Test Setup

Please read our GPU Test Bench and Benchmarking Refresher for an explanation on our test system, procedures and goals.  Note that we have upgraded our CPU to a Ryzen 7 5800X in the system.  More information on our GPU testing can be found here.  Check out our KIT page where you can see all the components in our test system configuration for reviewing video cards.

System Setup Table

System Setup

We are using the motherboard’s current default BIOS settings.  We have enabled PCI-Express Resizable BAR in the motherboard BIOS.  This means we are utilizing Resizable BAR on NVIDIA GPUs and AMD Smart Access Memory on AMD GPUs in all of our testing.  We have enabled DOCP in the BIOS for the memory.

We are now using Windows 11 Pro for testing.  It is updated with the latest Windows Updates.  Core Isolation/Memory Integrity VBS is DISABLED, Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling is ENABLED, Game Mode is ENABLED and the Power Plan is on “Ultimate Performance.”    

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Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer oriented...

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks [USER=3]@Brent_Justice[/USER] for another awesome review. A truly impressive card. I’m constantly at ends in deciding if I want to mod, and then invest in everything it takes to get a top-end custom loop setup going but things like this make it easy for people, when they can get one. Now granted once done most parts can be reused for future upgrades but it is a bit of money and time to do so. I priced around a $1K to upgrade my Strix 3090 to full block, and all the other parts, and never committed to it.

    In terms of the power limitations it’s an unfortunate common design choice that I’ve noticed with most manufacturers to use reference, or similar, PCBs and not include a BIOS that will allow for greater adjustments. I couldn’t tell you how much time I spent looking for a 3090 with a factory loop that also included one of the custom PCBs that allowed for increased power. Other than the Kingpin and FTW3 Ultra Hydro, and some mythical things from overseas, I never did find anything else. Pretty much everything I saw had the standard 2x 8-pin connectors.

    However the FTW3 Hydro 3090 appears to use the same 240mm radiator as the 3080 and I have doubts if it would still perform as well as what you saw with the 3080 when fully overclocked. Really seems like they should’ve used a 360mm with the 3090 but can’t say I’ve read any in-depth professional reviews like yours to examine it in-depth.

    In either case I’m on the list for one of the FTW3 Ultra Hydro and who knows, maybe when the 4090s come around someone will offer one and it’ll be accessible.

    Bottom line though is that these 3080s look to be the cream of the crop and if someone can get at MSRP they’ll be in for a treat.

  2. I have a standard FTW3 Ultra Gaming, no doubt it is a good card.

    I have a custom loop and a EKWB block on the GPU.

    Even running the standard stock cooler, I had no need to overclock the GPU.

    The stock cooler is very quiet. I had to really convince myself it was worth the time to put a block on.

    At any rate, I think it would be interesting to run an air cooled Ultra vs this watercooled Ultra and see if there was any real advantage to paying extra for it.

  3. [QUOTE=”magoo, post: 46125, member: 244″]
    I have a standard FTW3 Ultra Gaming, no doubt it is a good card.
    I have a custom loop and a EKWB block on the GPU.
    Even running the standard stock cooler, I had no need to overclock the GPU.
    The stock cooler is very quiet. I had to really convince myself it was worth the time to put a block on.

    At any rate, I think it would be interesting to run an air cooled Ultra vs this watercooled Ultra and see if there was any real advantage to paying extra for it.
    [/QUOTE]
    In reading other reviews on similar things, on other sites, generally the performance is very similar when using stock clocks. The big difference comes down to noise levels and when overlocking it.

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