Asus has once again teamed up with renowned fan maker Noctua to create a great brown and beige graphics card that should pump frames while remaining relatively quiet. The last collaboration of the two companies was a RTX-3070but now they’ve announced a decidedly enthusiastic level card: an RTX 3080.
According to Noctua press release, the card features two 120mm fans and a custom heatsink, making it “the quietest air-cooled graphics card in its class”. Besides the fancy cooling, it’s a relatively standard Asus graphics card with two BIOS profiles, a backplate, and 10GB of GDDR6X RAM. There are 3080s with 12GB of memory, but that doesn’t seem to be an option with the Noctua heatsink.
The board will go on sale “from the start of June 2022”, but whether you’ll be able to buy one is another matter altogether, with chip shortages and stock issues. plagues the GPU market. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to compete with crypto miners for the card – like most Nvidia cards these days, it’s a Hash Rate Model Lite with the reduction of mining capacities. However, since hackers found a way around itbets can be out there.
There’s a reason the map isn’t quite standard: it’s wholesale. For one, Noctua’s “custom-designed unified heatsink” is thicker than Asus’ standard one, according to a webpage breaking down its performance against regular cards. It also contains literal desk fans: Noctua’s Model NF-A12x25 PWM. This gives it a thickness of about 3.25 inches, according to Asus spec sheetalmost an inch thicker than the company’s three-fan Strix 3080. This means it will take a huge four slots in your PC – and still have a tiny bit of overhang in space from the next slot.
For some people, it may not be worth it. A colleague of mine, for example, thinks there must be a nicer or better solution than just sticking full-size fans on it and calling it a day. He probably wouldn’t be particularly impressed with the performance specs either; the Noctua 3080 features an “OC Mode” boost clock of 1815MHz and a “Gaming Mode” boost clock of 1785MHz. It’s pretty much the same as Asus’ standard 3080, but the Strix model shows significantly higher numbers: 1935 MHz in OC mode and 1905 MHz in game mode.
Noctua is generally not about redline performance, however; it’s all about good performance while making as little noise as possible. Noctua says that “at typical auto-speed fan settings” its 3080 will be 4.5dB(A) quieter than Asus’ TUF-series model, while running 3 degrees Celsius cooler on cores. of the GPU. When the cooler runs out, Noctua is said to be 1 degree Celsius cooler and 8.6 dB(A) quieter.
For people who want performance but don’t want to hear it (hi, that’s me) this might be a good option – or at least it was the consensus with version 3070 of this card. We’ll probably have to wait for independent testers to get their hands on it to see if Noctua’s cooler can stay quiet while trying to contain the 3080’s significant power.
As for pricing, Noctua’s press release says to “contact your local ASUS representative for pricing information”, and Asus’ website does not have pricing information. Asus’ “entry-level” 3080s will around $850and more sophisticated models can costs almost $1,100.
Based on the price of the 3070 edition, the Noctua edition will likely come with a price premium; on Newegg, an Asus Dual RTX 3070 V2 OC goes for around $760where the Noctua OC Edition goes for $854. Asus’ Strix model, which has higher boost clocks than both models, goes for $806. Take these comparisons with a grain of salt; these are 3rd party store prices (albeit the same 3rd party store), and we’re not quite out of the weird woods of GPU pricing quite still.
There’s also the question of whether you should even buy a high-end 30-series card at this point. There are rumors that Nvidia will release 4090 in July, launching its next generation of cards. Given the time since the launch of the 3080, it could be enough a moment before seeing a 4090 equipped with Noctua.
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