Asus RTX 3070 Noctua OC in the test: Noctua's GPU cooler outclasses the competition

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The Austrian cooler and fan specialist Noctua has teamed up with Asus and the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition has emerged. The test quickly shows that the combination in terms of cooling performance and volume is currently neither to beat nor even to be achieved.

Table of contents

  1. 1 Noctua's GPU cooler outclasses the competition
    1. Not perfect for everyone, but the cooler beats all others
    2. The Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition in detail
    3. This is how the Asus RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition clocks in games
  2. 2 benchmarks, volume and other measurements
    1. Benchmarks in Full HD
    2. volume & amp; Cooling
    3. Power consumption
    4. The OC potential is low
  3. 3 Conclusion
    1. In the core area, the graphics card is completely convincing

Actually, the idea is obvious: A graphics card manufacturer works with a cooler specialist and develops one absolutely round product. Because even if the board partners now also have good cooler designs in their portfolio, a specialized cooler manufacturer should still be ahead in this regard. However, this has not yet happened.

That is changing now, because Asus has developed a graphics card in cooperation with the Austrian cooler and fan specialist Noctua. The result is the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition, for which nothing has really been developed from scratch, but which still manages to make the assembled competition, including its own designs, look old without any problems.

Not perfect for everyone, but the cooler beats everyone else

The Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition has not turned out to be a perfect graphics card, in many areas there are definitely better models with more performance, OC leeway and features, a fancier look and RGB lighting. If you are looking for it, you should look for another product. However, those who value very good cooling performance with very quiet operation at the same time have now found a new favorite.

How well the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition really does and what strengths and weaknesses the graphics card has, ComputerBase will show in the test.

The Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition in detail

Especially with the current generation of graphics cards with AMD's RDNA 2 and Nvidia's Ampere, the editorial team has already tested several large models. Something like the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition but not yet. The combination is not particularly long, but extremely wide – the cooler has 4.3 slots, whereas a 3-slot graphics card looks tiny. Asus wants 829 euros for “the monster”, but the novelty is not yet available or even listed in German retailers. It should be so far from “mid-October”.

The length of 30.5 cm is not the special thing about the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition, nor is the height of 14 cm. But the width is simply immense with 4.3 slots, which corresponds to about 8.5 cm. First of all, it has to fit into a housing; smaller dwellings will come up against a limit. It is also important to remember that there are really a lot of PCIe slots that are blocked. Nowadays that hardly plays a role, but more than the lowest one or two PCIe slots can no longer be used even on normal sized mainboards.

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Asus RTX 3070 Noctua (below) vs. Nvidia RTX 3070 FE (above)
The Asus RTX 3070 Noctua is wider than two Nvidia Founders Editions
Asus RTX 3070 Noctua (back) vs. Nvidia RTX 3070 FE (front)

The cooler is wider and higher

Asus developed the graphics card in collaboration with Noctua, but they are not really breaking new ground. The heat sink used is based entirely on the counterpart of the GeForce RTX 3070 TUF, but the dimensions have been increased on Noctua's recommendation. The cooler of the Noctua version is exactly 10 mm higher and 12 mm wider and the distance between the heat pipes has been increased by 3.7 mm. This should allow the heat sink to work better with the fans used.

Two normal Noctua NF-A12x25 work on the graphics card

Speaking of fans: These are two copies of Noctua's flagship model for CPU coolers and radiators, namely the NF-A12x25 with a diameter of 120 mm. The fans can also be exchanged if desired, because it is simply the almost 30 Euro expensive PWM version with a maximum fan speed of 2,000 rpm, whereby the cable lengths are not identical – they would then have to be hidden. The fans are glued together with the heat sink on the graphics card using a double-sided adhesive pad, and a screwed-on fan frame still holds the cooling structure under control.

As it should be, the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition also switches off the two axial fans for silent operation on the Windows desktop. From a GPU temperature of around 50 ° C, they start at 560 revolutions per minute and level off at 800 rpm before the final speed is finally reached, depending on the temperature. If you want, you can also easily control the graphics card manually. It has been shown that the two NF-A12x25, at least on the test copy, can easily start from 300 revolutions per minute and also keep the speed stable.

Not only is the cooler base based on the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 TUF, the same applies to the rest of the graphics card. The PCB is identical, the power supply with its seven voltage converter circuits is the same, the same applies to the two 8-pin power plugs. The clock rates are slightly higher: the TUF has an average boost of 1,815 MHz, and the Noctua Edition is 1,857 MHz. As with all current graphics cards, the information is not meaningful anyway.

Unlike TUF and Strix, the Noctua Edition comes with Quiet BIOS ex works

The Noctua Edition also has the same power limit of 240 watts for the entire graphics card, which can be manually increased to 270 watts and thus by 13 percent. There are also two slightly different BIOS versions, whereby the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 TUF is shipped from the factory with the unnecessarily loud performance BIOS, while the GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition comes with the Quiet BIOS as standard. The alternative performance BIOS there then tries to keep a lower GPU temperature only by means of higher fan speeds, which only affects the volume, but apart from that there are no practical differences.

Heat sink and fan of the Asus RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition

What the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition does not have, in contrast to the TUF and almost all other custom designs of the GeForce RTX 3070, is RGB lighting or another light source. Noctua simply doesn't have any illuminated fans in its portfolio, and Asus hasn't installed any LEDs in the fan frame either. And that's certainly a good thing, because the Noctua fan and RGB would at least be a combination that would take a lot of getting used to. This also applies to the optics, because the cooler, like the fan, comes in the classic Noctua colors, which are immediately recognized with the brown tone, but are certainly not something for every taste. The haptics of the graphics card, on the other hand, are very good. The heat sink is of high quality and the workmanship of the two fans is far superior to all others in the graphics card segment. The frame also makes a decent impression, although it is only made of plastic. There is still some room up here.

Feature Nvidia RTX 3070
Founders Edition Asus RTX 3070
TUF OC Asus RTX 3070
Noctua OC Edition Card PCB design Nvidia Asus Length, width 24.5 cm, 11.0 cm 30.0 cm, 14.0 cm 30.5 cm, 14.0 cm Weight 1,034 g 1,118 g 1,571 g Power supply 1 × 12-pin
With 8-pin adapter 2 × 8-pin cooler Design Founders Edition, 2.0 slots TUF, 2.7 slots Noctua, 4.3 slots heat sink aluminum core/radiator aluminum core/Radiator
5 heat pipes Fan 2 × 85 mm (axial) 3 × 85 mm (axial) 2 × 120 mm (axial)
(NF-A12x25) Fan switched off (2D) Yes Starting speed 850 revolutions 950 revolutions 560 revolutions < strong> clock
(Power saving mode) GPU base 1,500 (210) MHz GPU average 1,725 ​​MHz 1,815 MHz 1,857 MHz GPU maximum 2,040 MHz 2,010 MHz 1,980 MHz memory 7,000 (405) MHz memory size 8 GB GDDR6 power consumption Standard TDP 220 watts 240 watts Maximum TDP 240 watts 270 watts Connections 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 DSC
2 x HDMI 2.1

This is how the Asus RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition clocks in games

The test copy of the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition just doesn't want to break the 2,000 MHz mark, which is a bit unusual. Neither the TUF model from Asus, which ComputerBase had already tested, nor Nvidia's Founders Edition had any problems with it. However, this is not really a problem, because the maximum possible clock rate is only available at low temperatures and low load and at 1,980 MHz the frequency is only slightly below that.

In games with high load and normal operating temperature, the graphics card works with a maximum of 1950 MHz, as long as the power limit allows it. However, the configured 240 watts prevent the clock from being consistently present in almost all AAA titles. In Watch Dogs: Legion, which is quite gracious in this regard, the graphics card works with a resolution of 2,560 × 1,440 at an average of 1,935 MHz.

The actual average clock rates in the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv X Borderlands 3 Control Cyberpunk 2077 Watch Dogs: Legion Asus RTX 3070 Noctua
Quiet-BIOS 1.892 MHz 1.811 MHz 1.894 MHz 1.935 MHz Asus RTX 3070 Noctua
Performance BIOS 1.899 MHz 1.819 MHz 1.902 MHz 1.935 MHz

On the other hand, it is different in Control, which makes a graphics card work up a sweat in terms of clock rates. There is no more than 1,811 MHz to be seen on average. Borderlands 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 lie between the two extreme cases at 1,892 MHz and 1,894 MHz. Most of the other games should also be found at just under 1,900 MHz.

No notable differences between the BIOS versions

The Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition is equipped with the Quiet BIOS at the factory. The alternative performance BIOS comes with the same specifications, but lets the fans spin a little faster for a lower temperature. This also ensures higher frequencies, although this can hardly be measured itself. Control shows the biggest difference with 1,819 MHz to 1,811 MHz, in Watch Dogs: Legion, on the other hand, there is none at all. Regarding the clock rates, the performance BIOS is accordingly not worth considering.

On the next page: benchmarks, volume and other measurements