MSI's new RTX 3090 looks like a knock-off GTX 480

mongeese

Posts: 627   +122
Staff member
A hot potato: Allow me to introduce you to the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Aero 24G. The enormous, ray tracing GPU of the future; armed with a decade-old cooler. The no-expenses-spared Nvidia flagship; with a few downgrades to preserve the budget.

If I were an optimist, I'd describe this graphics card as minimalist. As a realist, I have to admit that this graphics card is an ugly and (presumably) cheap blower based on the reference spec. The caveat is that MSI hasn't revealed the price yet, but that can be chalked up to the present market conditions.

If we judge this baby as an entry-level flagship (isn't that a phrase!) and assume it will cost less than the $1,500 MSRP of an RTX 3090, then it looks reasonable on paper. Nvidia's reference spec is nothing to complain about, as long as the cooling solution is adequate, which it seems to be. And the card is eminently practical: it's a two-slot design, so it'll work very nicely in SLI or small form factor set ups, as long as the 300 mm length doesn't pose a problem.

The only issue is that of aesthetics. On the front, the card's very large exhaust plate sits adjacent to the small circular blower fan, adorned with the MSI logo and a green accent. The design is reminiscent of the founders edition Fermi blowers, pictured above.

Conjuring reminders of Fermi isn't something any marketing department wants. As experienced enthusiasts will recall, the Fermi architecture was hot and hungry and the GTX 480 was a problematic flagship. In our review, we found that it could get up to almost a hundred degrees during testing, and it idled at an outrageous sixty-five. Steve had to wear gloves so he didn't burn himself!

The second problem with this RTX 3090 is the backplate, or partial lack thereof… inexplicably, the backplate is half-length, while the PCB is full-length. Seriously MSI, how much money does a short backplate save?

The MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Aero 24G will be released soon. Purchase at your own peril.

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Shadowboxer

Posts: 2,074   +1,654
It’s odd that the 480 has the rep of being like the hottest card ever. I just looked at a day one review for it, went to the temps section and when running furmark there were a couple of cards hotter than it. Like the Radeon HD3870 and Nvidias own 8800GT! Also the HD4870x2. And I wonder if any of the other dual GPU cards that released since are hotter.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,780   +6,623
It’s odd that the 480 has the rep of being like the hottest card ever. I just looked at a day one review for it, went to the temps section and when running furmark there were a couple of cards hotter than it. Like the Radeon HD3870 and Nvidias own 8800GT! Also the HD4870x2. And I wonder if any of the other dual GPU cards that released since are hotter.
Furmark is a powervirus for GPUs. The 480 ran just as hot during games, which the others did nto do, all while sounding like a jet engine. It would hit 90C running tetris FFS.
 

mongeese

Posts: 627   +122
Staff member
So we have a negative review for a card that hasn’t even been released yet... based on... looks?!?
Come on TechSpot, you can do better!
Yes, we are judging a book by its cover. But we've already read the contents - look at our RTX 3090 review for our thoughts on the GPU - so all that's left to judge is the cover.
There's dozens, if not hundreds of RTX 3090 designs out there, and they're all very similar.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,982
Yes, we are judging a book by its cover. But we've already read the contents - look at our RTX 3090 review for our thoughts on the GPU - so all that's left to judge is the cover.
There's dozens, if not hundreds of RTX 3090 designs out there, and they're all very similar.
Yes... but THIS particular card hasn’t been tested... yet is being negatively reviewed... I’d prefer to see it actually tested first...
 

psycros

Posts: 4,464   +6,656
Yes, we are judging a book by its cover. But we've already read the contents - look at our RTX 3090 review for our thoughts on the GPU - so all that's left to judge is the cover.
There's dozens, if not hundreds of RTX 3090 designs out there, and they're all very similar.

I know one has to be a bit jaded after handling a lot of hardware over the years but I still find it weird that the exception to the rule is the one that you feel DOESN'T need a closer look.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 2,074   +1,654
Furmark is a powervirus for GPUs. The 480 ran just as hot during games, which the others did nto do, all while sounding like a jet engine. It would hit 90C running tetris FFS.
Actually the reviews I saw showed those other two cards running either the same or hotter in gaming tests. And I wonder if this is as hot as the 290X, which also had a blower style cooler and made a hairdryer noise but was released 3 years later. In fact the test I saw had the 480 at 92C max and the 290X could hit 95C.
 
Guys, you don’t get it - this card is PERFECT for custom water cooling. As soon as someone makes water block for it. Here’s why: power connectors on the rear part allows to tuck all the cables out of sight and where they don’t interfere with tubes, very basic cooler means cheaper, I don’t want to overpay on stuff I’m going to throw away anyways. Same for the short backplate - I will use backplate from water block kit anyways, the smaller it is the less I will spend on unnecessary stuff. Brilliant product!
 

mongeese

Posts: 627   +122
Staff member
I know one has to be a bit jaded after handling a lot of hardware over the years but I still find it weird that the exception to the rule is the one that you feel DOESN'T need a closer look.
What you and Squid Surprise have said is valid and I don't disagree that I've been a little critical of the card. But cards based on the reference spec only compete with each other in three main ways: aesthetics, noise, and price. MSI haven't announced the price, so I don't think I'm being unfair to judge it based on how it looks.

I understand if you disagree, though.

But as I say in the article, it's a perfectly sufficient card for specific use cases. As neeyik said, the form is great for SLI workstations. And as Kizune said, if an appropriate waterblock was made for it then it would be a great choice for water-cooling. (Nice spot Kizune!)
 

candle_86

Posts: 729   +730
I dunno I kinda like it, I always found the GTX 480 somewhat attractive, and hey at least it wasn't an R9 290X, those guys had to throttle below base clocks instead of turbo to not cook themselves, at least the 480 could maintain its clocks
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,175   +8,323
I still think you need at least two fans, in case one (or more) break.

Besides, what' would be the actual manufacturer cost of adding and extra fan or two, 10 or 20 bucks?
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,982
What you and Squid Surprise have said is valid and I don't disagree that I've been a little critical of the card. But cards based on the reference spec only compete with each other in three main ways: aesthetics, noise, and price. MSI haven't announced the price, so I don't think I'm being unfair to judge it based on how it looks.

I understand if you disagree, though.

But as I say in the article, it's a perfectly sufficient card for specific use cases. As neeyik said, the form is great for SLI workstations. And as Kizune said, if an appropriate waterblock was made for it then it would be a great choice for water-cooling. (Nice spot Kizune!)
I’m more annoyed with the entire principle... there are tons of variants to the 3090... and most haven’t been reviewed on this site. This one, which you haven’t tested, you decided to review.... why?!?

If they had sent you one and you had tested it, I’d understand... but please explain why this article even exists?
 

Leuten

Posts: 45   +76
Had two GTX480 none of which lasted long before getting fried.

One was MSI the other I do not recall, but not even the biggest aftermarket cooler could save it.
 
I signed up to comment on how appalling this article is. It's as if the writer doesn't know things called workstations/servers exist.
This is designed specifically to be stacked side by side in 3RU or 4RU racks, that's why the power connectors are on the short end (as they won't fit otherwise in 3RU), and the backplate is half length to give the next GPU space for air intake.
The world doesn't revolve around RGB.