ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua Edition graphics card
The Noctua Edition of ASUS’ GeForce RTX 3070 is the first graphics card to feature Noctua fans and a heatsink that has been co-engineered by Noctua. By switching from the stock three 92mm fans to two of Noctua’s award-winning NF-A12x25 120mm units and by tailoring the heatsink to make the most out of the fans’ superior aerodynamic performance, thermals and acoustics of ASUS’ original TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 could be improved significantly for the Noctua Edition, making it the quietest card in its class.
“Using our extensive thermal R&D experience, we’ve created a new GPU heatsink that’s tailor-made for the performance characteristics of their state-of-the-art NF-A12x25 fans,” said Kent Chien (Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the ASUS Multimedia Business Unit). “Our teamwork gives noise-conscious gamers and Noctua enthusiasts a unique graphics card that maximizes heat dissipation per decibel of noise emitted, all in a package that coordinates perfectly with other Noctua products in a DIY PC. ”
“Customers have been asking us to create GPU cooling solutions for quite some time, so we’re excited and honoured to team up with ASUS in order to make this happen. Using our NF-A12x25 fans and fine-tuning the heatsink for use with them, we’ve managed to achieve a significant boost in performance-to-noise efficiency”, explains Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). “ASUS’ GeForce RTX 3070 was certainly an outstanding card already, but we’re confident that the further improved cooling solution of the Noctua Edition will be the cherry on top for noise-conscious customers.”
Measured side by side, the improvements of the Noctua Edition are substantial with a massive reduction in noise levels of up to 15dB(A):
When used in cases with good ventilation and at moderate ambient temperatures of 24°C or lower, both cards will keep their fans at very low speeds even at 100% GPU load. In such a typical setting, the standard version is already very quiet at only 18.3 dB(A). However, the fine-tuned heatsink and the more efficient NF-A12x25 fans of the Noctua Edition still enable it to achieve a further 5.7dB(A) reduction in noise levels as well as a 4°C reduction in GPU temperatures:
Registering at only 12.6dB(A), the Noctua Edition is not only quiet but near inaudible. This enables customers with well-ventilated cases and moderate ambient temperatures to play games or run other GPU intensive tasks in almost complete silence.
At medium fans speeds, such as what would be required at elevated ambient temperatures or in cases with less-than-ideal ventilation, the Noctua Edition is more than 15dB(A) quieter than the standard version while still providing the same thermal performance:
Remarkably, at medium fan speeds, the Noctua edition is only slightly louder than the standard version at its lowest speed setting (21.1 vs. 18.3dB(A)).
While higher fan speeds will only be required in worst-case situations such as when poorly ventilated cases are used at very high ambient temperatures, the cards do have the possibility to spin up the fans if additional thermal headroom is required. At maximum fan speeds, the Noctua Edition is more than 9dB(A) quieter than the standard version while keeping the GeForce RTX 3070 GPU 1°C cooler:
At 33.3dB(A), the Noctua Edition in the worst-case scenario with its fans at full speed still produces 3dB(A) less noise than the standard edition at the medium speed setting.
The Noctua edition card features a dual BIOS that enables customers to switch between a performance profile that provides the lowest GPU temperatures and a quiet profile that allows slightly higher temperatures in order to achieve the best possible acoustics. Catering to the demands of Noctua’s customers, the quiet profile is set as the default.
For enthusiast users who want to take things one step further, the included ASUS GPU Tweak II software as well as the upcoming, beta-version GPU Tweak III provide extra possibilities such as setting custom fan curves or undervolting. Reducing the thermal output of the card, undervolting can make it possible to let the card run even quieter. For example, reducing the GPU voltage by around 100mV can drop the GPU temperatures by several degrees and thereby widen the thermal margin to slow the fans down even further.
The GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua Edition features a semi-passive fan control setup (ASUS 0dB technology) that can switch the fans off completely whenever the GPU temperature goes below 50°C. This means that in typical configurations with low to moderate ambient temperatures and well-ventilated cases, the card can run entirely fanless at lower GPU loads such as during office productivity tasks, web browsing, or even light gaming. Even at high GPU loads such as during gaming or benchmarking, the fan speeds will stay extremely low as long as the ambient temperature inside the case isn’t excessive.
The combination of semi-passive functionality, extremely low noise levels even in GPU-intensive tasks and the possibility of setting custom fan curves via ASUS’ GPU Tweak software also makes the ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua Edition an ideal companion for Noctua’s NH-P1 passive cooler paired with the NF-A12x25 LS-PWM fan for semi-passive operation. Combining these products in a suitable case makes it easy to build a system that will run completely fanless in typical productivity tasks and only relies on ultra-quiet fans for situations when extra GPU or CPU power are required, such as gaming or video editing.
In sum, the ASUS GeForce GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua Edition is the ideal card for quiet cooling enthusiasts who demand serious GPU performance without sacrificing quietness of operation.