ASUS ROG Poseidon GTX 980 Platinum Video Card Review

The highest overclocked GeForce GTX 980 based video card just landed. If the ASUS ROG Poseidon GTX 980 Platinum video card with a hybrid air and liquid cooling system doesn't impress you, we are not sure what will when it comes to GPU. We push the Poseidon clocks and pit it against the AMD Radeon R9 290X for an ultimate showdown.


Overclocking the ASUS ROG Poseidon GTX 980 Platinum

We are going to break up this page into two sections, the first section will go over overclocking the ASUS ROG Poseidon GTX 980 Platinum on air. The second section will go over overclocking the ASUS ROG Poseidon GTX 980 Platinum on liquid. Naturally, we performed overclocking tests in both scenarios so that we can compare and find out how much liquid cooling improves or changes things. For overclocking we are using the latest version of GPU Tweak for this video card.

Overclocking on Air

Before we did anything, the very first thing we did is find out what the actual frequency the GPU is running at while gaming. We found out that the GPU was boosting beyond its advertised boost frequency of 1279MHz, actually operating at 1328MHz while gaming. This frequency was the consistent frequency the GPU was running at on air.

Therefore, we need to compare any overclock to this frequency as our starting place. Just some other stats worth noting, default voltage was 1.2120V, and GPU temperature was 71c with a 50% fan speed and system power was 376W.

ASUS GPU Tweak allows the power target to be taken up to 125% from 100. The GPU Boost Clock slider tops out at 1400MHz unless you go into the settings, tune tab, and the tune setting tab, and click on "overclocking range enhancement." This allows an immense level of slider headroom for overclocking.

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On air, we kept the fan at automatic to find out how high we could get the GPU while letting GPU Boost control the fan speed. We figure anyone buying this video card is buying it to be a quiet video card. The audience for this video card isn't going to take it and then turn the fan up to annoyingly loud 100% to overclock it.

We managed a GPU Boost clock of 1450MHz which translates into a real-world frequency of 1500MHz on the GPU. That is an increase of 172MHz with no voltage manipulation required. In fact, moving the voltage up caused the frequency to diminish over time since the video card exceeded its TDP. We managed to get the memory up to 8GHz from 7GHz.

Overall, this is not the best overclock we've seen on air. However, keep this in mind, this video card isn't built to be the best overclocker on air. For that, you go with the MATRIX version. This video card is meant to be the best overclocker on liquid. Therefore, on air the overclock is 1500MHz/8GHz. Now let's see what it does on liquid cooling.

Overclocking on Liquid

The first thing we did once we hooked it up to liquid cooling was to check and see if the in-game frequency changed at all. The answer is no. At default settings, with liquid cooling, the frequency still ran at 1328MHz and no more. Therefore liquid cooling will not inherently increase performance out of the video card. What it does do though is allow the GPU to operate at an insanely cool temperature.

The default temperature at full-load with liquid cooling was 47c at 1328MHz with the fans operating at 26%. The GPU temp was 71c on air alone. We will have comparison graphs later on in the evaluation. The voltage remained the same.

With temperatures like that, 47c at a full gaming load, we expect to see some higher stable frequencies under liquid.

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We were able to take the GPU now to 1530MHz Boost Clock which translates to a real-world in-game frequency of 1580MHz! This is the highest stable overclock we've ever achieved on a GeForce GTX 980 GPU based video card. That is 80MHz faster with liquid cooling, but the best part? The GPU temperature never exceeded 50c under liquid at 1580MHz.

Even more, we also managed to increase the memory frequency a bit higher as well. We managed 8.1GHz compared to 8GHz on air. We tried 8.15 and 8.2GHz memory, but it started to artifact even under liquid. At 8.1GHz it was rock stable.

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While 1580MHz sounds incredible, we actually managed to get it even higher. Check out this screenshot and you will see we had it running FC4 at 1600MHz. However, after a few minutes it would start to artifact. We tried to increase the voltage, but that just made the frequency dive as the card was hitting its TDP very hard. Therefore, 1580MHz was the ticket. However, with just a bit more TDP and voltage, 1600MHz would be in the realm of possibility here, which is just amazing to think about.

Therefore, the final overclock under liquid was at 1580MHz/8.1GHz and a GPU temp that remained around 49-50c most of the time with the fans at idle speeds of 26%. VDDC was solid at 1.2120V and system power was 384W. This is the frequency we are going to use in our review on the following pages.

Final Overclock on Liquid

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