Who else is excited about the new RTX 3000 series Ampere graphics cards from NVIDIA? We have already done a fantastic recap on everything that is new in comparison to the RTX 2000 series GPUs, but now it’s time to go over all the custom board partners RTX 3000 cards that we know about so far.
We are going to discuss their designs and what to expect size wise. For reference these are the dimensions of the Founders Edition RTX 3090/3080/3070. The Founders Edition will launch on September 14th, while the board partner cards will launch a September 17th, so good luck and have fun trying to buy one. There are no preorders planned, which means supply will be extremely limited and any retailer who is selling the RTX 3000 series will undoubtedly have their website crash on launch day.
From what we have seen so far none of the board partners have the custom 12-pin power connector that is found on the Founders Edition. Instead they are using either dual 8-pin or triple 8-pin power connectors. Some are using custom PCBs that are longer than what the NVIDIA showed off, so maybe NVIDIA is saving the slightly shorter PCB designs for themselves. That means that the power connectors are located in the normal location instead of the smack dab in the middle as we saw with the NVIDIA cards. Unfortunately it seems like there is very little innovation when it comes to engineering new coolers for the RTX 3000 series, most of them are massive triple fan and triple slot downdraft coolers. There are a few really unique compact exceptions and some water cooled models too.
A lot of these have not been finalized and no clock speeds have been announced, but we will publish what we can. Initially none of the cards will have any additional memory capacity, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see RTX 3080’s down the line with 20GB of VRAM or the RTX 3070’s with 16GB at some point. They really interesting pattern across many brands is that their RTX 3070 designs haven’t been announced yet, only the RTX 3080’s and RTX 3090’s have been revealed. Pricing is all still up in the year, but as we saw with the RTX 2000 cards be prepared to pay a lot more for the RTX 3000 series because supply will be low and everyone will be trying to grab one.
Let’s begin with ASUS, since those seem to be the easiest ones, especially the ROG Strix edition. Basically, the RTX 3090 Strix and the RTX 3080 Strix have the exact same design. It is actually one of the more vertically compact designs that you will see in this roundup. They have a triple fan design, 2.5 slot heatsink, with a pretty tasteful RGB strip implemented on the side. It has really cool industrial look, but not totally overdone like past ROG cards. This is one of the few brands to have the triple 8-pin connectors for power.
The backplate looks like it borrows a bit from the flow through airflow design that NVIDIA showed off for their Founders Edition cards. The PCB actually looks a bit longer than NVIDIA’s too. Judging from where the I/O bracket is these are really, really wide cards. Now ASUS is actually one of the few board partners who are adding two HDMI 2.1 outputs, as most others have three DisplayPort 1.4a connectors and a single HDMI 2.1. The RTX 3070 Strix uses the same design too, but with a few modifications like dual 8-pins power connectors and HDMI port mounted in the center of the I/O plate.
The ASUS TUF series follows in the footsteps of the Strix by using the same design for the RTX 3090 and the RTX 3080. It’s a lot more industrial looking, but with a more basic heatsink design. It’s still a 2.5 slot card. Personally, I love the look, but in the past the TUF series have received some negative feedback because of poor cooling, so hopefully ASUS is taking that into account with this new TUF series. They expect the TUF series to be more affordable then the Strix, but with less features. It has dual 8-pin power connectors instead of the triples on the Strix. No RTX 3070 has been announced for the TUF series, but I’m sure that this coming later.
Moving on to COLORFUL, and I think these guys have one of the coolest designs. Let’s start with the Neptune series and this one is linked to a 240mm all-in-one liquid cooler. It’s a compact dual-slot design with a glowing addressable RGB LED in the middle. Initially, I thought this was a fan, but it doesn’t look like it is. Unfortunately you probably never see this in most cases when it’s facing down, but it would look absolutely amazing mounted vertically. Also it’s a lot slimmer than some of the other cards with dual-slot height, and it also has a triple 8-pin connector.
Moving on to the Vulcan series, and this one is a massive triple slot card that has a really cool integrated high resolution LED that can flip upwards when the card is mounted vertically. It’s a really cool concept that can display GIFs, system information, GPU temperature, or whatever. It’s really all about the showcase, and I’m hoping that the LED is going to be of high quality. As for the cooling solution, it features two 90mm fans and one 80mm fan.
Moving on to the Advanced series, and this one should be called ‘Go Big or Go Home!’. We have a really cool centered mounted fan with RGB. It actually looks good without being too flashy. It is a very large card that looks to be bigger than the three slot width. The interesting thing here is that COLORFUL is not using the flow back design as you will see with majority of other board partners.
The Ultra series model is massive at almost 13 inches – one of the longest RTX 3000 cards that I have seen – and it’s still a triple slot card. This model is certainly colorful with that large RGB panel on the heatsink shroud, which will unfortunately go pretty much unnoticed in most situations.
Lastly, we have the NB series, which has meant to compete against other entry-level RTX 3000 cards. It’s a pretty basic, that is also compact at 2.5 slots, and it should also be under 12 inches despite what the perspective photos look like. One thing I like about this brand is that all COLORFUL cards will come with an anti-sag bracket.
Moving on to EVGA and this one will 100% be polarizing. EVGA has made some changes on how bling-y their cards look, whereas before they were subdued, muted, kind of clean looking but now it’s exactly the opposite. Like a lot of other board partners, the design for the RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 will be identical. Let’s begin with the FTW3… and WOW did they ever go full RGB here! We have this gigantic addressable transparent section at the top I think it might look pretty good provided it’s a solid color and you can turn down the brightness a little bit. However, one weird design decision is that we have this swooping shroud that ends in this lipstick red outline near the end. It kind of looks weird. This red strip extends onto the backplate where there is an illuminated EVGA logo. I love that the back plate is fully perforated, it matches the design of the shroud. This is one of the shorter cards in this roundup at 11.81 inches, but it’s very tall and it’s wider than triple slot.
Moving onto the XC3 Ultra, and luckily this version will take a step back from all the RGB. It’s a pretty basic heatsink design with 3 fans, 11.25 inch length, and a standard width. There is still an RGB EVGA logo on the side, along with three 8-pin power connectors. The XC3 version of the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3070 are identical, but use dual 8-pin power connectors instead of three. They also have a water cooled Kingpin Edition of the RTX 3090, which is incredibly exciting. For those don’t need that models overclocking features, there is also a hybrid edition of both the RTX 3090 and the RTX 3080.
Moving on to AORUS, and this is by far the largest card in this roundup. It is a massive quad-slot unit that will probably look really odd inside some enclosures. Its side profile looks pretty ridiculous. For sure these cards will require some sort of anti-sag mechanism. We have Master and Xtreme editions, both with an identical heatsink and a triple fan layout. they have a flow through style at the back of the card, and some visible branding peaking through the backplate. The lighting accents look awesome and they spill onto the fan blades. W even have a GPU temperature reading all the way at the back that should be perfectly visible in horizontal and vertical orientations. The I/O on this model is quite different versus other cards, with three HDMI 2.1 ports and three DisplayPort 1.4a ports. It looks like both the Xtreme and Master editions of the RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 will have dual 8-pins for power. I’m really curious to see what the advantages are for the triple 8-pin for power on some other cards on like the 3080 and the 3090.
As for the GIGABYTE branded cards, both the Eagle and Gaming editions are quite blocky with a really tall shroud and an almost triple slot design. There are silver accents on the gaming cards, but to be honest both are kind of underwhelming. The rear portion of the backplate is open for airflow, and the dual 8-pin power connectors are all the way back here as well with a standard I/O layout for both the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090.
Moving on to Zotac, it seems like they are continuing their domination of the compact space as the RTX 3070 is super cute and only 9.1 inches long making it the smallest RTX 3000 series card at the moment. Its a dual-slot design with three DisplayPort 1.4a ports and a single HDMI 2.1 port. The shroud shape and the backplate reminds me of the Combine train from Half-Life just because it’s so tall and thin. This compact card will still require two 8-pin power connectors. Moving on to the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090, they are triple slot in width and 12.5 inches long, but are only slightly taller than the PCIe slot because of the illuminated bits in the middle. They also both have the same triple fan cooling solution.
The only distinction between the RTX 3090 and 3080 is the colour of the shrouds, with the RTX 3090 being a slightly lighter grey. The dual 8-pins for power is in-line with the RGB logo. As you have probably noticed by now only the RTX 3090 cards have the NVLink bridge, whereas both the 3080 and the 3070 do not. From everything we have seen so far this is my favorite design, because I really like the grey instead of the traditional black and it’s not over the top in terms of bling.
The options from MSI include the GAMING X TRIO, which is the flagship model for both the RTX 3090 and RTX 3080. I personally have been using the GAMING X TRIO RTX 2080 Ti model, which is awesome. Then there is the Ventus 3X that have a similar triple fan shroud but with less bling.
And finally let’s finish off with GALAX. They all look kind of generic with a triple fan illuminated cooler and the cringy “What’s Your Game?” question up top. Perhaps the most unique part of this card is the extra exhaust fan that you can mount at the back with this clip-in system, which is included on the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 models. I’m all for extra cooling performance, but the card is already quite chunky with a triple slot design, so the fan will bulk it up even more. And as with many others, the dual 8-pin power connectors are offset near the center of the card and overlap with the extra fan. Design wise this is my least favorite card, but the extra cooling might be beneficial and give this card an advantage.
So those are all the cards that we have found so far. Personally, I still find the Founders Edition to be the most unique in terms of cooler design since it gives us something different, but let us know which one was your favorite based on everything that we covered in this article. I can’t wait to get myself an RTX 3080!