It's been a bit of a wait since we first saw it at Computex, but Asus finally unveiled the juicy details about its all-new Strix GTX 980 Ti graphics card. This card brings a couple of firsts to the table, but most of the attention is drawn to its cooler.
The Strix GTX 980 Ti comes with a new DirectCU III cooler. This cooler is inspired by design cues from the older DirectCU coolers and is themed with the Strix styling. As such, it has a large heatsink and a handful of heatpipes, two of which are a respectable 10 mm thick, and a triple-fan 0-dB airflow design. When the graphics card is below 65 C, the fans simply won't spin, resulting in quiet operation when idling or with less intensive loads. Of course, the cherry on top is that the side of the cooler has Strix LED lighting, which can be adjusted with various lighting effects.
The PCB of the graphics card is new as well and features a massive 12+2 phase Super Alloy II power delivery circuit. It was built using Asus' industry-first Auto-Extreme fully automated PCB manufacturing process. You can read more about the Auto-Extreme manufacturing here.
Such a PCB design has allowed Asus to bring the GPU clocks up quite high. In OC mode, the GPU runs at a base clock of 1216 MHz, and will typically boost up to around 1317 MHz so long as it is possible within the power and thermal envelopes. The 6 GB of GDDR5 memory is clocked at an effective frequency of 7200 MHz.
Of course, the card isn't exactly what you'd call compact. To keep the card from bending throughout its lifetime (and for aesthetic purposes, of course), Asus equipped the backside with a strengthened Strix-themed backplate and a "GPU Fortifier."
To play around with the card, Asus offers a free download of its GPU Tweak II software, which you can use for quick-and-dirty overclocking, or more fine-tuned overclocking depending on how much patience you have. Additionally, Asus includes a one year license for the XSplit Gamecaster premium software to stream gameplay on-the-fly.
Asus did not reveal pricing, but the card will be on shelves at major retailers this month.