In this section we will explore the changes that GIGABYTE have made at the PCB and cooling department of the GTX 680.
Here we have the standard Kepler GK104 die flanked by eight Hynix GDDR5 memory modules in a 256-bit configuration. Like its CPU and GPU counterparts, the overclocking headroom and even core/shader count is determined by the ASIC quality of the chip, and on the GTX 680 the integrated GPU Boost ceiling (read: dynamic TDP throttle) is especially tied closely to it.
Over at the VRM area we are pleased to report that the card has all the 5 power phases soldered (instead of 4 on reference cards), which is a 25% increase in potential. GIGABYTE reused the Richtek RT8802A PWM which was on the original design.
To take care of the rated 195W of TDP, GIGABYTE has employed their "WindForce 3X" direct touch copper heatpipe cooler, which is actually similar in design to the ASUS's DirectCU II (they share the same heatsink OEM, Cooler Master). Each of the three 80mm PWM capable fans are rated up to 0.35A at 12V. There is also a dedicated heatsink for the MOSFETs and the whole cooler is secured to the card by only four screws.