The RTX 3090 Founders Edition Performance Revealed – 35+ Games, SPEC & Workstation & GPGPU Benchmarked 

Overclocking, Temperatures & Noise

Overclocking, Temperatures & Noise 

All of our performance and overclocked testing are performed in a closed Phanteks Eclipse P400 ATX mid-tower case.  Inside, the RTX 3090 is a very quiet card even when overclocked and we never needed to increase its fan speeds manually or change the stock fan profile.  Compared with the RTX 2080 Ti which becomes loud when it ramps up, the RTX 3090 is quieter and can barely be heard over the other fans in our PC.  We overclocked the RTX 3090 using Afterburner including adding .1mV more voltage.

We used Heaven 4.0 running in a window at completely maxed-out settings at a windowed 2560×1440 to load the GPU to 98% so we could observe the running characteristics of the RTX 3090 and also to be able to compare our changed clock settings with their results instantly.  At completely stock settings with the GPU under full load, the RTX 3090 ran cool and stayed below 68C with clocks that averaged from about 1860MHz to 1890MHz.

Simply raising the Power and Temperatures to their maximums resulted in the clocks running at 1935MHz to1965MHz with no changes in temperatures whatsoever using the stock fan profile.  In fact, we never needed to adjust the stock fan profile in a cool room.

Adding .1mV to the core clock for the RTX 3090 didn’t make any difference and the clocks continued to fluctuate around 1935MHz although the temperatures rose by 1 degree to 69C.

Next we set up Precision X1, and ran its automatic scan function.

Precision X1 suggested adding +79MHz to the core, but that was as over-optimistic as with the RTX 3080 and both cards crashed when we tried to apply it.  We tested manual overclocking for hours but we were able to add only 55MHz to the core.  We also found that we were able to increase the memory clocks by adding +1100MHz without artifacting, but it crashed with an offset of +1200MHz.  Unfortunately, we could not combine the overclocks to reach an ideal +1100MHz memory and +55MHz offset to the core.  It’s a matter of supplying more voltage to either the memory or to the core.

After testing multiple combinations, our RTX 3090’s final stable overclock to achieve the highest overall performance adds +40MHz offset to the core and +600 MHz to the memory.  The RTX 3090 is power-limited, and to achieve a higher overclock will take more voltage than what adding .1mV can deliver. 

Overclocking the RTX 3090 brought the clocks up a to a steady 1950MHz to 1965Hz.  Interestingly, the GPU itself never became hot although the fan would automatically rise to around 70% in a very warm room; still very quiet.  However, you may want to use oven mitts to remove the card if you shut down the PC and remove the card immediately after a long series of benching.

The RTX 3090 video card gets hot although its cooling system works perfectly to keep the GPU below 70C all of the time.  So hot air will get dumped into your case’s airflow.  Make sure it can handle it so you don’t overheat your other hardware components.  This is why we don’t think watercooling will make any difference – except to a case’s interior temperatures if its airflow is already compromised.

To see the performance increase from overclocking, we tested 15 games at 2560×1440 and at 3840×2160 resolution.  The results are given after the main performance charts in the next section.  So let’s check out performance on the next page.