ROG Poseidon GTX 780
W e’ve often lamented the fact that our GPUs, which tend to run extremely hot, get treated like second-class citizens when it comes to easy exotic cooling. Yes, you can install an aftermarket waterblock and add the graphics card to your custom loop. That’s a pricey proposition, though, and you can kiss your warranty coverage goodbye. ASUS has taken a bold approach with its ROG Poseidon GTX 780 (model POSEIDON- GTX780-P-3GD5), installing an air cooler that doubles as a built-in waterblock.
This ROG (Republic of Gamers) graphics card consists of a custom cooler strapped to an overclocked GeForce GTX 780. The reference design GTX 780 has its stock clock set at 863MHz, with Boost 2.0 technology letting it climb to up to 900MHz when the card has some headroom to spare. ASUS was able to push those clocks to 954MHz (base) and 1,006MHz (boost), thanks in part to superior components and a very capable cooler.
Like many of the graphics cards from ASUS, this one’s cooler is a DirectCU model, meaning the copper comes in direct contact with the GPU’s heat spreader, instead of relying on the more traditional cooler design that slips a polished piece of nickel-plated aluminum between the two. The suffix of this DirectCU H2O cooler refers to a copper vapor chamber and a U-shaped liquid channel that does a three-fourths lap around the GPU.
This channel opens on either end with a pair of G1/4 threaded fittings, into which you can install your choice of barbs with a variety of inner/outer diameters. ASUS finds that using the liquid-cooling function of the Poseidon GTX 780 can reduce GPU temperatures by an impressive 24 degrees Celsius, compared to the reference GTX 780’s air cooler.
Not everyone is going to take advantage of the barb fittings, which is why ASUS also mounted an aluminum heatsink with a trio of heatpipes winding throughout, a pair of 90mm dust-proof fans, and a thin plastic heat shield designed to direct warm air out and away from the GPU. This cooler outperforms the reference design cooler by 7 C.
The hybrid liquid/air cooler isn’t the only souped-up aspect of this graphics card. ASUS gave the GPU a 10-phase Super Alloy Power and DIGI+ VRM, which is designed to deliver 30% less power noise and dramatically better heat and stress resistance. Other features include “specially formulated concreted chokes,” Japanese black metallic caps, and hardened MOSFETs that will deliver stable overclocking and a long life span.
The Poseidon GTX 780 is a dual-slot card and measures approximately 11.3 inches long (including the PCB). Power comes to it via 8-pin and 6-pin PCI-E power connectors. ASUS also warns that you’ll need up to 300 watts of power just to run the Poseidon GTX 780; the PSU itself should push at least 600 watts of total power and have a 12V rail rated for at least 38 amps.
If you’ve been looking for a high- performance graphics card that has a solid air cooler and the guts to support liquid cooling out of the box, your options dwindle to just one. The ASUS ROG Poseidon GTX 780 is a very good option to have.
Test system specs: Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K; Motherboard: ASUS MAXIMUS VI FORMULA; RAM: 8GB ADATA XPG V2 DDR3-2400; Storage: 128GB
Crucial RealSSD C300; OS: Windows 8 Enterprise (64-bit)