Since I upgraded my GPU to an EVGA RTX 3090 FTW3 Ultra Gaming, I have thoroughly missed the surprisingly good VRAM cooling of my PNY 3090. Since the switch, I have tried everything possible to reduce the memory junction temps while mining and eventually ran at 121 MH/s at 90*C stable (with GPU fans at 90%). In contrast, the PNY 3090 ran at 121 MH/s at around 84*C w (with GPU Fans at 60%). These stats are with a case with ample airflow, as well as dual heatsinks and fans on top of the GPU’s backplate.
Fast forward to now, I finally snagged a hybrid kit to convert my EVGA RTX 3090 into a water-cooled card. I have been researching the upgrade for quite some time and have found mixed results on its effectiveness at cooling the VRAM. Most have reported lower hash rates and higher VRAM temps as the hybrid kit does little to cool the top of the card, so I was hesitant to completely take apart the card and risk breaking something for little-to-no gain (and a possible chance of further hindering the card’s performance).
Once I obtained the hybrid kit, and since the project involved completely disassembling the card, I thought now would be an excellent time to upgrade the thermal pads within the card and/or repaste the card’s core. After thorough research, I decided to pick up some 80x40x2.0mm Gelid Solutions GP-Extreme 12W-Thermal Pads but ended up not using them as I found the stock EVGA pads to be the most effective at transferring heat. In the future, I may replace the thermal pads on the backplate of the card, but for now, I will just keep everything the same (especially since the hybrid kit comes with its own thermal pads).
From researching other user cases, I saw that blocking the openings in the hybrid kit can drop VRAM temps as well; to better explain this, if you look at the top of the card, you can see straight through to the hybrid kit’s bottom right fan, thus wasting any cold air that could have made it to the VRAM on the top backplate. There are also some gaps in the power connectors, LED lights, etc. I initially attempted to close these gaps by merely adding some carefully cut cardboard pieces but didn’t like the idea of having such an odd foreign object in a $2k+ device. In the end, I just buttoned everything up as it showed in the manual.
Idiot Moment: After completing the entire project, I realized that I had used regular metal washers instead of the mentioned (in the installation guide) paper washers to secure the backplate to the GPU. I would imagine that the paper washers either don’t conduct electricity or are merely to prevent scratches to the surface; either way, at this point, I wanted to see what I was working with before I fixed it, temperature-wise.
As you notice in the pictures, I had somewhat of a difficult time finding the proper placement of both my CPU and GPU AIO’s. The easiest method would have been to keep my CPU’s radiator at the top of the case and add the GPU’s radiator to the front; however, the GPU’s radiator produces significantly more heat than the CPU’s. So, I had to switch everything around and now have the GPU’s radiator blowing hot air outside my case on the top and the CPU’s radiator sucking cold air via the front of the case. I am still not satisfied with the positions of all the hoses as I can get some intense ‘whooshing’ sounds that make me believe there is air trapped in the system, but I am still working on it. Also, the CPU radiator didn’t want to fit at the front properly, so I had to remove a piece of the case and tilt the radiator at somewhat of an angle to install it.
After several hours of re-optimizing my fan placement and such, I can gladly say this was all worth it. While the ambient air temperature in my office is rather cold, both my GPU and CPU’s idle temperature is sub-30* C, often hovering around 27*C. I loaded up Forza 5 for a quick test in 4k with max settings, and the warmest my GPU got was 43*C with fans on relatively low. While these figures are quite amazing, mining is truly where this change shines. I somehow managed to lose around 4 MH/s running Daggerhashimoto, but I suspect that the Hybrid BIOS is the culprit. However, as I write this, the card is running 117 MH/s stable with a core temperature of 34*C and a VRAM temperature of only 78* C, with the fans running at 69% (nice). Overall, I am truly pleased with the upgrade, and while I still have some things I need to do when I get some free time (add two top fans to the GPU radiator for a push/pull setup and find a better location for the CPU radiator), I am so glad I decided to do this.
New Part List
- EVGA GeForce RTX 3090 FTW3 Ultra Gaming w/ Hybrid Kit
- Seasonic PX1300 Platinum Power Supply
- TUF Gaming X570-Pro (Wi-Fi 6)
- AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
- NZXT Kraken X63 AIO 280mm (Push/Pull)
- 3 DeepCool RF120 RGB Fans
- 3 Noctua 140mm NF-A14 iPPC-3000 PWM, Heavy Duty Cooling Fans (3000 RPM)
- Noctua 80mm NF-A8 PWM Premium Quiet Fan (2200 RPM)
- DeepCool 80mm Fan mounted on an old Intel stock CPU heatsink (mounted on GPU)
- DeepCool THETA 20 PWM 100mm CPU cooler (mounted on GPU)
- 32GB Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro DDR4-3600
- Samsung 970 EVO SSD 1TB – M.2 NVMe
- WD Blue 1TB HDD
- Phanteks Evolv ATX Case
- (Main Monitor) Gigabyte G32QC 32″ 165Hz 1440P Curved
- (Secondary Monitor) Acer 31.5” 1080p 60hz
- (Third Monitor) TCL 4k 55″ TV