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  1. Introduction After few months from the launch day of reference GTX 980 TI graphic cards Asus refreshed their top high-end line and finally introduced Republic of Gamers (ROG) top model. After very strong gaming - Strix series (as you might remember I had some great fun with 4-Way Asus GTX 980 TI Strix cards breaking few World Records) I was expecting a really mature construction and I have to admit I am not disappointed! Testing platforms: i7 6700K ES/i7 5960X Asus Maximus VIII Extreme/Rampage V Extreme 2x4 GB G.skill TridentZ 3733/4x4 GB HyperX 3200C16 HyperX 240 SSD Kingpin Fat TEK 6.66 & EK-SF3D Critical Point EVO Couple of Seasonic P1200 Platinum PSUs Gallery: By now I tested 3 pieces of Matrix Platinum GTX 980 TI. 2x cards are old samples based on Hynix and one is from new batch using Samsung ICS. If your serial number on the card starts with "FA" it means Hynix (produced in October), "FB" (produced in November). In terms of ASIC quality - first Hynix card is 80,1%, second 78,2% and Samsung retail RANDOM card is 79,1%. Seems like Asus picked up really nice batch of GPUs for their top model. HOTWIRE and MEMORY HEATER pads. We have to short them in order to enable LN2 mode and MEMORY HEATER function. Stock cooler, backplate + mosfet heatsink. On this photo we can see VGPU controller, connection points for GPU voltage controller It's necessary in order to connect device like elmor's EVC Of course we can't forget about special iROG chip which offers many useful features for AIR/WC and LN2 users. From the left we have MOLEX which powers Memory Heater, ON/OFF switch of Memory Heater and "Safe button" which I will describe later. HOTWIRE soldering points. PLL (AUX) voltage section. IOR mosfets. The most popular on high-end hardware. Same parts we can find on KPE 980 TI or HOF GOC cards Note that Asus only decided to put double 8 pin PCIE power plug This is my retail card from polish distribution - good news for everyone, because of change of NVIDIA policy now retail cards are based on Samsung memories! So far only EVGA KPE cards and KFA2 HOF GOC Edition were retail models based on Samsungs and were more expensive than other Hynix cards, because normally NVIDIA (and AMD too) sells GPUs in bundle with specified memories - so far 980 TI was only paired with Hynix and vendors had to buy separately Samsung memories (and "throw away Hynix ICS which came with GPUs ) which was raising a cost of production per ~ 100 USD. AC/WC tips Step 1. Short (connect) LN2 mode. This operation will not kill your card and you can use it 24/7. It just unlocks all fancy options in GPUTweakIT. If you don't do it, you will be voltage and Power limited according to NVIDIA specifications. In case you can't or don't want to solder, you can use silver or graphite based glues for PCB traces fix/connection (or car rear window heating traces) - in such case after it dries, just tape it or use hot glue. After the operation change BIOS switch into LN2 position. Note that it voids your warranty and you perform all actions on your own responsibility If you have Hynix card I recommend to flash it with the newest (fixed efficiency) LN2 BIOS. Updated LN2 BIOSes m980ti_ln2t3s.rom = Samsung m980ti_ln2t3h.rom = Hynix Step 2. Have fun and find your best stable settings. Don't rush, you have as plenty time as you want. Finally you find your golden settings we can prepare "custom BIOS" using GPUTWEAKIT software Don't forget about scrolling down the window of GPUTWEAKIT in order to change Power Limit to 200%. Operation is as easy as it can be: 1. Set your desired clocks, voltages, power limit options. Note that with LN2 mode enabled you will have always 100% loadline calibration and voltage is really steady. 2. After you apply your settings - burn icon will appear in left area of GPUTWEAKIT software. Click it. 3. GPUTWEAKIT will open new windows with settings to flash, you can check if all is fine and click burn button. After few seconds click okay after you see "Success" pop up window and let GPUTWEAKIT restart your computer. From now on you have your custom BIOS, you don't need any GPU OC program in idle or autostart, you can even uninstall them all if you they are delaying From now on you don't have to worry about programs not applying clocks on the start, or crashing rig etcetera. Stock card: 24/7 OC settings with Stock cooler: 3DMarks were passing with 1550/2200 core easy, but the Witcher is a bit more demanding than Firestrike Extreme Important fact: when you push high memories, you will need to add more voltage to GPU (provide extra juice to IMC inside GPU) or lower GPU clocks. With good water cooling loop and extra voltage I am pretty sure 1600 MHz GPU should be easy for gaming In fact you are not creating your own BIOS - all settings are stored and applied after power on by iROG chip on the card, but it works just as custom BIOS and is definately safer. Note that by reflashing BIOS (even with different version) your settings will not be deleted. In order to reflash to stock go to next chapter of my guide If something goes wrong... Don't worry, Asus created safe button function for crisis. Note that on the card you have 4 BIOSes. 2x BIOS chips which you can select by BIOS switch (Stock/Standard and LN2) and 2x backup BIOSes which you can't flash by your own - those are backups. So if something goes wrong: Step 1. BEFORE power on motherboard, press Safe button and keep it, meanwhile power on motherboard. When Safe Button is activated - the green led will be on. Step 2. Go into OS and start GPUTWEAKIT software. Instead of normal window, when Safe Button is on, GPUTWEAKIT will start recovery mode. Just press okay, wait 1 minute (it takes much longer than "burning" settings, cause in recovery mode, GPUTWEAKIT clears iROG chip from settings and additionally refresh BIOS to stock version from backup chip. Let it restart your computer and your card is fully default LN2 TIPS Hardmods - HOTWIRE, Memory Heater, Power limit & Thermal throttling EXTRA HARDMODS - NOT NECESSARY 1. CBB - TBA 2. HOTWIRE - TBA How to clock a card on LN2 1. DON'T USE VASELINE ON THE CARD, instead it's better to plastic spray/dip or put eraser. 2 out of 3 cards had strange issues when where isolated with vaseline. One card had problems with booting - shutting down after boot. Second card from the moment I put vaseline on it had PLL voltage issues - dropping down after boot or floating 0.2V-0.4V-0.1V-0.7V-1.05V-0.2V and so on. Stock is around 1.06V. After proper cleaning with aceton, nitro detergents both cards came back to life and work perfectly on stock or LN2 with eraser on them. Seems like some controllers are sensitive and vaseline shorts something. 2. Start the card with Memory Heater on from the very beginning. You can keep it ON all the time, cause it starts to work when memories reach below 10*C or shutdowns when are warmer. 3. Use GPUTWEAKIT BURN option for memory voltage (like in AC/WC part) to put higher memory voltage from the start. If you don't do it - don't expect high memory clocks on cold with high core. For Hynix best value is +200-300 MV (1.8-1.9V in GPUTWEAKIT). For Samsung I would start +350MV or higher, depending from your sample. My card for 2200 MHz memory with high GPU (over 2000 MHz) needs +500MV (2.1V). It's very important cause when your card is cold (-80*C or more), you will not be able to set any memory voltage, cause you will have artefacts in OS. You have to use or GPUTWEAKIT burn option or trimpots. After you burn custom - higher VMEM, you will be able to add extra juice in OS in limited range - for instance when I burn on my Samsung +350MV I am able to set +500MV but +550MV will lock my OS. Burning +550MV works. 4. You can use trimpots, ROG Panel, HOTWIRE or the newest GPUTWEAKIT to control all voltages. Software works perfectly. Don't forget about using NVPMANAGEMENT program or "3D Always" mode in GPUTWEAKIT. 5. When you cool down the card and perform first runs, I recommend to set +50-100MV PLL voltage. It helps to keep stability of IMC. 6. Sweet spot for VGPU for now is +500MV (1.71V load). More triggers OCP, but I hope soon it will be fixed 7. Each of my cards has ColdBootBug (CBB) around -120*C. If your card has really big CBB problem, you can perform extra CBB mod, which will raise the limit for about 20-25*C. Hynix vs Samsung Samsung card seems to be a bit better, especially in terms of memory clocking on LN2. Though current BIOSes have exactly same efficiency. I did tests on LN2: Hynix: Samsung: Results: I tested both Hynix and Samsung card on LN2. Hynix seems to drop easier memory clocks with high core (running 2100 MHz GPU with 2000/2050 MHz memory wasn't a big issue for Hynix card). Samsung card is capable of running around 2100 MHz GPU with high memories 2150-2200 MHz. I was crashing after few seconds 2120//2200 on my retail Samsung card because of too low VGPU. Best GTX 980 TI scale with 1.75-1.85V load. I hope soon the issue will be fixed. Also there might appear a newer Samsung BIOS with even better efficiency (though current is good). Next time I will put my Samsung card with LN2ed 5960X to go full out I don't have all screenshots now cause I was busy with testing mods, BIOSes and fixes but I upload those which I saved: Hynix card 2055/2100 MHz FSE: Samsung card 2070/2200 FSE: Second Hynix card did around 2030/2150 FSE. Conclusion: ROG Matrix Platinum is a strong player in GTX 980 TI category. I got 3 cards, and each of them goes easily over 2000 MHz GPU, 2x cards are hitting 2100 MHz GPU which is a really high result. I think my Samsung card has potencial of hitting 2150-2200 GPU range with a bit higher VGPU (waiting for OCP fix). Definately, it's a big upgrade comparing to Strix card (which was also great) and now Matrix can be matched with EVGA KPE and Galax HOF GOC card. Moreover, iROG chip provides unique features which are useful for daily users and also LN2 power users and OCing software is stable and mature. I hope that after this guide more ocers will start to push their Matrix cards to the limits I would like to thank Asus for supporting OC community and Asus R&D department for the help with pushing card to the limits.
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