Galax packs in a few extras with the SG model of their card, specifically the fourth clip-on fan and a mounting bracket that doubles as extra RGB lighting. The design is otherwise pretty standard, with triple 92mm fans and a metal plate that covers the back of the card. The fans will stop completely when GPU temperatures are below about 50C, at which point the card is entirely silent.
The end of the plate has cutouts to let air flow through, which we've seen on many of the Ampere cards, and the fourth clip-on fan attaches over the cutouts, operating in a push-pull configuration. In testing, the extra fan does improve temperatures a bit, and GDDR6X temperatures in particular were much better on the Galax card than on Nvidia's Founder's Edition.
Above is a shot of mining performance with the Galax card, which tends to be the best way to stress test the memory. Here we've let NiceHashMiner run for over 15 minutes mining Octopus, after doing the initial 'precise' benchmarking of the algorithms. Octopus at the time was the most profitable algorithm, and it also generally hit the highest memory temperatures — 96C in this case. Kawpow also tends to be more profitable than Ethereum mining on the 3080 Ti, depending on the day, and memory temperatures were 8C lower in that case.
The RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition by comparison quickly hit 110C on the memory before fan speeds went to 100% and GPU clocks dropped. GDDR6X temperatures while gaming were about 10C lower than the worst mining temps we recorded, however, so outside of mining, the cards tend to do okay. Still, we'd much rather have the Galax cooling and fans than those of the Founders Edition. Not only does it keep the memory temps in check, but it also ran quieter — both desirable traits.
While we're on the subject of mining, the best case right now — even after the recent bump in Bitcoin and Ethereum prices — was around $5 to $6 per day in net profits. That might sound decent, but for a GPU that costs at least $1,200 and often goes for closer to $2,000, that means a minimum of 200 days to break even, and potentially more than a year. The Ethash limiter Nvidia has imposed on all RTX 30-series GPUs other than the RTX 3090 at least seems to be working so far, but there are almost certainly miners still buying these cards — either in hope of a hack to remove the limiter, or simply because other hashing algorithms still work fine.
The Galax card includes two 8-pin power connectors, which is pretty typical of high-end RTX 30-series GPUs — only a few models have opted to go with triple 8-pin connectors. It also features three DisplayPort 1.4 outputs and a single HDMI 2.1 port. The TDP sticks with Nvidia's reference 350W value, and in practice, the Galax card tended to come in slightly below that mark.
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