It's not practical to cool a graphics card with LN2, but for professionals who like to push the boundaries in search of benchmarking records (as opposed to us regular folk who are simply looking for a free performance gain), practicality goes right out the window. So it goes with a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition that was overclocked to 2.481GHz on LN2 en route to a new 3DMark record.
Renowned overclocker "Kingpin" is responsible for pushing the card way past its stock 1,480MHz base clockspeed, and even its 1,582MHz boost clock, WCCFTech reports (opens in new tab). While testing the card, it at times boosted above 2.5GHz. He also overclocked the 11GB of GDDR5X memory from 11GHz (effective) to 12.5GHz.
Even though LN2 was used, the neat thing about this overclock is that it shows even the Founders Edition has headroom. That's not to say anyone is going to reach 2.5GHz on air—that's not going to happen—it's just an impressive showing for a card that sticks to Nvidia's reference blueprint.
Pushing 11GB of memory so far past stock is also impressive. At reference, the GTX 1080 Ti already hits 484 GB/s of memory bandwidth.
At around 2.5GHz on LN2, the overclocked card hit a rated pixel fill rate of 197.4 GPixel/s and a texture fill rate of 612.7 GTexel/s.
Kingpin plopped the card in an EVGA X99 series motherboard. It was accompanied by an Intel Core i7-6950X processor overclocked to 5.1GHz and 32GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory clocked at 3200MHz.
That system set a new 3DMark Time Spy benchmark record with a score of 13,291 points. The previous record was set by a Titan X (Pascal) graphics card at 2.3GHz, which scored 12,316.
Part of the reason the card is able to overclock so well is because it sports a high-end printed circuit board (PCB). In our time spent testing the GTX 1080 Ti, we observed some impressive overclocking chops as well, though obviously nothing crazy like what can be obtained with exotic cooling. It will be interesting to see what Nvidia's hardware partners are to achieve using their own custom cooling solutions.