EVGA iCX tech offers a complete picture of graphics card temps

EVGA found itself in a bit of hot water late last year, water heated by insufficiently-cooled PWM circuits and memory chips on some of the company's flagship GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards with ACX 3.0 coolers. To its credit, the company offered card owners help on several fronts, from delivering firmware updates that increased the fan speed under load to sending out thermal pads to connect the hot power delivery and memory components to the heatsink.

To ensure that its GeForces won't suffer from similar issues again, EVGA is now offering GeForce GTX 1060, GTX 1070, and GTX 1080 graphics cards with what the company calls "iCX Technology." The redesigned cards will be most easily identifiable by the SC2, SSC2, and FTW2 monikers.

The iCX badge refers collectively to updated PCB designs with more granular temperature monitoring on board, as well as revised coolers. The new cards sport an extra temperature sensor for the GPU core on top of the unit Nvidia bakes into the chip, three more sensors for the memory chips, and five additional sensors in the power delivery section of the card. The updated cooler keeps the RGB LED lighting from ACX 3.0 cards, but it now has lights that indicate the health status of those three critical temperature zones.

The card also contains a 10A fuse to protect the rest of a users' system from excessive power draw in the event of card failure. The fuse appears to be soldered to the PCB, so field replacement seems unlikely. That being said, an event that leads to blowing the fuse probably calls for more than a fuse replacement.

The extra thermal sensors are managed by "multiple" microcontrollers, and data from the sensors helps determine fan speeds for the pair of spinners individually. One fan's rotation is governed by GPU core temperature, and the other spins in relation to the memory and power delivery thermal conditions. Users can catch a glimpse at all that data using EVGA's Precision XOC software.

The heatsink section of the cooler also has several new features, including holes in the fin array to direct airflow, as well as a blend of half-open and L-shaped fins to increase surface contact area. The company's marketing materials also tout new die-cast backplates and baseplates that make direct contact with "all vital components."

Nine new models are offered in 3GB and 6GB GeForce GTX 1060, GTX 1070, and GTX 1080 flavors. PC Perspective reports the new cards will ring in around $30 more than equivalent ACX 3.0 cards. The site also says an upgrade program will allow skittish owners of current ACX 3.0-equipped GeForce 10-series cards to upgrade to iCX versions for $100.

Although they're out of stock, Newegg already has listings for some of EVGA's latest. The GTX 1080 FTW2 costs $680, while the GTX 1080 SC2 demands $650. The GTX 1070 FTW2 rings in at $470, while the GTX 1070 SC2 knocks $20 off that figure. We presume GTX 1060 iCX cards won't be far behind. 

Comments closed
    • zacharyt1122
    • 3 years ago

    I have 2 FTW 1080’s and have been hesitant to overclock it. My temps have been steady around 60 C but having them in SLI and close to each other has me a little concerned. I have good case flow (in a Corsair 900D) but I’d have peace of mind upgrading it to the iCX. I did the BIOS update though, but not the pads.

    • Shoki
    • 3 years ago

    Is this worth doing? I have a 1070 with the upgraded bios and pads.

      • VincentHanna
      • 3 years ago

      The pads and bios are fine. Overkill actually. All you really ever needed was a custom fan profile, but EVGA went above and beyond, and that’s great.

      This ICX thing is mostly about next time. EVGA has noticed that 1 temp sensor in a GPU apparently doesn’t provide enough information, and could lead to future innovations, but at the end of the day, more sensors and data doesn’t help you, the customer, it helps them, the mfg.

      Save your money until they can take what they’ve learned and build it into the 1170 or the 1270 (or at least until you can articulate an actual need you have that necessitates spending money that isn’t simply based on wanting new toys)

        • PBCrunch
        • 3 years ago

        On the subject of “helping them, the manufacturer” I wonder if all those MCUs log things like highest voltage and highest temperature. I could see a manufacturer implementing something like that and using it as a way to deny warranty coverage.

        Kind of like those OBD-II data monitors that insurance companies use to monitor customers in exchange for “discounts.”

          • VincentHanna
          • 3 years ago

          I find it interesting that you keyed in on that phrase, and not on my use of the word “innovation.” Even so, I think you might have a career waiting for you at apple.

          ^_)^

          • MOSFET
          • 3 years ago

          It could potentially be used to [i<]improve[/i<] warranty coverage...with all the GPU vendors fully aboard the OC bandwagon, I don't see denying coverage in their future plans.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    I’d rather they just made sure the VRM’s had decent contact with a heatplate of sufficient surface area.

    And as funky as the independently-controlled fans sounds, that usually just leads to harmonic vibrations and phasing resonance that is much more obvious to human hearing than a non-phasing sound of the same volume.

      • willmore
      • 3 years ago

      I pointed that out over at PC per. I hope they can provide a recording of the cards in action for spectral analysis.

        • VincentHanna
        • 3 years ago

        EVGA employees read the forums on their site. I’m sure it will be brought up, but if you want it to be addressed, that is easily the best place to do it…

        Though ultimately, if the fan’s harmonics are bothering you, it’s not like modifying a fan profile is rocket science.

          • willmore
          • 3 years ago

          Did you mean the EVGA forums? I don’t think I’ve posted there in years.

      • VincentHanna
      • 3 years ago

      Also, asymetric airflow creates high pressure and low pressure areas that can reduce airflow and cooling efficiency, which isn’t great, and runs counter to the marketing.

      We’ll see.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        Yeah; I’m not professing to be an expert, but I know more about fluid wave behaviour and the mechanics of sound waves than most (was part of my M.Eng degree). Even so, it’s still not something I can easily calculate to say will be better or worse than regular fans running at the same speed.

        All I know for certain is that I have to set adjacent case fans to a very similar speed otherwise I get that super-annoying resonance that phases in and out quite distractingly. These aren’t case fans mounted to a fixed panel though, and they’re effectively frameless too, so I guess we will have to see what the reviews say when it comes out 🙂

        You also sound like you know what you’re talking about. Where does your fluid-dynamics experience come from?

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 3 years ago

          I’d put a significantly faster fan on the GPU. Beat frequency throbbing comes from having two sounds that are almost but not quite the same frequency.

    • ImSpartacus
    • 3 years ago

    I’m kinda impressed.

    They took a “bad” situation and turned it into a way to make money.

    Yay, capitalism.

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      I’d say the new features are easily worth a $30 premium to certain folks. To the rest, just do a better job at designing your cooler in the first place.

        • Kougar
        • 3 years ago

        Sure, for$30 I’d go for it. The ability to spot a failing component that’s overheating before it blows and takes out the entire card is exactly what I could’ve used two months ago. But it’s $100 for owners of the problem-plagued ACX 3.0 cards to swap ’em out.

        The 90 day step up eligibility for iCX upgraded cards is an interesting offer, though the step up program doesn’t normally include Titans or Ti variants so it may be a bit pointless as well.

      • vargis14
      • 3 years ago

      In my opinion EVGA’s FTW and classified cards are the best Nvidia cards with dual and triple bios, build quality is good and they do not take up more then 2 slots.
      plus the 90day upgrade option along with great customer support. They have my thumbs up and business.

    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    Do they have an indicator that tells you when your evga card has caught fire?

      • willmore
      • 3 years ago

      No, but they added an extra chip that would create a toxic smell when such an event happens.

        • BIF
        • 3 years ago

        No, there’s no extra chip. It’s not needed, since they already install the standard “magic smoke”.

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      It’s the siren on the firetruck coming up the street. I mean, that works for Samsung, right?
      Besides (in the US and Canada at least) you’re required to have a smoke detector in your house. Magic smoke sets those off also.

      • eofpi
      • 3 years ago

      No, but BeOS had a syscall for that.

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