EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 iCX FTW2 Review: Everything Detected, More Than Just A Cooler

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Introducing The EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 iCX FTW2

For close to two decades, EVGA has been producing graphics cards based on NVIDIA GPU technology. The company's current line-up consists of literally dozens of cards featuring GeForce GTX 10-series GPUs, with various clock speeds, cooler configurations, and form factors. Although the GeForce 10 series has been out for quite a while now, and EVGA already has a voluminous line-up of cards, the company isn’t done releasing new products just yet. In fact, the GeForce GTX 1080 FTW2 card featuring EVGA’s iCX technology we’ll be showing you here is arguably the company’s most extensive revamp yet.

EVGA showed some cards with iCX branding at CES last month, but didn’t disclose any details. At first glance, the design didn’t look too far removed from existing cards featuring EVGA’s ACX coolers, but there is much more going on under the hood with the company's iCX technology, which will be coming to select GTX 1060, 1070, and 1080 cards. The PCBs have been redesigned and now feature an array of additional, built-in sensors and protection mechanisms. The heatsink fins, base- and back-plates, and fan shroud have been redesigned as well for better cooling performance. And with these cards, new software arrives as well, to leverage their additional features and capabilities.

We spent a few days at EVGA HQ and got the full scoop for you all, though. So check out some quick specs and images of the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW2 featuring iCX technology, and then we’ll dig in with our evaluation.
evga icx box

GeForce GTX 1080
Founder's Edition
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080
SC
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080
iCX FTW2
NVIDIA GPU GP104 GP104 GP104
Number of Cores 2560 2560 2560
Clocks (Base / Boost) 1607 / 1733 MHz 1708 / 1847 MHz 1721 / 1860 MHz
Memory 8GB 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 10000 MHz 10000 MHz 10000 MHz
Memory Interface 256-bit G5X 256-bit G5X 256-bit G5X
Memory Bandwidth 320 GB/s 320 GB/s 320 GB/s
TDP 180 watts 180 watts 180 watts
Peak Compute 8.2 TFLOPS 8.2 TFLOPS+ 8.2 TFLOPS+
Transistor Count 7.2B 7.2B 7.2B
Process Tech 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET
MSRP $599 $559 ~$679

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW2 featuring iCX technology doesn’t look all that much different to the SC edition card with ACX 3.0 cooling we reviewed in this round-up, but other than the GPU and memory, they are actually quite different.

evga icx front
evga icx back

The fan shroud on the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW2 with iCX looks much like what’s found on ACX 3.0 cards, but it is somewhat taller on the iCX card, and the underlying heatsinks and baseplate are very different. Don’t worry, we’ll dig in deeper on the next page, because there is much more to talk about. If you look at the back of the card, it too has a similar design language, but has been completely redesigned. The backplate is two pieces now, and has thermal pads to better cool the components on the PCB. There is still customizable lighting on the card as well, including a few new additions that can actually be tweaked to reflect the operating temperature of the GPU, memory, and voltage regulators.

evga icx backplates

The GPU and memory frequencies on the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW2 featuring iCX technology are similar to the original FTW card. The GPU’s base and boost clocks are 1721 MHz and 1860 MHz, respectively, and its GDDR5X memory runs at an effective 10GHz.

Outputs on the card are similar to other GeForce GTX 1080s, and consist of a DVI output, three full-sized DP outputs, and an HDMI output. And there are dual 8-pin power connectors onboard, though the TDP is still in-line with older cards. That extra power connector is just to ensure there is always plenty of juice available when overclocking the card.
evga icx outputs

What you don’t see in these pictures are the 9 additional sensors integrated into the PCB. There is also a fused protection circuit on board that’ll prevent damage to vital components, in the event of a power surge. Finally, there are a combination microcontrollers, firmware, and software that make it all work. As we’ve mentioned, iCX is much more than just a new cooler...

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