It’s no secret that at CGMagazine we are fans of Noctua and their very quiet and highly efficient fans. So when ASUS announced a 3070 with iconic Noctua fans, we were intrigued. The 3070 is one of the best GPUs you can buy in this generation, offering excellent gaming performance, with the added bonus of fantastic ray-tracing support. Now that it’s here and we’ve put it through its paces, while it might not be the best GPU you can buy, it’s definitely a card worthy of your time and money. .
When unboxing the ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU, the first major thing you’ll notice is the size. This graphics monster takes up four slots in your case, with two Noctua 120mm fans, measuring 25mm thick with a heavy shroud to house all the cooling power. The heatsink is also very large, similar in size to the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX card we’ve reviewed in the past. It’s an impressive design that, while massive, also has an elegant style that should feel unique in a sea of generic “gamer” graphics cards.
Unlike the other 3070 variants, the RTX 3070 Noctua GPU has no on-board RGB lighting, with the overall board boasting Noctua’s iconic tan and brown aesthetic that looks very different from other offerings. That makes sense, since Noctua designs products that are made to work and not be seen, but it also means it’s one less thing that clashes with the disco light show that most of your other components will show. Personally, I find simplicity nice, especially in a modern menu, but tastes vary.
The ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU is powered by two 8-pin PCI-E connectors, so it’s very comparable to the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX card. Much like other ASUS offerings, there’s a simple switch that lets you toggle between “Performance” or “Quiet” modes, with the latter being the default mode the card ships in. This can also be done by installing ASUS’ GPU Tweak III, where you can also find ‘OC mode’ which provides an extra 30MHz when you want to get the most out of your card.
For this review, CGMagazine used our current 12th Gen Intel testbed, featuring a Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro motherboard, 32GB Corsair Vengeance 4800 DDR5 RAM, Seagate FireCuda 530 1TB, MSI MPG A850GF PSU, and an Intel 12th generation i9-12900K processor. All gaming benchmarks are done on this test build, the only thing that changes in this case is the GPU. This should give the system more than enough room to push the limits of the ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU and put it in line with our tests of the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX card that we conducted recently.
3D Mark Firestrike Benchmark
As we do with most of our GPU reviews, we started off with some synthetic benchmarks, running through test builds with the usual range of 3D Mark tests. These benchmarks aren’t ideal, but they’re a good starting point and a good way to examine how this GPU stacks up against competition from AMD and Nvidia.
Since its release, Assassin’s Creed: Walhalla has remained the mainstay of our range of references. The game has stunning visuals, can scale well to a wide range of configurations and resolutions, and has some exciting new features that put both AMD and Nvidia GPUs to the test, making it the perfect game to include in our benchmarks.
In all our tests, Assassin’s Creed: Walhalla looked fantastic on the ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU, and it was right behind the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX. For the average user, when you’re dealing with a single FPS difference, it really is a toss-up. So far, the Noctua RTX 3070 is holding up and looking very cool.
4A Games has a fantastic benchmarking offering. Not only does it look great and use cutting-edge tech like DLSS and RTX, it also pushes the GPU, giving us an idea of how every card we throw at it will perform in real-world testing. Exploring the wastelands of Eastern Europe has never looked so good, and never has it pushed systems so hard.
Two tests down, and while the RTX 3070 Noctua still trails the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX, in our 4K test, Metro Exodus only managed to deliver 0.4 fps more than the Noctua. It’s better than I expected, given that the STRIX variant is overclocked and offers some of the best speeds you can find in the 3070 series of cards.
I really like the look of Cyberpunk 2077 on PC. While CD projectis far from perfect, it’s a great way to test a system and gives stunning visuals that put a GPU to the test.
As with previous tests, the difference between the two powerful 3070 cards is neck and neck, although this time we managed to see the RTX 3070 Noctua win this round, with 0.3 fps more than on the card STRIX, something I did not expect.
The last game we put the cards to is Rockstar Games’ western masterpiece, Red Dead Redemption 2. The game puts any card to the test, while adapting well to even the weakest offers. While it might not be the most demanding option on our list, it’s still a great way to see how a system compares.
As with all tests so far, Red Dead Redemption 2 looked very comparable across the two flagship 3070 GPUs. This was one of the closer tests, with just 0.1fps difference between the two cards. With such a small difference, it’s well within the margin of error, which makes the Noctua RTX 3070 GPU a solid offering, especially compared to other cards in the 3070 series.
With gaming testing done, it’s time to take a look at the thermals the RTX 3070 Noctua brings to the table. In terms of performance, the RTX 3070 Noctua stacks up very well against the monster GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX. What makes this card so special are Noctua’s fans, which are quiet and designed to keep things even cooler compared to the traditional fans found on graphics cards. In our testing, while the noise was roughly on par with its STRIX cousin, the Noctua RTX 3070 managed to be around 6°C to 10°C cooler when gaming or performing hard.
Additionally, it should be noted that the RTX 3070 Noctua GPU managed to consume less power under load compared to the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX. Where the STRIX would consume an average of 264 watts of power, the Noctua managed the same or similar performance, consuming just 250.4, or about 14 watts less. This is something important to note, especially when you’re constantly pushing your card through the latest and greatest AAA games to offer.
After testing is complete, I can safely say that the ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU is a very impressive GPU, which shows how efficient and quiet Noctua is at keeping a card cool. The only problem with hopping the Noctua train is the price. Due to the current supply chain, even if GPU prices continue to drop, you will pay a premium for the Noctua RTX 3070 card over some other 3070 offerings on the market. As the supply chain slowly adjusts, that premium will diminish, but I never expect the 3070 Noctua to be a cheap card to jump on.
This then begs the question of who the Noctua RTX 3070 is for, and that’s a little harder to answer. I’m personally a fan of the design, features, and performance we saw on the card while using it. The fact that we were able to put the card under 99% charge, and that it barely exceeded 60 C is very impressive. I wonder if the cooler couldn’t have been better served on a 3080 or even a 3090, just because of how powerful those cards are, but as things stand I’m impressed with what the RTX 3070 Noctua brings to the table.
While it’s not for everyone, and potentially annoying for people who demand RGB streaming through all aspects of a PC, I found the ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU to be an amazing deal. I love the brown and tan aesthetic, and the performance I’ve seen compares it to some of the best 3070 cards on the market. With quiet and powerful fans, excellent gaming credentials and a unique design, few cars are as striking or as unique as the Noctua RTX 3070, and it’s a card worthy of any new PC build, provided that you can find it close to the MSRP.