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NVIDIA has developed one of their best and most powerful Founders Edition cooling design to date for the GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards. NVIDIA explained that higher performance requires a new form of cooling solution and as such, it has prepared a unique cooling solution for its next-gen cards which will keep GPUs running cool while staying quiet by utilizing several new & existing tech.

The Founders Edition cooling makes use of a full aluminum alloy heatsink which makes use of a hybrid vapor chamber with dual-sided axial-tech based fans. The cooler heatsink is coated with a nano-carbon coating and should do a really good job at keeping the temperatures in control.

The official heatsink of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics card.

The design is interesting in the sense that not only does it goes all out with a fin and heat pipe design. This is the first design of its kind since the original Founders Edition GeForce GTX 780 that makes use of a much larger heatsink area.

It also comes with a unique fan placement, one on the front and one at the bottom. This push & pull fan configuration which as it is referred to is said to push heat out of the exhaust vents much more effectively. There will be some air that will be blown out inside the case from the back of the card itself but that shouldn’t be a major cause of concern as modern CPU Air or Liquid coolers do a really good job venting out air from within the case.

Acoustically, the new Founders Edition design is quieter than traditional dual axial coolers, while still delivering nearly 2x the cooling performance of previous-generation solutions. The aforementioned NVLink and power design changes help here, creating more space for airflow through the largest fin stack seen to date, and the larger bracket vents improve airflow in concert with individually shaped shroud fins. In fact, wherever you look, every aspect of the Founders Edition cards are designed to maximize airflow, minimize temperatures, and enable the highest levels of performance with the least possible noise.

In terms of cooler noise and performance, the GeForce RTX 3080 operates at a peak temperature of 78C when hitting its peak TBP of 320W with a noise output of just 30dBA. For comparison, the Turing Founders Edition coolers peak out at 81C with a noise output of 32dBA when hitting their TBP of 240W (RTX 2080 SUPER). In NVIDIA’s own testing, they reveal that the GeForce RTX 3080 averages at around 1920 MHz with a GPU power draw of 310W and a peak temperature of 76C.

This is also where NVIDIA gets its 1.9x efficiency figure from as the RTX 3080 can deliver over 100 FPS while being cooler and quiet versus the 60 FPS of its Turing gen predecessor.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090, RTX 3080, RTX 3070 Founders Edition Gallery:

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 & RTX 3080 Graphics Card PCB & Power – Designed To Be Overclocked!

One of the biggest changes on the Founders Edition GeForce RTX 3090 graphics cards is the PCB design. The GeForce RTX 3090 & GeForce RTX 3080 comes with a unique & compact PCB package that is unlike anything we’ve seen in the consumer space before. But being compact doesn’t mean that the cards don’t pack a punch. There’s some serious horsepower on these compact PCBs that NVIDIA has designed.

The PCB features over 20 power chokes which put it is a more premium design than the flagship non-reference RTX 20 series cards. The GPU is powered by 18 phases while the memory receives power from 2 phases. NVIDIA touts this PCB as an overclocking marvel with unprecedented GPU overclock headroom that most users can leverage from to gain even faster performance. But as pointed out earlier by us, the Founders Edition PCB is not the reference design and that will come with a standard rectangular PCB. Water block manufacturers have also confirmed this which we reported here.

The official PCB of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics card.

In addition to that, GeForce RTX 30 series Founders Edition cards will be featuring the 12-pin Micro-Fit 3.0 power connectors. These connectors don’t require a power supply upgrade as the cards will ship with bundled 2x 8-pin to 1x 12-pin connectors so you can run your latest graphics card without any compatibility issues.

The placement of the 12-pin connector on the PCB is also noteworthy. It is placed in a vertical position and judging by the PCB design, we can tell why NVIDIA moved to a single 12-pin plug instead of the standard dual 8-pin design. There’s limited room on the PCB to do stuff and as such, it was necessary to go for a more small and compact power input.