Fanless RTX 3080 spotted inside a silent mini PC build
If you are a fan of fanless PC rigs, then you probably know that these usually make sense only for very affordable small form-factor builds integrating low-end components that do not consume too much energy. However, there are modders out there that find it challenging to equip fanless builds with more powerful components that, under normal circumstances, would require quite hefty cooling solutions. We have seen some rigs integrating AMD Zen2 processors with decent results, but what if we want to add a powerful GPU to the mix? Say… an RTX 3080. This kind of defeats the "very affordable" aspect of fanless builds, but some modders are not really limited in this regard. Mical Wong, the founder of custom fanless PC case producer Turemetal, recently tried its hand at fitting the RTX 3080 inside one of its latest UP10 cases. Although the attempt appears to be a success, the thermal reads are not exactly optimal.
The configuration used by Wong to test the stability of the fanless Asus TUF RTX 3080 also included an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X processor. We reckon that anything beyond that model would require at least some air cooling to run stably in multi-core loads. The CPU itself did not run very hot during the Furmark stress tests, peaking at around 40 degrees Celsius, but only one core was actually being used. The RTX 3080 initially started out at 18 degrees Celsius and peaked at 87. However, it looks like Wong did not let the temperature level out and stopped the test before it could finish a full cycle. Also of note here is the lower than average room temperature of only 13.6 degrees Celsius. Wong claims that the system was drawing 410 W, and that is most likely the idle power draw.
Now, for fanless builds, maybe it would be a good idea to impose some limits on the GPU, especially when it is a power-hungry monster like the RTX 3080. Wong most likely tried to run all components at maximum TDP, and this approach did not go well for the GPU. We know that undervolting the GPU can actually be beneficial for power consumption and thermals with minimal performance impact. This probably will not be enough to ensure 70 degree Celsius full-load temperatures for the fanless build, so further limiting the power usage to 70% might do the trick here. Yes, performance will drop to around RTX 3070 levels, but at least you will have a passively-cooled RTX 3070 and a virtually silent system, which is still nothing to sneeze at.