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ASUS EN8800GTX AquaTank - Double Trouble or Twice As Nice?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 6, 2008 3:07:01 AM

This is my first post at Tom’s, so by way of a quick introduction … I can find my way around a PC without doing permanent damage, but I do need help with anything out of the ordinary – which is why I’m posting on this forum.

I’m in the very unusual (envious?) position of being the proud owner of TWO band-new still sealed in the big white box ASUS EN8800GTX AquaTank GPUs … YES, you read it correctly – TWO!

No – I’m not mad nor am I made of money, but I do have a decision to make – try to sell ‘em or try to use ‘em.

And just in case you’re wondering – No, I didn’t steal ‘em either … they were 2nd prise in a competition (BTW - 1st prise was a 24” monitor which is what I was really hoping to win. And naturally I was expecting only one box to arrive but when I read the fine print it definitely said two, so who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?)

Anyway, I’ve read all the reviews about not being able to SLI the AquaTank configuration because the GPU/Cooler combo takes 4 slots (2 for the GPU plus 2 for the cooler), and whilst the GPU comes with an SLI connector I’m guessing an 8-slot setup is definitely out of the question unless someone out there can suggest a suitable Case, MBO, PSU combo which could handle this outrageous setup.

And then I got to thinking … if I could somehow “de-tune” each GPU and return it to a standard air-cooled spec – ie: so that it doesn’t need the extra water cooling - then two options are available to me. I could install two in SLI mode without the cooler, or I could install them in separate boxes (with or without the cooler) which means not having to buy a GPU for a year or three.

So … my questions are:

If I were to sell – apart from eBay, can anyone recommend the best approach for bringing these high end curiosities to the attention of the gaming community (in AUSTRALIA), and maybe also suggest what would be a fair & reasonable asking price (I may have won 'em so don’t need to recoup my outlay, but I’m not about to give ‘em away either).

But, if I were to keep – can anyone tell me for sure whether the EN8800GTX that comes in the AquaTank box can be de-tuned sufficiently to run reliably without the water cooling kit; and if so how I go about doing that.

Finally … because I’m not a full on gamer / overclocker (my graphics work is confined to editing digital stills and video, watching DVDs/TV, etc), I’d never considered I needed dual GPUs. However given that I now own two top-end GPUs and they didn’t cost me a cent – what demonstrable advantage is there in using SLI for “ordinary” graphics work – ie: would I see any difference?

Sorry for a longer than normal post, but I figured if I spelled it all out at the beginning then I’d not waste people’s time playing 20 questions later.

Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention – I don’t have a host system in mind, so if people wanted to make useful suggestions about what would make a nice combo to support the EN8800GTX then that would be very much appreciated too. Doesn’t have to be too racy – more a good blend of price & performance which allows the ASUS GPU to show its true colours but without spending a premium to do so.

Thanks Heaps.
October 6, 2008 3:28:48 AM

You havent provided any links to the cards so im just guessing here.
It would be possible to remove the 'aqua tanks' and put an aftermarket cooler allowing sli, but it kinda defeats the purpose and value of the cards, and would also cost ~$150 to run a decent cooler.

I would sell that cards on fleabay (individually) start the auction @ $1 to generate interest. If you dont get sufficient bids you can always cancel it.

Then with the $$ buy a 4850 or 4750 :D 
October 6, 2008 3:54:41 AM

The way I see it is you can sell one, and just use one, or you could sell both and get a shiny new 4870, or GTX260 (Depending on your preference).

One 8800gtx is still an amazing graphics card. Not many cards can still be considered high end after 2 years. whether you use the 8800gtx, or get a 4870, you will be very happy.
a b U Graphics card
October 6, 2008 4:57:55 AM

If you keep one to use, then you need either an Intel E8400 or a Q6600 cpu. From an AMD standpoint I would go with the latest 9850 cpu to get the most out of it.

Since you dont game then this setup would last you forever and a day.


I think you may be better off selling those for what you can get, these cards have fallen in price due to the newer more powerful video card releases so you cant get as much as you could, say six months ago or so. But you can still get maybe around 300 US dollars each with them being brand new and the added watercooled setup.

Put it on Ebay and see what you get. Then take the cash and select a video card that is better suited for you needs.

This is assuming you want the money more than the video card. If not, then sell one and use the other.
October 6, 2008 5:39:42 AM

OK … a common theme seems to be emerging here … sell it and buy something else.

However, it seems the price is dropping so fast on what was once a premium $750+ product that flogging it on eBay with all the uncertainty of what I’d eventually get means I’m now probably better off just hanging on to it and using it in what ever system I build next.

What I'd really l;ke to do is swap it for CPU & RAM to build my next box and I’m surprised no one has made me an offer :D . It may no longer be the fastest card in the world, but as best I can tell it’s still in the top 5 – and with two on the market I figure without the water cooling it’d make a splendid SLI configuration for a keen gamer.

Anyway -- my question still stands. I don’t necessarily need the factory over-clocking that comes out of the box with this special AquaTank model. Nor do I particularly want the extra complication that comes with water cooling, or the overheads of it taking up two extra slots and two extra power connectors and 200 extra watts.

So … does anyone know for sure whether the GPU card that is part of the ASUS EN8800GTX AquaTank package can be run without the cooler in a “de-tuned” state (or should that be under-clocked?) so that I can run it at the same spec as a standard air-cooled ASUS EN8800GTX/HTDP/768M?

I figure I should be able to install the card without the cooler, but what I really need help with is turning off the factory over-clocking so that I don’t fry the thing on our first date.
October 6, 2008 8:03:56 AM

My take on all this is that the graphics card was independently cooled (by what looks to be a clear plastic fan), but needed more (hence the water cooling) because it was over-clocked at the factory. Unfortunately I don’t know what an “ordinary” 8800GTX looks like so I’m struggling a bit here.

Being a bit of a novice at all this I figured the ASUS AquaTank kit was just a standard air-cooled ASUS 8800GTX connected to a Thermaltake Tide Water cooling system with a bit of factory guaranteed over-clocking thrown in to justify all that effort.

So, perhaps someone could answer a newbie question – if one can use software to speed-up (over-clock) the various GPU clocks, how come the same software can’t be used to slow them down (under-clock?).

Card Specifications:
GeForce 8800GTX ASUS EN8800GTX
Core Clock 575 630
Memory Clock 1800 2060
Unified Shaders 128 128
Shader Clock 1350 1458
Memory Bus 384 383
Bandwidth 86.4 98.88

What I’m trying to work out is, if I didn’t install the Thermaltake cooling unit, whether I can slow the graphics card down sufficient to make it emulate a “standard” 8800GTX – ie: make it run cooler by returning clock speeds to those which match a standard air-cooled unit.

That way I don't have to sell anything, I still have a top-rated card (albeit no longer the absolute fastest), and if ever the mood takes me to become a full-on gamer I could hook up my 2nd board.

I’m full of good ideas -- but what I need right now is some collective wisdom.
a b U Graphics card
October 6, 2008 12:31:03 PM

Why do you utilize it for what it is and use one card with the watercooled setup? You coule keep the 2nd card and use it to barder with someone or put into a second system.

I wouldnt degrade the card by underclocking it nor would I spend more money to reduce the performance of that card. Its faster for you to use or someone else to use the way it is...
a b U Graphics card
October 6, 2008 1:30:52 PM

These 2 cards are dated, but still running in SLI this setup would provide some of the most serious very high res gaming horsepower to be had.

If you don't need them for this, sell them. I doubt you will get $300 each, but you may well get $500 for the pair (US$) Don't try to detune or remove the water cooling. You can buy another card for a heck of a lot less rather than try to mess with these and ruin them completely for someone that would make good use out of them.
a b U Graphics card
October 6, 2008 2:05:18 PM

These are the 'all in one' coolers, so they don't need to be configured with a water loop. I think its based on the Thermaltake GPU cooler system, correct? It is a stand alone air+liquid cooler that is self driven and self contained, but does look like it requires more PCI slot space than someone would want to give up. Did the 8800's come with the 2 Aqua tanks (as part of a combo kit) and if so, did they only come with the coolant blocks attached...no regular heatsink and fan? You could probably pop those aqua blocks off in about 3 minutes by removing screws and putting on some decent aftermarket air coolers in about another 5 mins. You would be looking at about $55 worth of air coolers. Just sell the aqua tank coolers...or keep them for resale later with the used cards with unused liquid cooling blocks.
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