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Replacing GeForce RTX 3090 Thermal Pads Improves GDDR6X Temps By 25C

Not satisfied with the temperatures of the memory on his GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition, a determined YouTuber (CryptoAtHome) replaced the factory thermal pads for aftermarket ones. The results are impressive as he managed to improve the temperatures by up to 25 degress Celsius — even while doing Ethereum mining.

Even though the GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3090 are two of the best graphics cards, their memory chips are notorious for running a bit hot if you stress the GPU long enough. Evidently, heat has been a problem from the beginning. An early investigation into the GeForce RTX 3080 already showed the memory hitting dangerous temperatures that surpassed 100C. In our own tests, the memory inside the GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 peaked at temperatures of 94 degrees Celsius and 104 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Micron rates its GDDR6X chips for operational temperatures up to 95C. Running the memory out of spec during prolonged durations is a recipe for disaster. Cryptocurrency mining takes an even bigger toll on the graphics card and was probably the primary motivation for the YouTuber to swap the thermal pads to improve its thermals.

Before surgery, the YouTuber's GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition was pushing a hash rate up to 82 MH/s mining Ethereum. The performance is a bit underwhelming since the GeForce RTX 3090 can easily reach 100 MH/s, and aftermarket models with better GDDR6X cooling can put hash rates up to 125 MH/s. Even though the YouTuber dropped the memory speed to 18Gbps and cranked the fan speed up to 88%, his GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition's memory was still hitting 110 degrees Celsius.

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GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition

GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition (Image credit: CryptoAtHome/Youtube)
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GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition

GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition (Image credit: CryptoAtHome/Youtube)

The YouTuber replaced the factory thermal pads with Thermalright's Odyssey Thermal Pad 85x45x1.5mm. Admittedly, the thermal pads aren't the best aftermarket offering that money can buy, as their thermal conductivity rating is only 12.8 W/mk. However, they appear to have done wonders for the memory chips inside the GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition.

After replacing the thermal pads, the YouTuber was able to restore the memory speed to 10,577 MHz (21.15 Gbps) and lowered the fan speed to 70% to pump out 100 MH/s. The graphics card's memory was dancing around the 84C–86C range during an entire day of cryptocurrency mining.

The Thermalright Odyssey Thermal Pad 85x45x1.5mm retails for $14.99 a piece on Amazon. Although the YouTuber bought four of them, he only needed three to completely substitute all the thermal pads on the GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition. It's a pretty good investment no matter which way you look at it. For $30, one could shave off as much as 25C off the memory's operating temperatures.

The memory's thermals shouldn't be as big of a concern if you're not into cryptocurrency mining. We can't generalize, but we expect the majority of custom GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 graphics cards on the market to come with better memory cooling solutions than Nvidia's wacky Founders Edition design. If you suspect that GeForce RTX 3080 or RTX 3090 is suffering from thermal throttling, the latest version of HWiNFO64 now shows the temperature for the GDDR6X memory chips.

  • husker
    I suspect this does not come as a surprise to Nvidia. Could be they saw this as a low cost way to discourage miners while keeping game benchmarks high.
    Reply
  • King_V
    I don't know. Seems sloppy on Nvidia's part. I don't think they were planning on a mining explosion when their cards released - particularly during design/manufacture.

    Seems like just a way to pad profits slightly. And a real shame.
    Reply
  • btmedic04
    husker said:
    I suspect this does not come as a surprise to Nvidia. Could be they saw this as a low cost way to discourage miners while keeping game benchmarks high.

    King_V said:
    I don't know. Seems sloppy on Nvidia's part. I don't think they were planning on a mining explosion when their cards released - particularly during design/manufacture.

    Seems like just a way to pad profits slightly. And a real shame.

    Built in obsolescence and pinching pennies to increase profit margins. If we start to see a lot of 3090 FE failures in 3 years, then i'd say its safe to assume that was nvidias plan all along
    Reply
  • sharkbaithohaha002
    Would this void my warranty though?
    Reply
  • Quarkzquarkz
    That's terrible tweaking. I used thermalright odyssey 1.5mm thermal pads on my 3090 founders edition backplate and getting 117mh/s continuous with 46c gpu temps and 65% fan speed with a power limit at a cool 280 watts across. Also added a heatsink and I'm running 20.04 ubuntu headless. Tested with trex, nbminer, gminer, phoenixminer, and ended up switching between t-rex and gminer.

    Whoever wrote that article doesn't realize they can probably push it to 120mh/s all day without worry.
    Reply
  • Sethiatspace
    Quarkzquarkz said:
    That's terrible tweaking. I used thermalright odyssey 1.5mm thermal pads on my 3090 founders edition backplate and getting 117mh/s continuous with 46c gpu temps and 65% fan speed with a power limit at a cool 280 watts across. Also added a heatsink and I'm running 20.04 ubuntu headless. Tested with trex, nbminer, gminer, phoenixminer, and ended up switching between t-rex and gminer.

    Whoever wrote that article doesn't realize they can probably push it to 120mh/s all day without worry.
    Not all cards are created equal, some 3090 FE (or not) have much better results than others. A lot of cards don't reach 120 MH/s or they will have incorrect/rejected shares or instability, which are both equally bad.
    Also, gpu temp is not a metric you should look at, it means nothing in the case of mining as it's the memory that's hit hard. You can have 50C gpu temp and 110 memory, check with Hwinfo.
    Reply
  • Olle P
    King_V said:
    ... Seems sloppy on Nvidia's part. ...
    Seems like just a way to pad profits slightly. And a real shame.
    Given that the heatsink is crazy expensive (manufacturing cost) one should expect Nvidia to cut all other available corners to reduce their loss on each sold card.
    Reply
  • Quarkzquarkz
    Sethiatspace said:
    Not all cards are created equal, some 3090 FE (or not) have much better results than others. A lot of cards don't reach 120 MH/s or they will have incorrect/rejected shares or instability, which are both equally bad.
    Also, gpu temp is not a metric you should look at, it means nothing in the case of mining as it's the memory that's hit hard. You can have 50C gpu temp and 110 memory, check with Hwinfo.

    Unfortunately, for linux users theres no way to check for vram temps outside hiveos and windows 10. But rest assured I've been running my 3090s like this for a little over 2 months now and all have thermal pads replaced, heatsinks added, low temps, and proper cooling and all happily at 117mh/s
    Reply
  • King_V
    Olle P said:
    Given that the heatsink is crazy expensive (manufacturing cost) one should expect Nvidia to cut all other available corners to reduce their loss on each sold card.
    Wait, did I miss something somewhere? Nvidia's losing money on each card sold?
    Reply
  • Sethiatspace
    King_V said:
    Wait, did I miss something somewhere? Nvidia's losing money on each card sold?
    There were rumors that the FE cooling solutions are too expensive and are costing nvidia real money.
    Reply