Asus and Noctua have done it again after the GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC and the GeForce RTX 3080 Noctua OC: The Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC is not only clearly the quietest graphics card in the test field, but certainly also at the moment the quietest model in this performance class. And quiet in this case means virtually inaudible. Even slower models cannot match this result.
The Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC in review
With its CPU coolers and fans, Noctua has often proven that the Austrian manufacturer knows how to build powerful yet quiet models. Over the past year, the formula has also been transferred to graphics cards, because both the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC and the Asus GeForce RTX 3080 Noctua OC are among the quietest models of their kind first variant of the current graphics card generation.
With the GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC, Asus proceeds in the same way as with the other two models: Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4080 serves as the basic framework and the in-house GeForce RTX 4080 TUF OC serves as the basis for the custom design. For the Noctua version, there were minor adjustments to the heat sink, a completely new cooler shroud and two NF-A12x25 fans as the heart – the Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC is done.
The competition has literally increased significantly
But compared to the RTX 3000 generation, the custom design coolers of the GeForce RTX 4080 have evolved significantly, which applies to both Nvidia’s Founders Edition and the partner designs. This raises the question of whether the Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC still has audible advantages – because the GeForce RTX 4080 TUF OC can also be quiet. The test clarifies whether the undertaking is nevertheless successful.
The Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC in detail
Asus currently has two different models of the GeForce RTX 4080 in its portfolio: TUF for the normal gamer and Strix for the enthusiast. With the Noctua variant, a third version is added, which appeals to all silent fans who also value high cooling performance. Since Asus does not state an MSRP for the graphics card (or any other model), the market price can only be guessed at. However, experience shows that it will probably settle between the TUF and Strix – with orientation to the TUF.
One of the reasons for this is that the GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC is based on the TUF. So although all three Asus models come with the same PCB, it is equipped differently. And the Noctua then got the simpler power supply of the TUF.
The cooler has been adapted for the Noctua model
The heat sink is also based on the TUF design, but there have been some adjustments for the Noctua model. The distances between the fins and the eight heat pipes have been adapted to the characteristics of the NF-A12x25 fans. Instead of two 8mm and six 6mm heat pipes, there are five 8mm and three 3mm heat pipes. At the same time, the cooler uses a vapor chamber instead of a copper base. This is also the reason for the wider heat pipes, since the vapor chamber makes them really effective.
At the same time, the height of the entire card has increased to 4.3 slots, even if the heat sink itself has even become a little flatter – but the significantly wider fans turn this around again. In combination with a length of 31 cm, it is a very large and, above all, wide graphics card, but not unusually long by today’s standards – the Noctua model is 4 cm shorter than the TUF. There should only rarely be problems when installing it in a case, but four PCIe slots are blocked at the same time. According to Noctua, the cooling performance of the GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua should be 5 °C better than that of the GeForce RTX 3080 Noctua with a power consumption of 300 watts.
Two of Noctua’s flagship models NF-A12x25, which cost 30 euros each, are used for the fans. These are axial fans with a diameter of 120 mm (the fan blades have a diameter of 110 mm) which are known for being able to operate quietly even at higher speeds and also for not generating any disturbing noises apart from the draft. Whether this also works on the graphics card will be clarified later in the article. The subject is equipped with two BIOS versions (“Quiet” and “Performance”), with the Quiet BIOS being active at the factory.
The graphics card comes fully in the Noctua design – without lighting
The Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC is literally rounded off by the cooler jacket including backplate, which is already known from the two other models, which have the typical Noctua look and are therefore kept in different shades of brown – this is not to everyone’s taste, but it makes a lot if you like it. Although the casing is only made of plastic, the look and feel are absolutely right. The graphics card looks and feels high quality. As is typical for Noctua, the model comes without any lighting.
The Noctua Edition is technically completely identical to the TUF. The base clock is 2,205 MHz, the average boost is 2,595 MHz. This can be increased to 2,625 MHz in OC mode using Asus’ own tool. The 16 GB GDDR6X memory clocks at the usual 11,200 MHz. The graphics card can consume 320 watts via the 12VHPWR power connection, a suitable 3×8-pin adapter is included in the scope of delivery. The maximum power consumption can be increased to 352 watts. Monitors can be connected to three DisplayPort 1.4 DSC and two HDMI 2.1 outputs.
This is how the custom designs clock in games
Officially, the Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC starts with exactly the same clock rates as the Asus GeForce RTX 4080 TUF OC – and you can see that in the results. Of course, the two graphics cards do not clock exactly the same, among other things, the chip quality is responsible for the final clock – but the results are confusingly similar.
The maximum clock of the Noctua variant is 2,895 MHz, but this is hardly ever the case in games. The GPU showed the highest clock in God of War, with 2,880 MHz you are not far from the optimal result there. The TUF clocks there with a slightly higher 2,887 MHz, while Nvidia’s Founders Edition clocks at 2,745 MHz, 135 MHz lower.
Actual average clock speeds in Fractal Design torrent
|3,840 × 2,160||Asus Noctua OC/Quiet||Asus TUF OC/Quiet||Nvidia FE|
|God of War||2880MHz||2887MHz||2,728MHz|
In Doom Eternal it is then an average of 2,788 MHz when playing and in Spider-Man Remastered 2,859 MHz. In both cases, this is slightly higher than with the TUF, but the Noctua is only less than 10 MHz ahead there. The advantages over the Founders Edition are 144 and 114 MHz.
The Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC is slowed down slightly by the power limit, although this is only the case in Doom Eternal in the three games. If the power limit is increased to the maximum possible 352 watts in the game, around 2880 MHz are also shown there.
Benchmarks in Ultra HD
The benchmarks of the Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC are not particularly exciting. On average, the graphics card is 3 percent faster than the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition and is therefore absolutely as powerful as the TUF model. There are no significant differences compared to the already tested MSI GeForce RTX 4080 Suprim X and the Zotac GeForce RTX 4080 AMP Extreme Airo. The custom designs are all equally fast within a maximum of 1 percent. Accordingly, it is not advisable to only pay attention to the performance of the GeForce RTX 4080 partner cards in order to then decide on the favourite. The distance to the Nvidia model is also too small to do this.
Loudness & Cooling
Asus and Noctua have done it again: Although the other custom designs already tested by Technoeager are relatively quiet and the GeForce RTX 4080 TUF OC in particular stands out with the alternative Quiet BIOS, the Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC then plays but once again in a different league: Because with a speed of 990 revolutions and a volume of just 29.5 dB, the fans are simply completely inaudible from a closed housing.
This is also due to the fact that the two built-in Noctua NF-A12x25 play in a completely different league than all other fans used on graphics cards in terms of quality and smoothness. Even if the latter hardly produce any air noise, they are actually always audible due to grinding noises, resonances or other phenomena. However, this does not apply to the NF-A12x25, only the air noise can really be heard here – and at 990 revolutions there are none of them worth mentioning. From a closed case, the GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC is completely inaudible, no matter how hard you focus on the graphics card.
The graphics card remains very quiet even with the alternative performance BIOS. The speed then increases to 1,360 rpm, the volume to 33 dB. This gives the test person the same sound pressure as the Asus GeForce RTX 4080 TUF OC, which is also very quiet, with the Quiet BIOS, but the fan noise is more pleasant with the Noctua version. At the higher speed, the air noises can definitely be heard, but only them.
All other custom designs of the GeForce RTX 4080 tested so far are significantly louder. The Zotac GeForce RTX 4080 AMP Extreme Airo reaches 36.5 dB, the MSI GeForce RTX 4080 Suprim X 37.5 dB. Both are clearly louder than the Asus Noctua OC. This also applies to Nvidia’s Founders Edition, which also achieves 37.5 dB.
Coil rattle is at the usual level
Coil rattling on the Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC is at the usual level of other RTX 4080 cards. This means that the graphics card consistently emits audible noises under load, even if they aren’t annoying, but are noticeable. They are louder than the actual noise from the fan. However, the coil rattle varies from model to model, and your own power supply can also have an influence on it. General statements can therefore hardly be made in this regard.
The Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC is very quiet – but it doesn’t come for free, because the graphics card gets a little warmer than its colleagues. The edge temperature when gaming is 74 °C, the hotspot is 86 °C and the GDDR6X memory gets up to 84 °C. That is around 10 °C more than with the other custom designs in all measurement series. Ultimately, however, this does not matter, since all temperature values are still far from a critical range. The latter only starts with three-digit values for both the GPU and the memory. Accordingly, there is still enough leeway for warm summer days without the graphics card having to turn up the fan speed.
With the still very quiet performance BIOS, the GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC also shows that it can be just as cool if desired. Then the edge temperature is only 65 °C, that of the hotspot 76 °C and that of the memory 74 °C. This is on par with other custom cards.
The Asus GeForce RTX 4080 Noctua OC is actually the GeForce RTX 4080 TUF OC with a different cooler and this is how the graphics card behaves. With 328 watts, the test person needs 4 watts more than the TUF model, so Asus treats both variants to a bit more energy than the competition. The Zotac GeForce RTX 4080 AMP Extreme Airo, for example, is content with 317 watts, the MSI GeForce RTX 4080 Suprim with 314 watts. Nvidia’s reference design achieves 289 watts in the measurement series – at a speed that is hardly lower.