There’s nothing quite like liquid cooling when it comes to the wow factor and performance potential. Adding a little nostalgic design into the mix certainly helps too. Whether MSI realizes it or not, the RTX 3080 Sea Hawk X looks moderately similar to the beloved design of the GTX 10 Series Founder’s Edition cards. Call it inspiration, perhaps.
The similarities end there though, because this beast of a graphics card manages well over double the performance of the mighty 1080 Ti in some games when running at 4K resolution. And that’s without DLSS. Seeing as this model from MSI sports a small factory overclock and a comprehensive cooling solution as well, the gaming performance is surely as much of a sight to behold as the sleek design.
Of course, it won’t be easy to actually find one of these. Not for a reasonable price at least. Still, that shouldn’t stop us from giving MSI credit for the engineering accomplishments achieved here. While MSI has been guilty of some poorly implemented designs in its various products in the past, its recent graphics cards have been top notch. The Gaming X Trio certainly comes to mind, and my time testing that product line left me very impressed. Judging by the specs overview for the RTX 3080 Sea Hawk X, this should be another excellent product from MSI.
Obviously this water-cooled card has some unique advantages over air cooled options, but liquid circulation doesn’t automatically mean it will dissipate heat better. The Sea Hawk is a hybrid design, meant to offer the best of both worlds without being difficult to set up. This means it still uses a heatsink and a little air cooling to keep thermals under control. The “abundance of thermal pads” on the board plus a good copper base plate are also necessary. The latter provides direct contact with the GPU processor and memory modules, which are obviously critical components.
The Sea Hawk then utilizes the liquid to fully extract the heat from the area around the base plate and remove it from graphics card housing. You’ll notice the liquid lines go to a beefy (and necessary) 240mm radiator, and it’s all powered by the latest Asetek pump. MSI uses two 120mm TORX 4.0 fans to apply pressure into the radiator to complete that part of the heat dissipation process. Meanwhile, the blower fan on the card sends air through the graphics card and blows additional heat directly out of your case in the back. I’ve used similar designs, and the dual systems work incredibly well together.
All of this will net you a graphics card that not only stays consistently cool for better boost clocks, but also a potentially longer lifespan. Speaking of which, the product warranty from MSI is good for three years if you are considering picking up one of these pricey units. You’ll definitely want to respect that warranty too, which means no overclocking before then if you’re trying to minimize risk. With that being said, MSI has already done some of the work for you. This GPU features a factory overclock from 1710MHz up to 1785MHz on the boost clock.
With killer looks and performance, it’s always easy to recommend GPUs like the MSI RTX 3080 Sea Hawk X. You can learn more on MSI’s website. However, if you like AMD, you might check out the similarly designed Sapphire 6900 XT Toxic.