Home / Channel / EVGA Kingpin GTX1080ti samples refused unless tested with LN2 (only)

EVGA Kingpin GTX1080ti samples refused unless tested with LN2 (only)

Yesterday one of our news team Damien Cox wrote a story on the new EVGA GTX1080ti Kingpin card. The excitment for this card seems so high that we have been bombarded with emails and comments on our social media about KitGuru getting one to review. This card may be priced at $1,000, but there are clearly plenty of KitGuru readers interested in buying a sample.

We contacted EVGA about getting a sample for review and their reply indicated that they would only be sampling press who strictly use LN2 (Liquid Nitrogen). Its the first time we have heard a marketing executive state that Liquid nitrogen was a prerequisite for reviewing a graphics card.

Jan Jonas – EVGA marketing executive expanded in email “As for the KINGPING, we request to review it with LN2, as this card is expecially designed for extrem OC and show its strong side there. Would you be able to test it with LN2 only?”.

So this would indicate that not only do EVGA want LN2 results but they don’t want us to publish any test data from their supplied triple fan cooling solution. We are well known for delivering a lot of fine detail and analysis in our graphics card reviews, but surely this wouldn’t be a possible issue?

World class overclockers such as 8Pack use LN2 on a regular basis – there is no doubt it can deliver some incredible results with capable hardware so we understand the point Jan is making, but do any of the buying public interested in this card actually use LN2? What about that triple fan cooler that EVGA are bundling with the card?

As Damien said last night on KitGuru ‘The first thing that stands out is the iCX cooling system, that packs a mouthful of features to keep the card as cool as possible. It consists of an edge-plated PCB with a vented heatsink and efficient heatpipe layout, while the die-cast baseplate and backplate are paired with directed airflow chambers that stem from the trio of fans, helping to disperse heat effectively.’

Is there not a viable reason to be analysing this cooler as part of the package EVGA are selling? If the card is designed strictly only for LN2, then would it not make more sense to ditch the air cooler completely and drop the price or supply a cheap cooler that can be used for pre testing and then easily removed? If you are benchmarking with LN2 its going to be immediately redundant and an expense you don’t need. EVGA do focus on the capabilities of their air cooler in the press releases.

This is a more interesting question to tackle I feel.

We recently ran a poll and while 22% of our readers said that they would spend more than £500 on a graphics card, only a tiny 4% said they would remove the cooling system for watercooling. LN2 doesn’t even stack up in the real world as a permanent cooling solution for a gamer.

Are EVGA being very shortsighted with this kind of marketing strategy? Are you interested in buying this card and more importantly are you using LN2? Would getting test data from a LN2 cooled card be of any use to you back in the real world? If KitGuru published a review only highlighting LN2 performance and not results from the supplied cooling system surely that would be seen as substandard buying advice for our readers.

We would love to hear your views on this.

Discuss this on our Facebook page, over HERE.


KitGuru says: EVGA say they want this card tested with Liquid Nitrogen – and nothing else. Its certainly going to showcase the card in the best possible light, but does it make any sense to their main customer base?

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  • Thomas Day

    really. what a way to stick there middle finger up to the majority.

  • Loominarty

    This card is beautiful but being a gamer LN2 would be overkill for me, i would probably get a waterblock set up on it though.

  • John

    Seriously? that is the stupidiest thing I have heard in my life. LN2 is not what any customer is interested in. Its a niche thing that overclockers do to break world records. The cooler looks great on the card too. Wow – they are clueless.

  • ComboSlicer

    And? Buy the video card from the store and do the review as you please.
    As I understand, reviewer asked from manufacturer a free sample card for a review, manufacturer gave strict conditions which were not acceptable for the reviewer.

    This card is totally pointless purely for gaming or normal OC and was designed from the ground for extreme OC.

    Does majority care about LN2 OC? No, but mentioned card was intentionally created for this.
    Would also love to read the review about it in non LN2 OC jsut about curiosity so perhaps someone buys the card and makes such a review.

  • John

    Yeah its a good point, reviewers could buy it, but I dont think that detracts at all from the point being made – its the first time ive ever heard a company saying this instead of ‘we don’t want reviewers’ or ‘you guys suck you can’t get one’ or ‘we aren’t sampling due to the costs’. Its quite specific. I understand it in a way, LN2 will show the card in the best light and it can be pushed to the limits, but for someone buying this (like me as I had planned), I won’t get an idea of what I WILL GET as I won’t be using LN2. No gamer will be. Its just wank for world records and meaningless. You sell a card with a specific cooler for the audience then get it reviewed as you sell it. The cooler ain’t free, so sell a LN2 version, remove the cooler, drop the price by $100.

  • James Stephen Edge

    Sounds fine to me. The card is designed/marketed for LN2 overclocking not gaming, anyone who buys it either cares only about the LN2 performance or is buying it for bling/epeen and cares nothing for performance anyway.

  • John

    So why even put an air cooler on it and charge for it then? If all this card is for is LN2 overclocking, then strip the cooler off, reduce the price – its just going to get in the way and waste money.

  • James Stephen Edge

    IIRC Nvidia won’t allow companies to sell cards without either an air or water cooler attached.

  • SetiroN

    *They* are clueless? You want to use a card specifically made for LN2 cooling that provides absolutely ZERO improvement over cards that cost £300 less unless LN2 is involved and you think the company that actually engineered it is clueless?

    Sounds to me you’re the one who very clearly is.

  • Decends

    Sounds like it’s OC potential is disappointing if it isnt on LN2.

  • mazty

    The EVGA K|ngp|n range has always been a contradiction – offer a full copper air cooler for a card that is designed to be used with either a water block or LN2. Insisting on just LN2 for reviews is idiotic as 99% of the market do not care about such niche overclocking. If they insisted that water-cooled overclocking was to be done in addition to regular overclocking, that would make much more sense.

  • John

    well said.

  • John

    If thats the case, then put on a bog standard cooler and pass on the savings. something that takes 2 seconds to remove, and doesn’t take up 6 paragraphs in an official EVGA press release for being ‘amazing’. Its all contradictions to suit different situations. I like EVGA myself and wanted a review of this, but its seriously pissed me off.

  • FireShock

    I would have just said yes on the LN2 to run the tests on the card.

  • John

    part of the editorial says they said LN2 and nothing else. so why would KitGuru or any self respecting site want to test the card without the cooler – its part of the product they are selling. LN2 – sure, but what about the rest of us who emailed KitGuru asking for a review? We don’t get any real world tests ? No idea if the cooler is any good at all? quiet? good for load temperatures? Its LN2 or nothing? no thanks. they are out of touch.

  • Steven Morrison

    I want this card and was one of the people to email KitGuru to get a sample to review. I value their thermal camera shots and some of the information they post. No one buys a graphics card for LN2, apart from some hard core overclockers. It just shows me though how niche and small minded EVGA are now. I wanted it, I wanted to put it on water, and I wanted to see thermal shots and a KitGuru review. Whats wrong with that? If they want to specifically sell these cards to LN2 overclockers then stop yammering on about how wonderful their air cooler is and adding $200 to the price. MSI got my money for their Lightning.

  • Hapkiman

    And again, my opinion of the once #1 EVGA drops down another notch. What a bizarre request, after equipping this card with their iCX cooler.

  • Steven Morrison

    Yeah exactly. I wanted a review of this on KitGuru as I trust their reviews, like I do with 2 other sites. the cooler looks good. I don’t care if its designed for LN2 – unless they are selling 10 of them in total, they will want sales. Im the target audience and I want to water cool it. If they are too elitest to get it reviewed by a proper review site and want it to target LN2 overclockers with more money than sense (wasting a good air cooler by the looks of it) then thats fine.

    I bought MSI. Hope that works out for EVGA long term.

  • Lelisevis

    I’m confused, all EVGA are asking is for you to test it with LN2, that’s the whole purpose of the card. You have only shown the one response and not the whole conversation which provides no context and it does not look like the guys first language is English so maybe there was a misunderstanding. The sentence ends with a question ‘Would you be able to test it with LN2 only?’ Who knows what followed after.
    The card is obviously going to be in very short supply so they may have limited numbers to send out. Putting all of the unnecessary drama aside it is still just a 1080ti with an all copper cooler, if it’s killing anyone that much checkout the Galax HOF but don’t pretend you don’t know that they are all going to fall within a few points of each other, give or take a margin of error.
    I’m not sure this sort of thing needs to be made public, companies imposing silly restrictions is not a new thing, this has just created a lot of animosity towards evga rightly or wrongly.

  • JonasTone

    Tell me how many people actually use LN2? Thats right fucking no body. Why? Because its fucking impractical as fuck, all this shit has been proven to be pointless, watched a fair few videos on various different cooling methods for CPU/GPU and subzero cooling makes no difference to performance, even with the CPU and GPU hitting temps close to their thermal limits.

    I get the extreme OC scene, but you can not market at a card at the extreme OC scene when regular consumers are interested in it, because not a single regular consumer is going to cool their system with LN2, not one. Only people with more money than sense use such potentially dangerous and stupidly over the top cooling methods.

  • Steven Morrison

    You certainly are confused — Arent you here all the time posting, I see you complaining about things constantly – pretty sure ive reported you a few times for trolling too – sure you are on the right site? As far as I am aware, Allan posted what they said when he asked for a sample as people like me were asking him for a review. they replied with ‘it has to be reviewed on LN2, nothing else’.

    So ive no idea what point you are making – they are fine selling a $1000 card with a very cool looking air cooler which makes up part of the selling price. I want a review of it. I asked for one in email to Allan. he made the effort to try and they said ‘no thanks, LN2 or nothing’.

    WHat kind of enthusiast accepts that? I want reviews from people I trust, not brand names we all just buy because there is some kind of loyalty to the company. I bought MSI in the end, so im happy enough, I just hope its good as my last evga.

  • Allan

    Steven no need to attack someone. Lelisevis has been here a long time. You are correct in the fact that he doesn’t seem to really like a lot of the content we produce, but he has a right to say that within certain guidelines.

    In regards to eVGA having a long conversation with me – there wasn’t one. I did mention in the editorial that it was verbatim, its a direct copy and paste of what I was told. I thought it was interesting enough to bring up, its not an attack on EVGA. Its not my spin on a conversation. its exactly what happened. Its all that was said about this review opportunity. I didn’t leave out a paragraph afterwards explaining we could test the card as it was sold (with great looking air cooler) IF we used LN2 as well. It was LN2 and nothing else. As I said, nothing else was said.

    I would like to hope that by now, some of our regular readers would have a little more faith in me as a person at this stage (even if they don’t agree with the comments thats fine, its the whole point of this chat), but it would appear there is always conspiracy theory buffs with other ideas.

  • Steven Morrison

    Apologies Allan! Sorry about all the emails too, I just really wanted a review of this card and when I saw Damien post the news last night my email fingers went a little crazy! I do wish you would test the cards again instead of Ryan, but his reviews aren’t bad either.

    EVGA have always got my money and I wanted this specific card, its my right as a buyer to make that choice. If EVGA however don’t want me to see reviews before buying on sites I trust then thats fine, ill buy elsewhere. As I did. MSI card was hard to get incidentally, thanks to all the prices and shortages its a challenge to get one thats good like this, but EVGA are too far up their own ass right now to get my money. I still can’t believe all the fanboys turning this against KitGuru when in fact it boils down to you ASKING for a review sample we asked you to get. Thats it.

    Why shouldnt you let us know what they said? Its not your job to protect EVGA. If its negative on EVGA its all their own fault, after all you are only stating why they said – which was ‘ no we want it tested on LN2 and nothing else, not even the fancy air cooler we say is great and sell attached to it’. Its that idiotic its going to give them negative press, but its self inflicted.

  • Steven Morrison

    JonasTone – exactly how I feel, well minus the fucks as I don’t tend to give any, just move elsewhere and give someone else my money, which im pretty sure a lot of people will do. MSI for me this time – the Lightning.

  • Lelisevis

    Allan I’m disappointed you feel that I have a problem with the content you produce, while I don’t expect you to look for examples I can only add that I regularly visit and comment on this website because I enjoy the content so much. Out of the 400 or so comments I have made 95% of them have been made humorously or with the intention of informing or assisting and I have over 100 upvotes.
    My post was made not to question anyone’s integrity I just thought it was an odd way to end an email conversation and assumed there was further discussion but obviously I was wrong.

    In light of this I’m done, maybe I’ve been doing this all wrong and instead of trying to foster a community I should have been sending all my comments by private email. Anyway it’s been a fun ride and I’ll carry on as one of the silent majority. Leli

  • Allan

    UPDATE on story here: https://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/evga-us-clear-up-eu-communication-issues-on-kingpin-gtx1080-ti-card/

  • Allan

    Update on story here: https://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/evga-us-clear-up-eu-communication-issues-on-kingpin-gtx1080-ti-card/

  • Gavin Bonshor

    I agree with them…they want their card tested on the very thing the card is specifically designed for.

  • SkyBill40

    Totally pointless, really. It’s not as though regular people or even higher end gamers are using LN. You want it tested accurately? Then do so in the typical environmental conditions found inside a case and with either air or water cooling.

  • SetiroN

    Fanboyism? Me buying something just because it has a sticker?
    You should seriously work on your understanding skills.

    If you’re buying a card engineered to deliver 600A to the GPU core (SIX HUNDRED AMPERES) and are planning to air cool it, you’re simply too dumb for your money.

    That’s what the shiny copper heatsink is catering to: people too dumb
    for their money, who simply buy the highest priced variant because it’s
    the best, without realising they’re wasting their money.

    If you’re planning to water cool it then you’re probably even sillier , because current fullcover blocks won’t fit and you’ll have to wait for the eventual possibility of a special block being made, that will of course be sold at a premium.

    There already are beefed up cards on the market specifically made for overclocking enthusiasts, even bundled with a waterblock (or not, if you’d rather go aftermarket), that are capable of running the GPU to the maximum frequencies possible at ambient temperatures and cost hundreds of pounds less. If you’re buying a kingpin or lightning for the same purpose, you’re just not very smart.

  • John

    Well at least EVGA had the common sense to support their customers by wanting a review now of their cooler and saying how much work they put into it and how fast it runs, even on air. They have had the common sense to backtrack https://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/evga-us-clear-up-eu-communication-issues-on-kingpin-gtx1080-ti-card/

    whats your excuse for being an idiot? You probably wouldn’t know the difference between LN2 and creamed cheese.

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  • JonasTone

    I have a Gigabyte AORUS 1060 6gb. I personally have no interest in the card in question. It just bothers me that they think directing a card and demanding LN2 benchmarks is stupid when its shipped with a beefy cooler of its own and the vast majority of people will never cool with LN2 lol

  • UnrulyCactus

    I benchmark GPUs with LN2 and dry ice on a fairly regular basis. Extreme cooling allows significantly higher voltages which then, in turn, allows higher clocks. Extreme cooling absolutely DOES make a difference on performance when using a card or motherboard that can put it to use properly. It’s not practical at all for gamers, but that’s not who this card is intended for. I realize that I’m of a very small minority but it’s one that exists. A gamer would be served better by purchasing a much less expensive mainstream version of a card.

  • Allan

    Heard a fair bit about you. Evga actually changed their mind. They do want tests of their air cooler which is in a new story. The air cooler they sell with the card that features so much in their press release as being a great design. So perhaps you now agree with that too as evga agree with what i initially said.

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