Asus Quietly Changes ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti PCB Design

EK Water Blocks called out Asus for a change to one of its graphics card PCB designs, claiming that several of its GPU waterblocks are no longer compatible with recently minted versions of a previously compatible Asus graphics card, the ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti.

The Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti features a custom PCB for which EKWB offers four custom water blocks. However, the company updated its product pages to warn customers that the coolers (which were designed specifically for the card in question) are no longer compatible with new versions of the card within a specific serial number range. The notice appears on the EK-MLC Phoenix GPU Module FC1080 GTX Ti with both nickel and acetal and nickel finishes as well as the EK-FC1080 GTX Ti waterblock, also in nickel and nickel/acetal. The full statement is below:

“Important notice!Due to changes in the PCB design, ASUS ROG Strix GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards in the following S/N range are not compatible with EK-FC1080 GTX Ti Strix full cover water blocks:HBYVCM064817- HBYVCM999999HCYVCM000001- HCYVCM059975”

Based on the range of serial numbers, Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards manufactured before November 2017 are still compatible with EKWB’s purpose-built GPU waterblocks. Although Asus didn’t disclose the specific changes to the PCB—we reached out for more information and will update this article accordingly—the new design is different enough to render EKWB’s current offerings useless. This could be especially bothersome to custom builders using the Asus graphics card in a single-GPU configuration with EKWB's waterblocks if they want to add another GPU to the loop down the line.

Derek Forrest
Derek Forrest is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes hardware news and reviews gaming desktops and laptops.
  • slayfire
    I am glad I bought mine months ago. This is going to complicate buying and selling used water blocks though.
  • mac_angel
    same. I bought my second card on Black Friday. I know that's near the end of November, but I'm pretty sure through shipping, sitting on the shelf, etc, it's the original version. I do plan on going custom loop when I can afford it. These Asus Strix cards can overclock like crazy.
  • jonathan.gorman
    Does anyone know for sure whether the issue is limited to compatibility between these new cards and EK water blocks OR if it's compatibility with all third party blocks? I *assume* it must be with all but if anyone knows for sure that would be very much appreciated. BTW I'm particularly interested to know how things are with the Phanteks block (I've also pinged Phanteks directly via their support email, FB and Twitter accounts to try and get the official line on this).