Cooling Noise and Power
For my last few tests, rather than focusing on in game performance, I like to check out other aspects of performance. These are also the most important ways to differentiate the performance between cards that have the same GPU. To start things off I took a look at power usage. For this, I use our Kill-A-Watt hooked up to the test bench to record the total wattage of the system. I ran two tests with the first using 3DMark Fire Strike to put the system under a load similar to normal in game performance. Here our test system with the RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition in it pulled 382 watts in the 3DMark testing which is 26 watts less than the RTX 2080 SUPER and a few watts higher than our 3070 in the same test. The GPU only load test using the AIDA64 Stress Test was more consistent with the RTX 3070 pulling 334 to the RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition’s 315.
My next round of tests were looking at noise levels. These are especially important to me because I can’t stand to listen to my PC whirling. Especially when I’m not in game and other applications are using the GPU. In my testing it seemed like there was either a delay or MSI has the fans not to come on until things reach around 61c but they stay on until things cool down to 43c. For my testing, though I first tested with the fan cranked up to 100% to get an idea of how loud it can get, then again at 50% to get an idea of its range. The RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition came in right in the middle of the pack at 59.3 for the 100% noise test which is right with the 2080 SUPER. This is especially impressive when we look at the RPM chart, which had the two fans running at 3751 RPM. The RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition runs extremely quiet for how fast the fans were running. The 50% test was extremely quiet as well at 37.4db. Then for the most important noise test, the load noise levels of the RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition were great and down in the bottom section of our charts.
To finish up my testing I of course had to check out the cooling performance. To do this I ran two different tests. I used AIDA64’s Stress Test run for a half-hour each to warm things up. Then I documented what temperature the GPU leveled out at with the stock fan profile and then again with the fans cranked up to 100%. With the stock profile, the RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition ended up at 68c which was the same as the RTX 2080 SUPER ironically and two degrees lower than the RTX 3070 which has the same cooler design. Cranking the fan up to 100% the temperature dropped down to 51c, again exactly with the RTX 2080 SUPER. The delta between the two was 17c which is right with most of Nvidia’s coolers.
While running the stock fan profile testing I also took the time to get a few thermal images so we could see what is going on. On the fan side, you can see that the fin section for the rearmost fan that is over the GPU is handling the majority of the cooling, venting out the top of the card. The other fan that vents down has some heat, but not nearly as much. The top-down point of view tells the same story with the center fin section being the only warm area up. The back of the card does show that the rear fan is doing its share, only it isn’t venting down, it is using the blow through design for most of its cooling. The backplate is transferring heat out away from the back of the GPU as well with a small warmer spot in that area.