A Closer Look
ASUS has completely redesigned their thermal solution. It uses six heatpipes which no longer make direct contact with the GPU surface, but use an intermediate heatspreader instead.
The heatsink base has been polished to a mirror finish, which ASUS claims will improve heat transfer. My personal opinion, and I have no data on that, is that as long as the base is flat, heat transfer will be fine.
Also new is this die-cast baseplate, which cools memory chips and VRM circuitry. It reinforces the card at the same time, protecting it against warping and sagging.
The backplate is made out of metal and has an RGB LED module that illuminates the ROG logo.
ASUS has certified their fans to be IP5X rated, which means they should be more dust-proof. This will help improve the fan bearings' longevity.
Near the back of the card, you'll find two black fan connectors that are in sync with the GPU's fans. We have seen this "FanConnect" feature before, on recent ASUS STRIX cards. Now, it has been improved so that fan speed can be set to a fixed or dynamically adjusted value, according to your CPU's temperature or the higher of the CPU's and GPU's temperatures. This feature requires software installation, though. If you choose to not install the software, the fans will be controlled by the GPU's temperature, just like in the previous version of FanConnect.
To the left of the two fan headers is a red RGB Header, which is Aura RGB lighting compatible and will be used in conjunction with the ASUS ROG SLI HB Bridge, which is shipping soon.
ASUS has also included what look to be solder OC tweaking points. They are not marked, so it'll be up to the overclockers to figure out what they do.
ASUS has upgraded the power input of their GTX 1080 to two 8-pins. This input configuration is specified for up to 375 watts of power draw.
The uPI uP9511P is the same voltage controller as on the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070.
The GDDR5X memory chips are made by Micron and are marked with "D9VRL," which decodes to MT58K256M321JA-110. They are specified to run at 1375 MHz (11,000 MHz GDDR5X effective).
NVIDIA's GP102 graphics processor is the company's second-largest chip using the Pascal architecture. It is produced on a 16 nm process at TSMC, Taiwan, with a transistor count of 12 billion and a die size of 471 mm².