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William George (Product Development)

NVIDIA RTX Graphics Card Cooling Issues

Written on January 11, 2019 by William George


For many years, stacking a computer full of 2, 3, or even 4 NVIDIA graphics cards was a viable option, and ideal for many GPU-compute applications like rendering, color correction, and machine learning. Prior to the RTX series of cards, the "reference" cooler designs from NVIDIA had one fan located near the front of the video card which pulled cool air in, pushed it across the heatsink, and exhausted that now-hot air out the back. Using multiple cards like that only required plenty of fresh air intake into the system, a little space between each card for the fan to breath, and a big enough power supply to keep them all running.

With the launch of the GeForce RTX cards, though, everything changed. This series debuted with dual-fan cooling solutions from NVIDIA, and while multi-fan cards had been available from OEMs in past generations they became the norm with RTX.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition with Single Cooling Fan

NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition with Single Cooling Fan

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition with Dual Cooling Fans

NVIDIA RTX 2080 Founders Edition with Dual Cooling Fans

There are some advantages to this: a single video card can be kept cooler and quieter with two fans, for example... but there are also serious downsides. These coolers do not exhaust heat out the back of the card, instead of recirculating it within the computer's chassis.

Airflow Pattern on GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and RTX 2080 Founders Edition Cards

With a single card, and a decent airflow through the case, that isn't usually a big deal - though it can be a challenge in small form factor systems, which tend to have restricted airflow. Once you move to two video cards, however, you've doubled the amount of heat being pumped back into the system - requiring even more is movement from chassis fans - and also introduced the opportunity for one GPU's fans to pull in already-hot air that just came off the other GPU. Hot air cannot absorb as much additional heat from the GPU as cooler air would, dramatically affecting the temperatures of the video card and leading to increased fan speeds, added noise, and potentially overheating. When video cards get too hot they throttle down their clock speeds to prevent damage, reducing performance.

With enough case fans and ventilation, as well as some space between the video cards, you might be able to get away with two multi-fan cards in a single system... but certainly not more than that. We've tried a full set of four RTX 2080 Founders Edition cards, and they overheat and throttle within minutes of being under load - with the impact felt before even completing a single run through OctaneBench:

OctaneBench 3.08 Showing Performance and Clock Speed Degradation Over Time Running on Quad NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition Video Cards Due to Overheating from Dual Fan Cooling Layout

How widespread is this problem? All of the GeForce RTX 20-series Founders Edition cards from NVIDIA share this dual-fan cooler design, and the recently-released Titan RTX does as well. None of those cards are suitable for multi-GPU use, which is a particular shame in the case of the Titan RTX since its 24GB of video memory make it very appealing (on paper) for GPU-based rendering. Only the Quadro line of "professional" video cards appears to be unaffected, with all announced Quadro RTX models sporting a single fan.

NVIDIA Titan RTX with Dual Cooling Fans

Titan RTX has tons of VRAM, but a cooler unfit for multi-GPU

NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 with Single Cooling Fan

Quadro RTX 6000 has the same specs, with a single cooling fan

Why would NVIDIA do this? It depends on how you want to look at things. From a positive perspective, the dual fan cooler is going to be a better solution for almost all computers equipped with a single video card. It is both quieter and cooler, so long as there is decent airflow to help exhaust the extra heat inside the chassis. I would wager that a large majority of NVIDIA's GeForce customers use just one video card, so from that standpoint it is certainly not a bad way to go. The smaller number of users, often enthusiast gamers, who want two GeForce cards in SLI should be able to build (or buy) computers with additional cooling to handle the heat of two RTX cards.

On the flip side, this change dramatically hurts users who want three or four video cards for use cases like machine learning, GPU-based rendering, and color correction. They are prevented from using any of the Founders Edition cards in this generation, and most painfully cannot use the Titan RTX either. That seems odd since the Titans are traditionally marketed toward more demanding graphics applications. Why would NVIDIA want to cut them out? Well, for years NVIDIA has tried to encourage more "professional" users to purchase Quadro video cards rather than GeForce, or even Titan. Why? Quadro cards cost a lot more, meaning NVIDIA makes a lot more per card. They do also have some nice features: usually more VRAM at a given level of performance, for example, along with official certification for certain programs and ECC memory on higher-end models. There are definitely places where a Quadro card is a far better choice than a GeForce or Titan, but it seems like this cooling layout change may be a way for NVIDIA to push even more users toward cards with bigger profit margins - even if they don't need a Quadro from a compatibility or feature standpoint.

What software needs more than one GPU? Here is a chart showing some of the programs and use cases we have tested here at Puget Systems, and whether they do well with a single video card or are better off with two or more:

Single GPU Applications / Use Cases Multi GPU Applications / Use Cases
Adobe Creative Cloud (PS, LR, PP, AE) Agisoft PhotoScan
Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya, Revit DaVinci Resolve
Dassault Solidworks OTOY OctaneRender
Maxon Cinema 4D Redshift 3D
Pix4D Mapper Chaos Group V-Ray (GPU version)
IrisVR Prospect Machine Learning
Gaming / Game Dev / Virtual Reality GPGPU Computing

Are there ways to work around these cooling issues? Yes and no. In the case of GeForce RTX 20-series cards, OEMs like Asus, Gigabyte, and PNY have put out single-fan, blower-style cards. They may not look as fancy as the Founders Edition models, and you still need to be careful to ensure that there will be some space between each card for the intake fan to breathe, but these are an excellent option for those who want high performance with a relatively low price tag - and who aren't too limited by the 6, 8 or 11GB of video memory found on these cards. They do also tend to be louder under load, but at least they can maintain full performance.

Four Asus Turbo RTX 2080 Video Cards Under Full Load Without Throttling

Four Asus Turbo RTX 2080 Video Cards Under Full Load Without Throttling

Sadly, the Titan RTX is exclusively made by NVIDIA - so no single fan version is available. For users who want multiple GPUs with more than 11GB of VRAM using this generation of technology, the Quadro RTX cards are the only air-cooled option. The Quadro RTX 6000 should have similar performance to a Titan RTX, while equipped with the same 24GB of memory and other added features.

Another option that some might pursue is liquid-cooling, which comes in two varieties. Closed-loop or all-in-one liquid coolers are a single unit with the water block, pump, tubing, and radiator combined - but that is not viable here. Each video card needs its own cooler, and virtually no chassis has space to accommodate four separate radiators in a layout which would provide proper airflow to all of them.

Open-loop or custom liquid cooling is created with individual pumps, water blocks, reservoirs, tubing, and radiators - put together in whatever combination is required for the hardware that the builder wants to cool. This could be set up in such a way that four video cards were cooled, with one or two radiators handling all of them. For someone building a system on their own, with the right tools and expertise, this is a viable option. However, we moved away from offering this type of liquid cooling here at Puget Systems because of complications that arise in shipping and support. There are many potential points of failure in this type of system, and a leak can cause damage to components that aren't covered by manufacturer warranties. Shipping a fully built system across the country with this sort of cooling in place increases the likelihood of a failure, because of the stresses placed on hardware within a system during transit. Moreover, if any parts need to be swapped it is much more difficult to do so with liquid cooling in place. It may be right for some, but for a majority of users, the added cost and complexity of liquid cooling is just not worth it... especially when alternatives are available.

So what is the take away from all this? Graphics cards have different types of cooling available, and you need to be careful to select cards with the right layout for your situation. That means certain video cards are simply not going to be an option for some use cases, like the Titan RTX being unsuitable for multi-GPU configurations. Within today's RTX (Turing architecture) generation of cards, the best performance value is available with GeForce cards using dual fans for an individual card or single fan models for multi-GPU, while high RAM capacities are available with the Titan RTX if you need just a single card or the Quadro RTX series if you want multiple GPUs.

Dual Fan GPU Coolers are Bad for Multi-GPU Workstations

If you are looking for a new workstation and would like advice on this or any other hardware choices, check out our numerous articles and feel free to call or email our consultants for personalized guidance.

Tags: NVIDIA, Multi, GPU, GeForce, GTX, RTX, Titan, Quadro, Performance, Heat, Cooling, Layout, Overheating, Throttling, Single, Dual, Fans, Liquid, Pump, Radiator, Chassis, Video, Card, Blower

Is there already some water-cooling block for Titan RTX? I think, that water cooling would be a nice solution for this issue.

Posted on 2019-01-15 10:03:53

I'm not sure, but if there aren't now I expect there will be soon. That is indeed one of the ways to deal with this, as I mentioned in the next-to-last paragraph of the article above. It does come with a lot of trade-offs, though, and the complications arising from liquid cooling led us to drop that option a few years ago here at Puget Systems. For individuals that have the expertise, time, and patience to do it right, though, it is definitely a solution to NVIDIA's cooling woes :)

Posted on 2019-01-15 17:21:22

You've mentioned that alternatives to water-cooling are available. You've meant blower-style GPUs or there is also something else?

Posted on 2019-01-17 07:28:21

Blower style cards are indeed what I had in mind :)

Sadly, that is not a direct option for the Titan RTX. All of the GeForce RTX cards have blower variants, though, and the Quadro RTX 6000 is a blower style alternative to the Titan.

Posted on 2019-01-17 07:42:54
Andor Kiss

Yes, here: https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Posted on 2019-04-29 14:51:17

If we aren’t worried about warranty or anything, could we just remove the cooling unit from the RTX GeForce cards and create custom air cooling arrangements? Like jet turbines aimed to blow across the front of the cards and out the back? If the limitations of a PC chassis are disregarded, is it theoretically possible, with any arrangement of fans, to provide adequate cooling to a set of four Founders Edition 2080 Ti cards? I had ideas for a system but now I wonder if I’ll be able to cool it. Help!

Posted on 2019-01-22 03:23:21

The cooling fins on the heatsinks found on Founders Edition cards are oriented up/down instead of front/back, so even if you were able to remove the shroud and fans without taking the heatsink off (which I am not sure is possible) the heatsinks themselves would not be ideally situated for front-to-back cooling. Could you make it work? Maybe, if you had a lot of high-pressure & high-airflow fans blowing directly across the cards - and something to channel the airflow, to make sure it went where you wanted and didn't just deflect off the cards... but that would be a lot of work to set up and test, especially with a good chance that it still wouldn't work. And given the price tag of the 2080 Ti cards, I wouldn't want to miss out on warranties for over $5k of GPUs.

Instead, if you just purchase blower-style cards instead the whole thing becomes much easier. You still need to make sure the chassis you use has sufficient airflow directed toward the cards to feed the cooling fans, but they will exhaust the majority of the heat they make instead of pumping it back into the system. Right now, 2080 blower cards are not hard to find - but 2080 Ti blower cards are in short supply (at least here in the US). Hopefully that supply will get better as time goes by.

Posted on 2019-01-22 17:09:04

Thanks, I’m looking at some other options now. Am I right in thinking that the only companies manufacturing blower-style 2080 Ti cards are Zotac, PNY, ASUS, and Gigabyte? If I were to set up a two-card open-air system, would it be feasible for one of the cards to be blower and the other to be a Founder’s Edition, for example? Or should they both be blower?

Posted on 2019-01-23 08:31:54

If you are just doing 2 cards, in open air, and there will be space between them (at least 1 unoccupied PCI-E slot)... you might be able to get away with both of them being Founders / dual-fan cards. Maybe. Open-air setups are a little different than a normal chassis when it comes to cooling - some things are better (it isn't enclosed) but others are worse (there isn't directed airflow from chassis fans). I would still say two blowers is ideal, since that will force the hot air away from the system and components better than the dual-fan models do - but if you already have a Founders card or something then you could give a shot to one blower and one dual-fan. I would put the dual-fan in the "lower" slot, allowing it more area to draw air in from for its fans, I think.

As for which OEMs are producing blower cards, you listed most of the ones I am aware of with this generation... but I think EVGA also lists RTX cards with that type of fan.

Posted on 2019-01-23 16:46:16

Since I am really only interested in rendering, I’ll see if I can’t load up on 1080 Ti cards for cheap. They’re just fine for my purposes. I’ve heard the cards get slower over time. Do you have an idea how much?

Posted on 2019-01-25 07:32:25

Slower over time, as from the beginning to end of a single render? If that is what you are talking about, it is true that most modern video cards have "turbo" features where they will start off at a clock speed above what their normal, advertised, "base" clock speed is - and then once they warm up, they drop down a bit. Even with cards that are well cooled and not overheating, there will usually be a small drop like that... of maybe a few percent. If cards get too hot, as in the case of dual-fan cards stacked next to each other, they can overheat and begin thermal throttling to speeds far below their designed clock speed. We saw a drop of over 30% in overall performance that way, which is part of why we advise against such coolers for that particular situation.

If you mean over much longer periods of time, months or years, that is something I have never tested for. I suppose there could be some lingering effects on the internal components of video cards after they have been in heavy use for extended time periods, but I do not know of any studies on that. Some simple Google searching seemed to indicate that the GPU itself shouldn't slow down, but that wear over time will increase the chance of an eventual hardware failure. Also, OS and application bloat over time (from updates and more stuff running in the background) can slow general computer performance - which is why some folks like to periodically reinstall their OS, or if a system is mission critical they will usually keep any unnecessary software off the computer.

Posted on 2019-01-25 17:02:47

So, what about https://www.youtube.com/wat... ? Does that mean I can use two non-blower 2080 Ti s if they are spaced four slots apart?

Posted on 2019-02-23 03:37:55

With sufficient airflow inside the chassis (particularly exhaust) you can sometimes get away with two multi-fan / non-blower GPUs as long as they have at least one, and ideally two, slots separating the cards. Here at Puget, our policy is that we will do it in situations where there is a side fan right above the GPUs for added cooling... without that, you would need a lot of air movement from other case fans, but it is hard to ensure it gets directed as needed.

Any more than two cards, or even with just two if they have to be next to each other or the chassis isn't ideal, and it is definitely better to go with blowers.

Posted on 2019-02-25 17:19:43

I’m looking at the Matrix 2080 Ti now. Asus says they work fine even when crammed together. I’ll have to wait and see when it comes out.

Posted on 2019-02-26 02:28:37

Wow, that card looks like a beast. So it's... liquid cooling, integrated right into the card's shroud? That is pretty trippy. I've never seen or used one in person, but just thinking through things:

1) It still vents all (or at least most) of its heat back into the computer
2) It looks to be wider than normal - around 3 PCI-E slots, while most high-end video cards are 2 slots wide
3) It is also taller than normal - sticking up above the slot bracket by 1-2 inches.

So having these cards "crammed together" would mean two at most anyway, because of the added width, and depending on your motherboard's slot layout they would be either next to each other or with one slot between them. I would certainly expect them to be fine with a slot in between, and given the novel cooling method they might even be okay right next to each other... but I would rather not try, personally.

And even then, what does that gain you? Because they are so wide they are going to be limited to two cards in a system anyway, so you could just as easily use two less-expensive 2080 Ti cards and leave plenty of space between them. Or bet blower-style cards and be able to put in 3 or 4 if you want, if you are doing something that scales well across lots of GPUs.

Posted on 2019-02-26 17:01:26

I’m kind of trying to avoid using more than two 2080 Ti’s in a single system as power supplies over 1000W scare me (perhaps this is a groundless fear?). Also, I’ve heard blowers have a hard time keeping the 2080 Ti chip cool as it runs so hot. If I decide to go the airflow route, do you think two ZT-T20810D-10P cards would run well on a WS Z390 Pro board (on the first and third x16 slots)?

Posted on 2019-02-27 03:58:32

I don't think that there is anything to worry about with higher wattage power supplies. I will note that at the 1600W level there are specialized, thicker power cables from the wall to the PSU, to handle the increased electricity, so that is kind of annoying... but the PSU should come with the cable, so it isn't a huge deal.

As for two of those multi-fan cards, if you put them in slots 1 and 5 (the two lighter grey x16 size slots, running at x16 and x8 respectively if I am correct) then you should be okay - provided that the chassis you use has lots of airflow, specifically focused around the GPUs. A side fan is ideal for that, in my opinion, and I would even experiment with the fan as intake vs exhaust to see which results in cooler temps with your overall configuration.

Posted on 2019-02-27 22:08:57

The two lighter-grey slots are actually both full x16 slots. Not x8. The board has a PCI-E switch allowing more lanes of communication.

Posted on 2019-02-28 04:19:55
3d Edge

I was about to build a system using 2 x nVIDIA RTX 2080Ti cards and so happy I found your blog. After a bit of research and according to my supplier the ASUS TURBO-RTX2080TI-11G card is a blower type, have you had any experience with this card or any further info to advise that it's definitely a blower type (front/back - rear ventilated)?

Posted on 2019-01-31 00:17:07

Yes, the Asus Turbo cards are blowers and exhaust their heat out the back. However, a word of caution: RTX 2080 Ti cards in general seem to be more prone to failures than the lower-end cards in this generation. We have encountered this on different models of cards and there are quite a few reports online of premature failures as well. Hopefully it doesn't impact you, but I would recommend thoroughly testing the cards under load before you start depending on them for production work. Good warranties / return policies are also helpful.

It sounds like you might be building your own system, but if you are looking for a prebuilt one I'll put in a shameless plug and say that we here at Puget Systems do a pretty good job catching these sorts of failures before they get to customers, but if they do slip through we are also quick to replace failed components so that users can keep getting their work done :)

Posted on 2019-01-31 15:35:49

Why not just put some exhaust fans in the side cover of the case? That avoids the recirculation issue. I might not be pretty, but computers that need 4 GPUs usually aren't entered in a beauty contest.

Posted on 2019-01-31 19:04:00

We found that a good size side fan (140mm is what we were using) was enough to allow use of two of the top-exhausting cards, but more than that was still problematic. I'm not sure if there is any amount of side exhaust that would be enough, since we encountered severe throttling even on open-air testbeds (where there was no "side" to trap heat in, the video card fans were free to just blow heat up and out of the way). But if you absolutely had to use three or four of the dual-fan cards, maximizing the side fan(s) performance to get the heat from the cards out as fast as possible would be something worth trying.

Posted on 2019-02-01 17:29:38

A piece of the problem is just plain old power density. Four of those things add up to a kilowatt. Add in a big CPU and you are looking at a hair dryer that you want to run at full power but still blow only slightly warm air. Now that they finally appear to be somewhat available it seems like the MSI SEA Hawk EK X coupled with at least a pair of 360mm radiators would be a tidy solution to the problem if you really have a task that needs all that GPU power.

Posted on 2019-02-01 17:59:25
Derek C

I've always wondered about the benefits of open-air cases - say a Thermaltake P-series that is open. Would these not provide better cooling given there is little in the way of restriction that you'd otherwise get with a traditional closed case? Mount a few 120/140mm fans and blow over the cards with the heat exhausting away from the system. Curious your thoughts @wiWilliam M George Downside is noise, or course - but let's ignore that for now.

Posted on 2020-02-25 17:42:45

I haven't ever used one of those vertical, open-air cases (the open-air testbeds we use here are horizontal)... but it seems like they would be less likely to trap heat in the way a traditional, closed chassis can. As long as the hot air gets away from the other components, some combination of natural convection and help from fans, I would think it should be fine... I just don't have any hands-on experience to verify that. I can say that even in our open test beds, though, we still don't like to use multi-fan cards right next to each other due to the potential for throttling. I am doing some testing right now with quad 2080 Ti cards, and got some of the blower-style from our inventory specifically for this project.

Posted on 2020-02-25 19:10:58
Derek C

Very cool. I just ran your 4K and 8K tests on an open air system using DR ( - Thermaltake P-series case, Ryzen 9 3950X, 32GB 3600 RAM, (both safely over-clocked) on an ASRock X570 Creator MB (needed Thunderbolt 3) using an air cooler on the CPU. Titan GTX GPU - single. 4K overall score 1214, 8K overall score 1164. Both quite respectable. Interested to see how dual Titan GTX would perform! :)

Posted on 2020-02-25 20:54:08

Luckily a lot of card makers are also making single fan blower variants for multi-card setups. MSI, ASUS etc https://www.asus.com/us/Gra...

Posted on 2019-02-03 21:44:57

Indeed! I'm doing some quad GPU rendering tests with four RTX 2080 cards from Gigabyte right now. Just gotta have the right tool for the job :)

Posted on 2019-02-05 17:19:55

hor did the Gigabytes in your tesdts?

Posted on 2019-11-16 15:54:53

The Gigabyte blower-style cards did just fine, though I don't remember if I ended up using the results in any articles we published.

Posted on 2019-11-18 17:29:27
Xuehao Zhang

Stop spreading false information and please do not talk about something you have no clue of without any first hand experience.
Blower cards have always had the worst performance, Like all previous reference models (Founders Edition now they call it). Viedo card TDP has gone from 130 watt all the way to over 350 watt (some non reference card like HOF series) over the years, Nvidia ditched the blower design not because they favor single card solutions, But rather it could not keep up with the TDP.
This problem was already prominent on 980 Ti and 1080 Ti. Even in a well ventilated full tower case like Corsair 760T, FE 1080 Ti can hit 83C easily when loaded, While not throttling it was severly limiting its performance. For reference, Open air cooled 1080 Ti like ASUS Strix can hit 2000MHz turbo while the FE is stuck at 1600MHz due to hitting the thermal limit, You will see a staggering 20% performance difference between two cards. The gap will likely be bigger in other poorly ventilated cases like NZXT S340. And it is not just performance, FE cards are also extremely loud and won't last as long because of such high temperature.
This problem onlo gets worse with RTX cards, So bad that Nvidia ditched blower design completely. While there are 2080 Ti blower cards available like ASUS 2080 Ti turbo, But I guarantee you won't like them. They are extremely loud and hot and can barely run at stock speed with just a single card, And you think putting 4 of them together with zero spacing is a great idea?
If you want to run 3 cards or more, Not open air not blower design, Custom liquid cooling is the only way to go, End of story.

Posted on 2019-03-19 14:19:15

It is you who are mistaken here, sir, not me. I'm hesitant to be so blunt, but I don't see a better way to respond in this situation. I want to address a few of your most glaringly false claims in particular:


Quote 1: "Stop spreading false information and please do not talk about something you have no clue of without any first hand experience."

Response: I'm sorry, but you had me laughing out loud here. "Without any first hand experience"? What do you suppose all of our articles here on Puget Systems are based on? We do this testing and analysis here, in house, first hand... and then we write about it, to help our customers and the general PC community. I've been working here at Puget for over 13 years, across production, consulting, and now research & development. I have a LOT of first hand experience, so that opening line of yours was laughable. I had to address this first, though, so that any other readers will understand that I know what I am talking about.

Citation: https://www.pugetsystems.co...


Quote 2: "If you want to run 3 cards or more, Not open air not blower design, Custom liquid cooling is the only way to go, End of story."

Response: We have used four blower-style RTX series cards stacked together and they do a very good job of maintaining speed even under full load for extended periods of time. Far better than multi-fan cards. We published this information in another article that was linked to above, but I will link it again here:

Citation: https://www.pugetsystems.co...


Quote 3: "This problem only gets worse with RTX cards, so bad that NVIDIA ditched blower design completely."

NVIDIA did move their GeForce RTX "Founders Edition" and Titan RTX cards to dual-fan cooling designs, but they did *not* move the Quadro RTX series. That line includes the RTX 6000 and RTX 8000 which provide specs and performance on par with the Titan RTX, but have a single-fan, blower-style cooler. They also cost many times more than the Titan, which itself is far more expensive than any of the GeForce cards. Why would NVIDIA leave a lower-quality cooler on their top-end, professional graphics products if it meant those cards, as you put it, "won't last as long"? Reliability is a huge focus of the Quadro line, and multi-thousand-dollar cards failing because of inadequate cooling would be a huge scandal - so that clearly cannot be true.

Citation: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

The Quadro series cards are also routinely used in multi-GPU workstations from many system integrators, and in fact are NVIDIA's preferred cards for such usage - probably because they make so much more money off them than the GeForce models. I'm even suspicious that part of the reason they moved the consumer-oriented cards to dual-fan designs was to discourage their use in 3+ card configurations, encouraging users who need that to move to the more profitable Quadro line.


Now you did make a fair point that factory-overclocked variants of cards - which push past NVIDIA's heat and power ratings, and in some cases even exceed the PCI-Express standard of a 300W maximum for add-on cards - may not be able to be adequately cooled by a single-fan design. For that matter, many of those have moved to massive triple-wide heatsink designs... which again, prevent usage of more than a couple of them in a given computer.

With a single card in a system by itself, the multi-fan models will generally run quieter as well. But if you try to stack them and put them all under full load, they end up even louder than the single-fan models like the Asus Turbo series you mentioned... after all, there are more fans there to ramp up and thus more potential to generate noise when temps get too high. And even then, at least with the multi-fan cards we have tested, they still throttle horribly. Getting heat away from the cards is paramount in a multi-GPU system, and rear-exhaust cards do that very well - while multi-fan cards fail to do so in any meaningful way.

Lastly, you mentioned custom liquid-cooling - which is another option, but adds a lot of complexity and cost to a system. That complexity makes things like swapping out hardware for troubleshooting or upgrades extremely difficult for the vast majority of end-users. Full liquid-cooling also makes systems much more fragile, which is a problem for shipping systems around the country (as we do here at Puget), and even the smallest leak can compromise cooling and damage other components. It just turned out to be a poorer customer experience than what we wanted to provide, which is why we don't offer it any longer. For folks with the right expertise, building their own system, it is certainly a viable option. Even then, though, you have to be careful to have radiators providing cooling in-between some of the cards, or even splitting them into a couple of separate loops, to help get rid of the heat they generate before it impacts the other cards in the system.

Posted on 2019-03-19 16:35:37
Xuehao Zhang

I never said putting multiple open air cooled cards into one system, You are putting your words into my mouth, I simply told you four blower cards do not work because they never did. They don't work on an open test bench let alone inside a case, This has been the case since the first Titan release. Your citation does not quite mention what temperature your " four blower-style RTX series cards" runs at so they are pretty pointless.
You do know just like Pascal cards, Touring cards overclock themselves beyond the "stock speed" until they either hit the thermal limit or power limit right? With that said, Running poorly air cooled cards will severely limiting their performance, But you do not want to mention that, Or you just did not know.
Quadro cards uses blower design because they have a lower TDP comparing to GeForce counterparts, I bet you did not know that too. Rest is just laughable how you trying to so hard to justify using the worst RTX cards in irresponsible products because you can not come up with a better cooling solution.
You do realize whatever you say here, You can not change the truth that RTX 2080 Ti blower cards overheat and run extremely loud. There are tons of people out there build their own computers who are going to calling BS on your lies, Just look at reviews on websites like Newegg and Amazon written by actual buyers.

Posted on 2019-03-19 19:45:04

I would check out this post looking directly at 1x and 4x GPU configurations using both the dual fan and blower-style coolers: https://www.pugetsystems.co... . In that testing, the Founders Edition RTX 2080 was about 6% faster in a single GPU configuration. In a 4x GPU configuration, they end up being around 25% slower than the blower-style coolers after 30 minutes of load since they cannot exhaust the heat out of the system.

I think what it comes down to is that each style has it's place. If you are only using a single card and have decent chassis airflow around the GPU, the dual fan coolers are terrific as they have more cooling potential in that situation. Since that is the kind of setup they are intended for, that allows the manufacturer be a bit more aggressive on the clock speeds. Once you start to restrict that airflow (whether it is from stacking cards or using a compact chassis that doesn't have good exhaust), however, they start to hit their thermal limits very quickly. In that case, it doesn't matter how much faster those cards are clocked at since a blower-style cooler is always going to be better at getting rid of the heat more effectively, which allows them to run at their rated clocks for a longer period of time. This is why we typically use the dual fan coolers in a single GPU configuration, but swap over to the blower-style cards when we get into multi-GPU configurations.

Something else to keep in mind is that just looking at the GPU temperature isn't going to tell you the whole story. Different cards have different fan profiles, so what is more important than temperature (or fan speed for that matter) is the clock frequency the card is running at. For example, you could have one card that is configured to run the fans at 100% at 70C and another that is set to run at 100% at 90C. If the cards don't start to thermally throttle until 95C (I'm not sure what the actual number is), then is it really a bad thing that the second card may run hotter? Performance would be the same on both cards, but if anything that second card would be quieter since the fan profile isn't as aggressive.

Posted on 2019-03-19 20:25:56

Again, you are greatly misinformed on several points:


Quote 1: "I simply told you four blower cards do not work because they never did. They don't work on an open test bench let alone inside a case..."

Response: You are completely wrong on this point. Numerous system builders have offered and continue to offer quad GPU workstations, using blower-style cards. We do, and we have many customers in the field actively using such systems right now. Here is an example of one we just built and shipped out last month:

Color Image | Thermal Image (under load)

It looks like the Asus GeForce RTX 2080 Ti cards in that system topped out around 85C under load, but at that temp they were not throttling below base frequencies and the fans were not maxed-out... so the cards still had additional headroom for cooling, if they got even hotter.

To cite another source, check out this workstation by BOXX which advertises up to four Quadro RTX 6000 or 8000 video cards as options:

Citation: https://www.boxx.com/Files/...

Which leads nicely into the next issue...


Quote 2: "Quadro cards uses blower design because they have a lower TDP comparing to GeForce counterparts..."

Nope, false. Sure, a low-end Quadro has lower TDP than a high-end GeForce - but you can invert that and a low-end GeForce also has less TDP than a high-end Quadro. And at the high end, how do they compare?

GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB Founders Edition: 260W Graphics Card Power (source: https://www.nvidia.com/en-u... - click "View Full Specs")

Titan RTX 24GB: 280W TDP (source: https://www.nvidia.com/en-u... - click "View Full Specs")

Quadro RTX 6000 24GB: 295W Max Power Consumption (source: https://www.nvidia.com/en-u...

The Titan and Quadro RTX 6000 in particular are a telling comparison, since they share the same chip design, core specs, and RAM capacity... and they are only 15W apart on the listed power usage, with the Quadro actually being the higher of the two. I am not certain if NVIDIA is taking into account the Turbo functionality when they list the Titan at 280W, but regardless these cards are in the same ballpark on performance and power usage - so heat output under load will be similar as well, and the Quadro gets away with a single blower fan and does just fine. And as pointed out above, multiple companies offer configurations with four of those exact video cards running next to each other. They are built to work in that setup, and they do their job.


I could keep going, as there are other incorrect statements in your post, but I think that will suffice to show that you are mistaken. No matter how passionate you may feel about this - and I don't doubt your sincerity! - the truth is that there are many single-fan, blower-style video cards which work very well in quad GPU workstation systems.

Posted on 2019-03-19 21:43:22

I agree, this Asian idiot is full of it.
I run many open and blower type cards on my benches, and they work fine, all well past their boost specs.
Perhaps he's living closer to hell, where the temperatures interfere with the performance?
I run all my cards power limited to 140-170Watts, and still get the same performance out of them as at full power levels, with only 75% of the heat.

Posted on 2019-03-31 12:31:04

Would it be reasonable to have 2 rtx titans in gpu slots 1 and 3 and 2 more rtx titans attached to the motherboard via PCI-E riser cables? Beyond having to upgrade the psu. I think with sufficient fans the cooling should be okay.

Posted on 2019-03-30 07:25:31

I guess that depends on a few things:

1) How far apart do the cards end up being? Multi-fan designs really need at least one empty slot between the cards, without even taking the overall heat situation into account.

2) Where do those additional GPUs on riser cables end up? If they are still inside the same chassis, then overall heat will still likely end up being a problem. If they are outside or in a separate chassis with its own cooling... maybe? The only way to know for sure would be to try it out, I guess, but at that point if it has problems then you've already invested in the hardware.

Posted on 2019-04-01 16:27:07

I combine one blower fan card, placed above an open fan card, that will help extract heat from the open fan card.
So I alternate between designs.
The only con is, that the blower fan is often 10C higher in temp, with a near to 80-100% fan speed, while the open cooler can run at 30-50% fan speed.

I'm also worried on the blower type fan failing at some point; and no replacements being available.

Posted on 2019-03-31 12:16:17

Huh, that is a really interesting approach to this cooling issue - I'm glad to hear that works for you!

Posted on 2019-04-01 16:22:35
Andor Kiss

We just encountered this issue with a pair of TITANs that we wanted to use for GPU computing. We're going to likely go the liquid cooling route. This is one of the stupidest decisions that nVIDIA has made in recent years - the TITANs were designed to be used in a SLI configuration.

Posted on 2019-04-29 14:49:25
Andor Kiss

Realistically, nVIDIA should make liquid-cooling an option for these units - officially.

Posted on 2019-04-29 17:11:59

Great post! I've been dealing with this problem for a couple of years now, building with 1080 TIs (for deep learning purposes). Used all-in-one liquid cooling (card with built in liquid cooler) and only up to 3 cards to overcome the heat issue. Those liquid cooled cards are hard to find though and cost much more than just a blower one. Also after 1-2 years they start to leak a little bit.

So now I plan to build a machine with 2080TIs ( using this blower style one - GV-N208TTURBO-11GC ) and add a Noctua 3000 fan right in front of the cards (inside the case). Do you have any experience with those cards and have you tried to push a strong fan right in front of the cards?

Posted on 2019-06-20 09:39:18

We've been using the original version (rev 1) of those cards for a while, with pretty good results in multi-GPU situations:


We are in the midst of qualifying the rev 2 variant, which has some improvements, and from everything I've heard so far I think it should work very well. They are a bit on the noisier side, as modern video cards go, but that seems to be due to more aggressive cooling profiles - which is a good thing in multi-GPU situations.

I don't have any personal experience putting a fan directly in front of these in a tower chassis, but making sure that you have plenty of airflow into the system is important - to balance out all the exhaust these cards (plus any case fans that blow outward) generate. We usually do that with a couple front intake fans and often times a side intake as well, but it really depends on your chassis and other hardware.

Posted on 2019-06-20 15:41:06