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GTX 980 SLI - Reference Exhaust or Aftermarket Air?

Darthmullet
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I'm going to be getting a pair of GTX 980's sometime soon, and I'm wondering if I should go for the reference blower design or wait for the custom cooled variants to come out. I prinicpally wonder because there won't be a lot of space between the cards.

 

I'm using an Asus Z97 Pro which has two PCIe 3.0 x16 lanes (x8 x8 in SLI). In this picture they are the left most

 

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/fullimage.php?image=59627

 

Two 980's next to each other may provide a problem with the after market fans and dissipating the heat, at least that's what I'm worried about.

 

I have a Corsair Air 540 case, and my 4790k is cooled by a Corsair h110. The radiator is mounted as top exhaust. All of my case fans are Silverlight APs (3x 120mm intake, 2x 140mm top exhaust, 2x 120mm rear exhaust) so I have pretty good airflow in the case. The bottom two front intakes will be blowing air directly onto the graphics cards.

 

My amateur diagram

 

post-143943-0-33632000-1411755385.png

 

So, which style of cooler do you think would work best? I'll be overclocking these as much as possible.

 

Full System:

 

Asus Z97 Pro [wifi-ac]

Intel Core i7 4790k @ 4.5 Ghz

Corsair H110

Corsair Vengeance 1866 Mhz x32 GB DDR3

Corsair Air 540 w/ Silverstone AP 120 x5, 140 x2

Corsair AX1500i PSU

Samsung 840 EVO 

WD Green HDD's x2

Bluray & USB 3.0 5.25" drive bays

post-143943-0-33632000-1411755385.png

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I would say the reference blower style if they are going to be close together. but don't listen to me, i'm always wrong

wow, thats a lot of bees!

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on the asus pro board you have triple space between the first and second PCIE slots so you plenty of room between the cards. 

 

Also, that is a good case for air flow so you should be fine with either option.

 

I would base your decions around style, price and overclockabity, what your desired end result is to be.

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I would say the reference blower style if they are going to be close together. but don't listen to me, i'm always wrong

 

Are they close together? They tend to be for 4-way SLI builds but 2 way tends to be OK.

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I have my two 770's with ACX coolers in my Air 540 and they won't run extremely hot. You'll have enough space between them with direct airflow for it to not be something to worry about, so you can use either model and be fine. If you're really worried about heat, go with the reference coolers. But I'm just saying from experience, with mild overclocked on my 770's, nothing ever heats up passed 80C on my video cards.

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