Asus has once again teamed up with famed fan manufacturer Noctua to create a large brown and tan graphics card that should pump up frames while remaining relatively quiet. The two companies’ last partnership was an RTX 3070, but now they’ve announced a decidedly enthusiastic tier card: an RTX 3080.
According to Noctua .’s press release, the card features two 120mm fans and a custom heat sink, making it “the quietest air-cooled graphics card in its class.” Aside from the fancy cooling, it’s a relatively standard Asus graphics card with two BIOS profiles, a backplane, 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 card will go on sale “starting June 2022,” but whether you can buy one is another question, with chip shortages and shaky inventory still plaguing 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 Lite Hash Rate model with reduced mining capabilities. Although, given that hackers found a way for thatthe bets may be out there.
There’s one way the map isn’t quite standard: it’s big† First, Noctua’s “custom-engineered unified heatsink” is thicker than Asus’s standard, according to a web page that breaks down its performance over regular cards. There are also literal desktop fans in there: Noctua’s NF-A12x25 PWM Model† This leads to it being about 3.25 inches thick, according to Asus’ spec sheet, almost an inch thicker than the triple fan from the company Strix 3080† That means it will only cost a lot four slots in your PC – and still have a little bit of overhang in the space of the next slot.
For some people, that may 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 letting it be for a day. He probably wouldn’t be too impressed with the performance specs either; 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 delivers significantly higher numbers: 1935MHz in OC mode and 1905MHz in gaming mode.
However, Noctua isn’t usually about redline performance; it’s about good performance and as little noise as possible. Noctua says that “at typical auto-speed fan settings,” the 3080 will be 4.5 dB(A) quieter than Asus’s TUF-series model, while the GPU cores are 3 degrees Celsius cooler. When the cooler runs out, it says Noctua’s will be 1 degree Celsius cooler and 8.6 dB(A) quieter.
For people who want to perform but don’t want to hear it (hello, it’s me), it could be a good option – or at least that was the consensus with the 3070 version of this map† We’ll probably have to wait for independent testers to get their hands on it to see if Noctua’s cooler can stay quiet as it tries to master the 3080’s considerable power.
As for pricing, Noctua’s press release says that “contact your local ASUS representative for more information on pricing,” and Asus’s website has no pricing information. Asus ‘entry-level’ 3080s take precedence about $850and the enthusiast models can cost almost $1,100†
Based on the pricing of the 3070 edition, the Noctua edition will likely have a higher price; on Newegg, an Asus Dual RTX 3070 V2 OC goes for about $760where the Noctua OC Edition going for $854† Asus’ Strix model, which has higher boost clocks than both models, going for $806† Take these equations with a grain of salt; it’s third-party retail prices (though the same third-party shop), and we’re not quite out of the bizarre-o GPU price forest yet.
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 the 4090 in July, launching the next generation of cards. Considering how long it’s been since the 3080 launched, it could be rather a while before we see a Noctua-equipped 4090.