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2 way SLI GTX 680 Lightning - Air cooling, air flow, better cases

Tags:
  • Airflow
  • Temperature
  • SLI
  • Graphics
  • Gtx
  • Cases
Last response: in Graphics Cards
January 20, 2014 11:49:25 PM

Hi, I have bought a new GTX 680 Lightning recently to do SLI with my other 1 year old GTX 680 Lightning. As soon as I start running games in SLI mode, I recognize the temperature of one card is significantly higher than the other (67c/85c). I have then searched and read about SLI and I think the problem is the air flow, the bottom card dumps hot air on the top one. I'm currently using a Corsair 550D silent case (with rear panel removed, all 8 fan slots filled, 2 front 1 bottom 2 door 1 back 2 rad top, 4/8 fans are Corsair silent fans). My motherboard is a Z77 Bigbang Mpower. CPU i7 3770K cooled with a Corsair i100, rad mount on the top.

- Should I lay the case down horizontally on the left side, and flip the fans on the right door, so they point upward and become exhaust fans instead of intake fans?
- Is there a different case with better air cooling / air flow, and decent sound damping? (noisy fans bother me much, I had a Corsair Graphite 600T, I liked it for being pretty but it sounded like my little sister so I had to swap for this 550D)

This is my current fan setup:


More about : sli gtx 680 lightning air cooling air flow cases

January 20, 2014 11:55:36 PM

This is somewhat common. When you do SLI or Crossfire you want the best airflow as possible in your case. One thing you should do is space out the GPUs as far apart as you can. Use the top PCI-E slot and the farthest one down that is still at least x8 speed. That will give more flow between the cards.
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January 20, 2014 11:55:39 PM

honestly, the 550 d has terrible airflow
you should try putting your radiator fans in push rather than pull (put the radiatior directly against the top of the case and the fans blowing upwards and out from the inside of the radiator.
also most silent fans suck total ASS unless you buy good ones like noctua or cougar or corsair. the rest just plain don't move air very well and suck.

bitfinex, nzxt, coolermaster, and a few other brands just don't make great fans (yes i will admit the "good" fans i've listed are better, but also more expensive)
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January 21, 2014 12:09:08 AM

Brantyn Gerik said:
honestly, the 550 d has terrible airflow
you should try putting your radiator fans in push rather than pull (put the radiatior directly against the top of the case and the fans blowing upwards and out from the inside of the radiator.
also most silent fans suck total ASS unless you buy good ones like noctua or cougar or corsair. the rest just plain don't move air very well and suck.

bitfinex, nzxt, coolermaster, and a few other brands just don't make great fans (yes i will admit the "good" fans i've listed are better, but also more expensive)


Thank you. My bad, I drew wrong, my rad is actually on the top of the fans, they push. And my fans are all Corsair's. Are there better cases which can provide a good air flow and not-so-noisy?


@Quakemz: My GPUs have about 3 or 4 centimeters of space between, I couldn't put them any where else because the case and motherboard don't have much more space, I also need space for a sound card which is on top of the top card.
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January 21, 2014 12:10:26 AM

mglushed said:
Brantyn Gerik said:
honestly, the 550 d has terrible airflow
you should try putting your radiator fans in push rather than pull (put the radiatior directly against the top of the case and the fans blowing upwards and out from the inside of the radiator.
also most silent fans suck total ASS unless you buy good ones like noctua or cougar or corsair. the rest just plain don't move air very well and suck.

bitfinex, nzxt, coolermaster, and a few other brands just don't make great fans (yes i will admit the "good" fans i've listed are better, but also more expensive)


Thank you. My bad, I drew wrong, my rad is actually on the top of the fans, they push. And my fans are all Corsair's. Are there better cases which can provide a good air flow and not-so-noisy?


@Quakemz: My GPUs have about 3 or 4 centimeters of space between, I couldn't put them any where else because the case and motherboard don't have much more space, I also need space for a sound card which is on top of the top card.


Wait, are you saying you sound card is in the highest PCI-E slot, or the lowest?
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January 21, 2014 12:12:14 AM

Quakemz said:
mglushed said:
Brantyn Gerik said:
honestly, the 550 d has terrible airflow
you should try putting your radiator fans in push rather than pull (put the radiatior directly against the top of the case and the fans blowing upwards and out from the inside of the radiator.
also most silent fans suck total ASS unless you buy good ones like noctua or cougar or corsair. the rest just plain don't move air very well and suck.

bitfinex, nzxt, coolermaster, and a few other brands just don't make great fans (yes i will admit the "good" fans i've listed are better, but also more expensive)


Thank you. My bad, I drew wrong, my rad is actually on the top of the fans, they push. And my fans are all Corsair's. Are there better cases which can provide a good air flow and not-so-noisy?


@Quakemz: My GPUs have about 3 or 4 centimeters of space between, I couldn't put them any where else because the case and motherboard don't have much more space, I also need space for a sound card which is on top of the top card.


Wait, are you saying you sound card is in the highest PCI-E slot, or the lowest?


It is on the highest PCI-E slot, closest to the CPU.
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January 21, 2014 12:14:09 AM

mglushed said:
Quakemz said:
mglushed said:
Brantyn Gerik said:
honestly, the 550 d has terrible airflow
you should try putting your radiator fans in push rather than pull (put the radiatior directly against the top of the case and the fans blowing upwards and out from the inside of the radiator.
also most silent fans suck total ASS unless you buy good ones like noctua or cougar or corsair. the rest just plain don't move air very well and suck.

bitfinex, nzxt, coolermaster, and a few other brands just don't make great fans (yes i will admit the "good" fans i've listed are better, but also more expensive)


Thank you. My bad, I drew wrong, my rad is actually on the top of the fans, they push. And my fans are all Corsair's. Are there better cases which can provide a good air flow and not-so-noisy?


@Quakemz: My GPUs have about 3 or 4 centimeters of space between, I couldn't put them any where else because the case and motherboard don't have much more space, I also need space for a sound card which is on top of the top card.


Wait, are you saying you sound card is in the highest PCI-E slot, or the lowest?


It is on the highest PCI-E slot, closest to the CPU.


That might be your problem. It's trapping the heat between the sound card and the back of the PCB on your top GPU. The heat is rising and getting trapped between. At least that is what it sounds like. It's common for the top card to be hotter, but 20c~ is pretty big difference.
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January 21, 2014 12:19:15 AM

Quakemz said:
That might be your problem. It's trapping the heat between the sound card and the back of the PCB on your top GPU. The heat is rising and getting trapped between. At least that is what it sounds like. It's common for the top card to be hotter, but 20c~ is pretty big difference.


Ahh that sounds bad. But I wouldn't have any where else to stick that in. If I put it in between the two card it would make worse, I tried this. I have not tried to put it at the bottom of the bottom card though, but if so it will block one intake fan of the bottom card.
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January 21, 2014 12:19:34 AM

As a sound guru, go get an external DAC and sell the sound card lol. No comparison between the two, as an external dac doesn't suffer interference the way even the highest end sound card will, as well as various other benefits.

otherwise yeah, silence is wonderful, but as you can see, it costs thermal performance.

another thing to check is that the fans on the hot card are spinning. the lightning cards have special software that allows you to control the fans. this is a very possible cause of such a temp difference between the two cards, because 20c is not normal
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January 21, 2014 12:21:32 AM

mglushed said:
Quakemz said:
That might be your problem. It's trapping the heat between the sound card and the back of the PCB on your top GPU. The heat is rising and getting trapped between. At least that is what it sounds like. It's common for the top card to be hotter, but 20c~ is pretty big difference.


Ahh that sounds bad. But I wouldn't have any where else to stick that in. If I put it in between the two card it would make worse, I tried this. I have not tried to put it at the bottom of the bottom card though, but if so it will block one intake fan of the bottom card.


Yeah that is kind of a problem. Generally people that plan on doing SLI AND run a sound card get a pretty serious mobo with a ton of PCI-E slots. What mobo do you have?
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January 21, 2014 12:27:06 AM

as far as motherboards go, the msi z77 gd-65 is great for sli configs with extra pci cards installed due to the spacing of the slots (what i use, but i only have a gpu and wireless card, as the onboard audio is quite comparable to a sound card as far as the optical audio or spdif are concerned. (the other inputs do suck and do suffer noise from the system i'll admit)
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January 21, 2014 12:29:07 AM

I agree that sound cards are really only for people that are insanely picky or are creating high-end music, etc. My onboard 7.1 sounds GREAT through my $40 speaker system. lol
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January 21, 2014 12:36:05 AM

Brantyn Gerik said:
As a sound guru, go get an external DAC and sell the sound card lol. No comparison between the two, as an external dac doesn't suffer interference the way even the highest end sound card will, as well as various other benefits.

otherwise yeah, silence is wonderful, but as you can see, it costs thermal performance.

another thing to check is that the fans on the hot card are spinning. the lightning cards have special software that allows you to control the fans. this is a very possible cause of such a temp difference between the two cards, because 20c is not normal

True... I didn't think about getting an external sound card, I don't know much about them though. I'm using a Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD. It's pretty old and I'm not quite satisfied, but hard to sell that because no one wants to buy xD. And I don't know what else I should buy. I like heavy bass music, effects for games, and BRay movies.
I will also try manual override the fan settings in Afterburner software.


@Quakemz: I have this mobo: http://www.msi.com/product/mb/Z77-MPOWER.html

Quakemz said:
mglushed said:
Quakemz said:
That might be your problem. It's trapping the heat between the sound card and the back of the PCB on your top GPU. The heat is rising and getting trapped between. At least that is what it sounds like. It's common for the top card to be hotter, but 20c~ is pretty big difference.


Ahh that sounds bad. But I wouldn't have any where else to stick that in. If I put it in between the two card it would make worse, I tried this. I have not tried to put it at the bottom of the bottom card though, but if so it will block one intake fan of the bottom card.


Yeah that is kind of a problem. Generally people that plan on doing SLI AND run a sound card get a pretty serious mobo with a ton of PCI-E slots. What mobo do you have?


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January 21, 2014 12:47:55 AM

mglushed said:
Brantyn Gerik said:
As a sound guru, go get an external DAC and sell the sound card lol. No comparison between the two, as an external dac doesn't suffer interference the way even the highest end sound card will, as well as various other benefits.

otherwise yeah, silence is wonderful, but as you can see, it costs thermal performance.

another thing to check is that the fans on the hot card are spinning. the lightning cards have special software that allows you to control the fans. this is a very possible cause of such a temp difference between the two cards, because 20c is not normal

True... I didn't think about getting an external sound card, I don't know much about them though. I'm using a Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD. It's pretty old and I'm not quite satisfied, but hard to sell that because no one wants to buy xD. And I don't know what else I should buy. I like heavy bass music, effects for games, and BRay movies.
I will also try manual override the fan settings in Afterburner software.


@Quakemz: I have this mobo: http://www.msi.com/product/mb/Z77-MPOWER.html

Quakemz said:
mglushed said:
Quakemz said:
That might be your problem. It's trapping the heat between the sound card and the back of the PCB on your top GPU. The heat is rising and getting trapped between. At least that is what it sounds like. It's common for the top card to be hotter, but 20c~ is pretty big difference.


Ahh that sounds bad. But I wouldn't have any where else to stick that in. If I put it in between the two card it would make worse, I tried this. I have not tried to put it at the bottom of the bottom card though, but if so it will block one intake fan of the bottom card.


Yeah that is kind of a problem. Generally people that plan on doing SLI AND run a sound card get a pretty serious mobo with a ton of PCI-E slots. What mobo do you have?




There is really no way around this situation on the MOBO. Just ditch the sound card because I would almost wager it doesn't sound any better than your onboard sound, which has gotten a lot better over the years. Just give it a try, and space the GPUs as far apart as possible. Top and bottom slots, provided the bottom slot is at least x8 speed.
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January 21, 2014 12:58:48 AM

Quakemz said:
There is really no way around this situation on the MOBO. Just ditch the sound card because I would almost wager it doesn't sound any better than your onboard sound, which has gotten a lot better over the years. Just give it a try, and space the GPUs as far apart as possible. Top and bottom slots, provided the bottom slot is at least x8 speed.


The sound card is pretty important to me because somehow I cannot manage to get 5.1 digital signal from my games (like battlefield 4) even if I plug my z906 5.1 speakers on that optical port of the onboard sound. That X-Fi Titanium has this "encoder" thing which can out put actual digital signals to the optical port, makes it sounds in true 5.1. (I'm just assuming based on what I listen to and feel)

Btw this is how I put it on my mobo, I think pretty similar to your GD-65.
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January 21, 2014 8:36:36 AM

the optical audio port will carry 5.1 quite well, actually just as good or better than even the highest end sound cards.
When i say i am a sound guru, i mean i come from a family who spends 16k on a set of speakers, 3k on the amp, 2k on the cd player, 3k on various dac and cable solutions.

The optical audio on that board is GREAT and especially with a $40 set of speakers, your best option. (list the speakers too, as yes, they may not have an optical audio in.)
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January 21, 2014 8:38:25 AM

also, your sound card will fit in literally any pci slot on that board. as a rule, you want it as far away from other parts. I suggest putting the sound card in the very bottom slot
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January 21, 2014 8:41:16 AM

I would put the card with the better cooling at the top. I assume the first card is the blower style?

To be honest though, 85'c is fine, and its quite normal for the top card to be warmer.
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January 21, 2014 8:42:42 AM

XD i have the same speaker set attatched to my pc (they are $400, not 40)

BUT the optical audio port on your motherboard does not need the encoder from your sound card for true 5.1

the audio suite that came with your motherboard will do just fine for encoding true 5.1 to your speakers. To test you can either go to youtube and find a 5.1 test, or test within the audio suite itself
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January 21, 2014 8:46:29 AM

XD i'm sorry we have moved away from temps to sound, but if you must keep the sound card, put it in very bottom spot (though temps really shouldnt change much from top slot to bottom slot.

a solution that i'm really sorry that we havent mentioned it to take that top card out completely, and make sure the cooler is properly tightened to the card. like asus, the lightning models sometimes require tightening to make better contact with the heatsink. If tightening it does help temps even by more than 2 degrees, then you know it is something with the contact of the heatsink. an even more advanced solution would be thermal paste replacement. If you are even moderatly adept with hardware, replacing the thermal paste on a gpu is fairly simple and the whole process can take less than 20 minutes and can drop temps quite effectively, especially if the original paste was of poor quality or poorly applied
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