old school” Texas Instrument INA3221 power sensor IC, which is the “heart” of Boost 3 technology, controlling power limit. More advanced/experienced users, especially those who are close to the industry, know that NVIDIA lately is very tough partner in business and tries to control everything even in custom design cards. Currently NVIDIA has to approve “PCB design” and also “cooler design” in order to produce a card. We might have to be sometimes forgiving for vendors cause not everything is in their power to change.
Air Cooling Tips
Pascals GPUs are mostly limited only by temperature and power limit. On stock cooling there is not much we can do. Due to Boost 3 technology Pascals GPUs, depending on load, power target/limit and temperature can reach 2000 MHz in peak moments. Frequency is changing real time all the time. In most of heavy load games we will sadly notice throttling in many moments – our clocks will go down and up all the time influencing negatively efficiency. If we are lucky and have card with high leakage/ASIC our stock card will be working in peak moments with more than 2 GHz GPU. There is not much we can do regarding throttling – we can extend powerlimit/powertarget and improve cooling or change it.
Basically I would recommend to follow Roman’s YouTube AIR stock guide for GTX 1080 TI. There is everything you need to know about optimizing card for AIR.
ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti OC with Stock Cooling
Sadly Pascals GPUs (especially GP102) are pretty maxed out on stock when we are talking about stock AIR cooling. Especially considering custom PCB designs which are already overclocked by vendors comparing to Founder’s Edition. We shouldn’t expect too much.
Thanks to ASUS I was able to play with two ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti cards. Both cards on stock cooler and stock BIOS boost to almost 2 GHz. The first card was doing 1990 MHz GPU and the second 1999 MHz GPU. To determine max stable clocks I used 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme. Those were max clocks which cards could pass test without freezing or artifacts.
- Card #1: 2025 MHz GPU / 1550 MHz MEM
- Card #2: 2020 MHz GPU / 1550 MHz MEM
Actually overclocking core gives almost no boost, cause it’s just 20 MHz. Memory OC headroom is much better and provides significant efficiency gain. Those are pretty typical OC results for BIG Pascal (GP102) considering my experience with Titan X Pascal cards and GTX 1080 TI Founders Edition. Some cards of course can reach higher frequency – rarely we can see around 2050 MHz GPU. Best so far I have seen is 2100 MHz GPU on stock cooler on ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti by Russian overclockers Smoke and Slamms, but that card was selected from a pool of 10. I am pretty sure for their golden card sky is the limit and we will see some nice WRs coming soon!
Firstly – a very good news – we have fully working real XOC BIOS which removes all powerlimit/powertarget protections in NVIDIA drivers. Second great information for many XOC guys who don’t like soldering and so on – we can push the card without a single mod all thanks to special tools.
ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti XOC Tools
- Stock BIOS: download
- XOC BIOS + NVFLASH for Windows: download
- XOC Voltage Tool: download
- GPUTweakII Version 184.108.40.206: download
Everyone has their own way of isolation. Some models of hardware don’t like some ways because of freezing or small shorts from vaseline and so on. For ROG Strix GTX 1080 TI both cards I used vaseline and paper towels around the pot and on the back – and it was working great for long sessions. I would recommend this method.
Mounting LN2 Cooler
Sadly for some other pots there will be small issue in design of the card because of 2x SMD capacitors so we can’t resolder them to the back of the card The easiest solution is to find a fitting POT or remove factory capacitors and solder some with long legs, don’t forget about protecting the area to remove the risk of potential shorts.
The EK-SF3D Critical Point GPU POT and der8auer’s Raptor 3/4 won’t fit the card without a mod. However, the Kingpincooling TEK9 6.66 FAT fits!
Thermal Paste Application
I would recommend “Skylake/Kabylake” way of applying thermal grease and not to move the pot during mounting. Moving it on sides causes thinner layer of paste on parts of GPU which can lead to cracks. I recommend to keep card cool so paste won’t be too warm – too liquid. I used Thermal Grizzly and Kingpincooling’s “BLUE PASTE” and both worked really well with full pot.
LN2 Overclocking Tips and Tricks
First of all a couple of notes:
- The cards don’t have coldbug or coldbootbug
- Don’t use NVPMManager software to force 3D mode – with high clocks it will reset drivers before launching the benchmark!
- I recommend using the newest version of ASUS GPUTWEAKIT for changing clocks – works very smoothly (see Tools section). Don’t forget to extend “OC range”.
- Cool down PWM. I recommend STRONG delta over the mosfets and on the back of the card.
The GP102 DIE can handle higher voltages than smaller DIE from GTX 1080. Most of the cards can work with 1.5+ VGPU. Sadly clocks are not scaling lineal like in old great GTX 980 TI cards. Though proper voltage/temperature relation is the key to reach the maximum of the card.
Sadly uP9511P controler is based on “VIDs” and voltage jumps depends in which Pstate card currently is. On some cards it might cause stability issues, especially during loading the benchmarks – we can fix it by hardmods which are described later in section of MODs.
Second important thing – because of Boost 3 technology, when we cool down card below 0*C we are losing the highest BOOST table, so for instance my 2nd card on stock boosts to 1990 MHz on positive temperature, after cooling down maximum BOOST is 1950 MHz. When we lose highest BOOST are stock voltage (which on AIR is around 1.06v) can go down to around 0.9v. So automatically we have to raise voltage or by trimpots or by software.
Optimal LN2 voltages for my cards in load which allowed me to get highest clocks:
- VGPU: 1.52V (stock is 1.06V)
- VMEM: 1.4-1.5V (stock is 1.35V)
- VPLL: 1.1V (stock is 1.0V)
Though PLL voltage and memory voltage have very little influence. Especially considering memory frequency – adding extra voltage mostly is in order to prevent memories from being too cold, especially when we are playing nearly fullpot.
The hardest part is to start the benchmark or start benchmark for more than 3s. We have to find perfect temperature/voltage. It might be also due to NVIDIA drivers and changing VGPU tables (please check out later – MODs). Sometimes I had to try 3-4 times to start benchmark and pass desired frequency. The good thing is that even after crashing benchmark – drivers come back and doesn’t restart, clocks are still fine with good efficiency.
Each GPU DIE has it’s optimal inner temperature of work – which allows for highest clocks. With lower voltage – around 1.1-1.3 VGPU best temperature for most cards will be around -130*C/-140*C. When we go colder – our stable clocks will be lower or card will be unstable. But when we keep adding voltage we can move this barier and go colder which will allow us to clock higher. Temperature also depends from benchmark load. For instance with Time Spy I can go full pot – but FSE or 3D11 need around -160*C to work. Mostly for benchmark start and first 3 seconds we need slightly warmer temperature – for instance for my highest clocks I was starting Time Spy at around -180*C (max idle was -189*C on my Kingpin probe/Fluke) and than going full pot in load which was around -179*C. On my 2nd card going from 1.3v to 1.52v allowed me to move benching temperature from -130*C to -180*C for Time Spy and allowed me to reach 90 MHz GPU more.
Below modifications are not necessary for extreme overclocking but may improve overall stability and maximum overclock capability.
Because we have fully working XOC BIOS which disables protections in NVIDIA drivers and also disables POWER LIMIT but we still can do oldschool “SHORT” mod to remove POWER LIMIT by hardware mod.
Force 3D Voltage
As I mentioned earlier voltage is regulated by drivers/Pstates and it’s fluctuating all the time during start of benchmark which can lead to extra instability. We can Force 3D voltage. After this mod, our stock voltage will be 0.87V in IDLE and will drop in STRESS around 0.1V. After this MOD we have to add more voltages by offsets/hotwire. In order to remove VDROOP in stress we can do additional mod for decreasing load line calibration.
Decreasing LLC will remove vdroop in stress.
- GPU 20k VR TRIMPOT
- MEM 50k VR TRIMPOT
- PLL 100k VR TRIMPOT
ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti Overclocking Results
My first card (slightly better on air) was able to hit 2340 MHz GPU /1560 MHz MEM for hard benchmarks and for some lighter benchmarks 2380 MHz GPU, though was really hard to manage and not stable – extra stability mods helped a bit. This one was scaling much worse on voltage – 1.1v to 1.5v gave me around 100 MHz GPU.
Second card was clocking much worse on low voltages. At 1.2V I couldn’t even pass 2200 MHZ GPU but with 1.52v I was able to bench at 2440 MHz GPU/ 1566 MHz MEM. This one was greatly scaling with Voltage/Temperature “ratio”. Additionally second card had no mods at all, not even POWER LIMIT mods. Only flashed XOC BIOS and used XOC TOOL for voltages adjustment. When I refill LN2 I will try card with full mods and full out CPU
Card is very nice to play with, easy, no mods required to obtain high frequency. All software/BIOS work great. No CBB/CB also makes fun better As GPU is the part of Pascal family – temperature is the key and voltages give rather slight boost. The key is to find optimal voltage/temperature relation.
DISCLAIMER: Do all at your own risk! I am not responsible for any damage, nor ASUS or anyone else. Please note you might void your warranty by overclocking/modding etc.
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