Many enthusiasts and gamers have grown to love the outstanding performance of Nvidia’s latest RTX graphics cards. However, there is one aspect that continues to draw dissatisfaction among PC enthusiasts—their enormous size. Frustrated with the bulky design, an inventive individual on Reddit took it upon themselves to make their dream of a sleek, dual slot RTX 4080 a reality. Equipped with a CNC miller and an unwavering determination, they ventured into uncharted territory.
When it comes to Ada Lovelace graphics cards, the one characteristic that stands out is the sheer size of their heatsinks. This is particularly evident in top-end models such as the RTX 4070 Ti, RTX 4080, and RTX 4090. While the latter requires a substantial heatsink due to its power-hungry nature, the former two possess significantly lower power consumption. The RTX 4080, for instance, boasts an official TGP (total graphics power) of 320W. However, many third-party variants on the market feature coolers similar in size to those found on the RTX 4090.
Unsatisfied with the unnecessarily large heatsink, Reddit user TechTaxi decided to take matters into their own hands. Their ingenious approach involved transplanting the cooling system from a Gainward RTX 4070 Ghost OC card onto the circuit board of a Gainward RTX 4080 Phoenix GS. While this plan seemed straightforward in theory, putting it into practice was far from a walk in the park.
A Challenge of Fit
The cooler from the smaller RTX 4070 card did not seamlessly fit the larger PCB of the RTX 4080. Although the mounting holes aligned perfectly, there was simply not enough space beneath the heatsink to accommodate certain components. To overcome this obstacle, TechTaxi called upon their skills with a small CNC unit. With meticulous precision, they milled away the excess material, ultimately achieving their desired result—a dual slot RTX 4080 with the cooling system of an RTX 4070.
By using a PTM7950 thermal pad on the GPU die and Upsiren UX Pro thermal putty on the VRMs and VRAM, TechTaxi improved the heat transfer capabilities of their creation. Admittedly, opting for a smaller heatsink does come with the trade-off of higher temperatures. However, TechTaxi’s figures indicate that their modification remained well within acceptable limits—70°C for the GPU, 81°C for the chip’s hotspot, and 65°C for the VRAM. It’s important to note that these temperatures were achieved by setting the fans to a constant 100% RPM to ensure consistency during testing.
Compared to the Founders Edition RTX 4080, which features a triple-slot cooler, TechTaxi’s modified graphics card ran slightly hotter. However, they managed to mitigate this issue by setting a forced 75% power limit, which further reduced temperatures by 5 to 10 degrees Celsius. As an RTX 4070 Ti user myself, I can attest to the benefits of such a compromise. While the decrease in peak performance may be noticeable, the reduction in temperature and fan noise is a fair trade-off.
The allure of colossal graphics cards is undeniable, but not everyone has a PC case capable of accommodating these behemoths. It is rather surprising that AIB vendors have not explored similar slimming solutions like TechTaxi’s. After all, smaller coolers are not only more space-efficient but also cheaper to manufacture. Although the cost difference may be minimal on an individual card basis, the cumulative effect across numerous units can be substantial.
There is a sense of nostalgia for the era when top-end graphics cards were single slot wonders. However, as power levels have skyrocketed over the years, larger coolers became a necessity. Yet, TechTaxi’s successful venture highlights the fact that they don’t necessarily have to be as massive as they are today. The pursuit of efficiency and innovation should be at the forefront of graphics card design, pushing manufacturers to explore alternative solutions that offer both power and practicality.
TechTaxi’s inventive modification of the RTX 4080 demonstrates the potential for slimming down modern graphics cards. By defying convention and utilizing their skills, they have shown that size does not necessarily dictate performance. The realm of PC hardware welcomes such ingenuity and challenges industry leaders to adopt a more streamlined approach. As the pursuit of slimness continues, we can hope for a future where powerfu