In a nutshell: In what’s sure to be a highly enticing graphics card for PC enthusiasts (especially gamers), Asus and Noctua have announced the ultra-quiet GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua Edition. The first graphics card in the world to utilize Noctua fans and a tailored heatsink co-engineered by the CPU cooler firm, the GPU allows for a reduction in noise levels of up to 15dB(A), making it “the quietest card in its class.”
It’s an exciting card for those seeking significant performance without “sacrificing quietness of operation.”
Noise levels can be lowered up to 15dB(A) at medium fan speeds, and 9dB(A) for maximum fan speeds. If you install the card in cases that deliver good ventilation and moderate ambient temperatures of 24°C or lower, the GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua Edition will keep its fans operating at very low speeds, even if the GPU is running at a 100 percent load. Accordingly, you’ll be able to play games or run GPU-intensive tasks in general in “almost complete silence.”
Asus and Noctua’s collaboration results in a GPU heatsink that offers some serious thermal performance, backed by a pair of NF-A12x25 fans. The card also features a semi-passive fan control setup -- via Asus’ 0dB technology -- allowing it to completely turn the fans off if GPU temperature levels remain below 50°C. So as long as you have a well-ventilated case and run low to moderate ambient temperatures, the card is capable of functioning entirely fanless for lower GPU load tasks like light gaming, web browsing and office productivity.
“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,” Noctua CEO Roland Mossig said.
His statement is aptly demonstrated in Noctua’s detailed performance comparison, showing that the Noctua Edition registers at just 12.6dB(A). The card is “not only quiet but near inaudible.” The tests also show that at 33.3dB(A), the Noctua Edition, in the worst-case scenario with fans running at full speed, still managed to produce 3dB(A) less noise than the standard edition at the medium speed setting.
A quiet profile is set as the default, but for PC connoisseurs who want to look beyond factory settings, Asus also provides the GPU Tweak II software which will accompany the beta-version GPU Tweak III and allowing for setting custom fan curves or undervolting.
By reducing the thermal output of the card, undervolting will unlock the card’s potential to run even quieter. By reducing GPU voltage by around 100mV, for example, users can drop the GPU temperatures by several degrees and thus widen the thermal margin to slow the fans down even further.
The RTX 3070 Noctua Edition will be available in both standard and overclocked models. The former comes with a 1,755 MHz boost clock, while the OC version boasts a 1,845 MHz boost clock. Pricing has yet to be revealed ( it may be around $1,137), but both GPUs will go on sale in mid-October.