Noctua has put its big brown desktop PC fans on an RTX 3080


Noctua has put its big brown desktop PC fans on an RTX 3080

Asus has once again teamed up with renowned fan manufacturer Noctua to produce a large tan-and-tan graphics card that’s said to pump out frames while remaining relatively quiet. The last collaboration between the two companies was an RTX 3070, but now they’ve announced a downright enthusiastic card: an RTX 3080.

According to Noctua’s press release, the card features dual 120mm fans and a custom heatsink, making it the “quietest air-cooled graphics card in its class.” Fancy cooling aside, it’s a fairly 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 like an option with the Noctua heatsink.

The card will go on sale “early June 2022,” but whether you can buy one is another question entirely as the GPU market is still plagued by chip shortages and inventory issues. 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 lite hash rate model with reduced mining capabilities. Given that hackers found a way around this, the bets might be off.

There’s a possibility the map isn’t entirely standard: it is big. For one, Noctua’s “custom unified heatsink” is thicker than Asus’ stock heatsink, according to a website that breaks down its performance versus regular cards. It also has literal desktop fans in it: Noctua’s NF-A12x25 PWM model. This results in it being about 3.25 inches thick according to Asus’ spec sheet, almost an inch thicker than the company’s triple-fan Strix 3080. That means it’s going to take quite a lot four slots in your PC – and still have a little overhang in the space of the next slot.

You must be down with the thickness if you want this map.
Image: ASUS

For some people it might not be worth it. For example, one of my colleagues feels that there must be a more interesting or better solution than just sticking some big fans on it and calling it a tag. He probably wouldn’t be particularly impressed either, looking at the performance data; the Noctua 3080 has an OC Mode boost clock of 1815MHz and a Gaming Mode boost clock of 1785MHz. That’s pretty much the same as Asus’ standard 3080s, but the Strix model puts out significantly higher numbers: 1935 MHz in OC mode and 1905 MHz in gaming mode.

However, Noctua isn’t usually about redline performance; It’s about good performance with as little noise as possible. Noctua says its 3080 will be 4.5 dB(A) quieter than Asus’ TUF series model “at typical auto-speed fan settings”, while GPU cores will run 3 degrees Celsius cooler. When the cooler is used up, Noctua is said to be 1 degree Celsius cooler and 8.6 dB(A) quieter.

Noctua’s color scheme is an acquired taste, but pretty much anyone can appreciate the company’s cooling expertise.
Image: ASUS

For people who want performance but don’t want to hear (hi, it’s me) it could be a good option – or at least that was the consensus with the 3070 version of this card. We’ll likely have to wait for independent testers to get their hands on it to see if Noctua’s cooler can remain silent while trying to contain the 3080’s considerable power.

Regarding pricing, Noctua’s press release says that you should “contact your local ASUS representative for more information on pricing” and Asus’ website doesn’t provide any pricing information. Asus’ “entry-level” 3080 models cost around $850, and the fancier models can go as high as $1,100.

Based on the prices of the 3070 edition, the Noctua edition will likely come with a price premium; On Newegg, an Asus Dual RTX 3070 V2 OC costs around $760, while the Noctua OC Edition costs $854. Asus’ Strix model, which has higher boost clocks than both models, retails for $806. Take these comparisons with a grain of salt; these are third-party store prices (despite being the same third-party), and we’re not quite out of the bizarre GPU price forest yet.

It also begs the question of whether you should even be buying a high-end 30-series card at this point. There are rumors that Nvidia will release the 4090 in July, ushering in the next generation of cards. Considering how long it’s been since the 3080 came out, it might be Right a while before we see a Noctua-equipped 4090.

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