Question Should I get active cooling for my 3080 backplate?

Apr 28, 2021
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I just saw this video from LinusTechTips about the 3080 and 3090 backplate cooling problem,
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToTWaZtGOj8


And after installing HWiNFO, yeah it checks out for my card.


I have the Alienware Aurora R11 PC with I7 10700KF and RTX 3080, I bought it because of the GPU shortage and prebuilts pretty much being the only way to get the 3000 series.

I use my computer for gaming with 1 2560x1440 165hz monitor as well as VR, and when I don't have my GPU in use for gaming, I usually spin it up to mine Ethereum, including overnight and when I'm away from my computer for days on end. I've been using it like this for around a month and a half. I did notice some funny things happening on my PC such as games crashing randomly recently which I attributed to software shenanigans, and to my credit reinstalling windows did seem to fix a lot of those issues. Now, I saw this video from linus, and I'm wondering whether those issues could be from letting my GPU run so hot and whether I should invest in the liquid cooling.

So my question is do you think I should invest in the cooling backplate? If so, how would I even install it, I've never installed liquid cooling before (I built my own PC before, and switched out the CPU etc so I'm not a complete noob when it comes to hardware swaps) If I don't get it, what should I expect going forward? Will my GPU just die on me at random, or slowly degrade over time? I'm pretty concerned, so I'd love it if someone could enlighten me on what all this actually means.
 

hotaru.hino

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At the very least, if the card survived the initial 30 day sudden-death period, it should last at least the warranty period of 3 years. As far as how it fails, that's up in the air. But more than likely it'll start having errors at higher performance levels.

If you don't want to go the water cooling route, you can get heat sinks for VRAM chips. You just need to make sure there's some airflow going over them.

EDIT: It slipped my mind briefly that this is a pre-built, but NVIDIA offers a 3 year warranty for standalone cards.
 

Phaaze88

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Tough spot you're in there with a prebuilt. Modding the card will void the warranty, plus I can't imagine the airflow in the R11 is great...

Don't mine on it, at least?
¯\(ツ)

Will my GPU just die on me at random, or slowly degrade over time
It's inevitable, but running the hardware out of spec accelerates the time to fail - no, I can't tell you when, without a crystal ball.
 
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Apr 28, 2021
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At the very least, if the card survived the initial 30 day sudden-death period, it should last at least the warranty period of 3 years. As far as how it fails, that's up in the air. But more than likely it'll start having errors at higher performance levels.

If you don't want to go the water cooling route, you can get heat sinks for VRAM chips. You just need to make sure there's some airflow going over them.

EDIT: It slipped my mind briefly that this is a pre-built, but NVIDIA offers a 3 year warranty for standalone cards.
Yeah I saw some people switched out the thermal pads on the front and added ones on the back for extra cooling, the stock fans in this are kinda ludicrously powerful, so I have tons of airflow. I might go this route, but I'm still terrified of messing something up and permanently damaging the GPU, especially considering there's pretty much no way it's gonna get replaced if I do damage it.

As for warranty, it's debatable as to whether or not I'll be able to get it fixed by alienware, I might have to go dig up the warranty that they gave us and check the terms. But... if I can do reliable enough job of replacing the GPU thermal pads and paste myself, then I think I'd rather go that route, as having no PC for like a month or whatever while they process it sounds kinda sucky.
 
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Tough spot you're in there with a prebuilt. Modding the card will void the warranty, plus I can't imagine the airflow in the R11 is great...

Don't mine on it, at least?
¯\(ツ)


It's inevitable, but running the hardware out of spec accelerates the time to fail - no, I can't tell you when, without a crystal ball.
Yea the airflow is pretty good actually when I crank the fans up to 100% I measured and they get up to 70db right next to the computer, which obviously could just be a fluke, but you can also feel the air flowing past your legs when you're sitting down with it next to your legs.
 

Phaaze88

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Yea the airflow is pretty good actually when I crank the fans up to 100% I measured and they get up to 70db right next to the computer, which obviously could just be a fluke, but you can also feel the air flowing past your legs when you're sitting down with it next to your legs.
Being able to feel the air right next to my legs does not automatically translate to efficient.

Yes, these cards are good money making tools, but neither Nvidia nor their partners designed those cards around mining. Mining is essentially running the cards out of spec, kinda like extreme overclocking - cooling is definitely a concern.
The load on Vram while earning coin is higher than what will normally be seen doing other tasks.

By the way, that small snippet of hwinfo - what were you doing at the time when you took that?

A couple of aluminum heatsinks and a side-installed 12cm fan should do the job.
Alienware prebuilt = warranty void. If there's any issues afterwards that OP can't resolve on their own, they are screwed.
 

Bassman999

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Yeah I saw some people switched out the thermal pads on the front and added ones on the back for extra cooling, the stock fans in this are kinda ludicrously powerful, so I have tons of airflow. I might go this route, but I'm still terrified of messing something up and permanently damaging the GPU, especially considering there's pretty much no way it's gonna get replaced if I do damage it.

As for warranty, it's debatable as to whether or not I'll be able to get it fixed by alienware, I might have to go dig up the warranty that they gave us and check the terms. But... if I can do reliable enough job of replacing the GPU thermal pads and paste myself, then I think I'd rather go that route, as having no PC for like a month or whatever while they process it sounds kinda sucky.
I have seen on the stock Dell 3080 it is different inside the cooling configuration. I saw a video where he put a lot a TP instead of pads and it dropped the temps a TON.
If I find the video Ill link it.
 
Apr 28, 2021
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Being able to feel the air right next to my legs does not automatically translate to efficient.

Yes, these cards are good money making tools, but neither Nvidia nor their partners designed those cards around mining. Mining is essentially running the cards out of spec, kinda like extreme overclocking - cooling is definitely a concern.
The load on Vram while earning coin is higher than what will normally be seen doing other tasks.

By the way, that small snippet of hwinfo - what were you doing at the time when you took that?


Alienware prebuilt = warranty void. If there's any issues afterwards that OP can't resolve on their own, they are screwed.
I know the best answer is just "stop mining" but obviously that's not the answer I'm really looking for here. As for what I was doing during that I was indeed mining ETH while I took that snippet. After stopping the mining program it's dropped down to 35-40 in the memory junction.

So far I'm thinking my best bet is to get some thermal pads, some thermal paste, and take the GPU apart and replace all that, especially seeing as the active cooler I was interested in isn't even available anymore. If any of you know how risky this for inexperienced people, or have any advice or tips on how to do it safely, I'd love to here it. I haven't decided for sure that this is what I'm going to do, and I'm still open to just giving up mining, but at the same time I really want to keep the passive income obviously and I'm willing to take some risks.

Edit: Oh yeah about airflow, the GPU core manages to stay below 60 degrees almost 100% of the time when mining full power. I think the hottest it's gotten was like 62?
 

Phaaze88

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Yeah, I know. That's why the shrug emote earlier.

Let's see...
The biggest risk to someone new to gpu modding is probably taking the card apart, and accidentally ripping the fan power cable = Ded fans.
I've only taken apart 3 gpus - the cables on some models can be shorter than others, or were tied too tightly, giving them very little slack. Have to be careful not to yank.

If you're having trouble separating the PCB from the heatsink, 'warm the card up' for a few minutes.
 
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Yeah, I know. That's why the shrug emote earlier.

Let's see...
The biggest risk to someone new to gpu modding is probably taking the card apart, and accidentally ripping the fan power cable = Ded fans.
I've only taken apart 3 gpus - the cables on some models can be shorter than others, or were tied too tightly, giving them very little slack. Have to be careful not to yank.

If you're having trouble separating the PCB from the heatsink, 'warm the card up' for a few minutes.
I think I'm gonna do some more research on my own and then probably buy the stuff and just go for it. In the meantime I'm gonna see if I can underclock my GPU while I'm mining enough to the point where it will stay within range for temperatures, even if that means accepting lower hash rate. I think as long as I'm keeping it 4-10C below that evil 110 number, I should be relatively safe, right?
 
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Phaaze88

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Bassman999

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Negative.
https://www.micron.com/products/ultra-bandwidth-solutions/gddr6x
Operating Temperature: 0C to +95C

95C and lower.
IDK why Micron has the plus sign there. If the memory has a higher thermal tolerance, they should say so.
That they don't tells me that they don't have much confidence in it past 95C.
I have heard different numbers. I opt for side of safety so I keep mem below 92c by power limiting during mining. Much lower hash, but GPU reliability is the most important thing
 

Phaaze88

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I have heard different numbers. I opt for side of safety so I keep mem below 92c by power limiting during mining. Much lower hash, but GPU reliability is the most important thing
Different numbers from Micron, who've already put in the R&D on GDDR6X?
Or from users who haven't even had these R6X-equipped cards for a year yet?
IDK, I'd rather play it safe: that 95C and lower is my own interpretation of R6X's specs.
 
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Bassman999

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Different numbers from Micron, who've already put in the R&D on GDDR6X?
Or from users who haven't even had these R6X-equipped cards for a year yet?
IDK, I'd rather play it safe: that 95C and lower is my own interpretation of R6X's specs.
Im not sure. I think likely misinformation spread.
Probably ppl assuming it is the same as GDDR6?

The numbers I keep hearing are 110c throttle and 120c damage

I have also heard 95c which I believe is the same as Ryzen Zen 3 CPUS.
 
Apr 28, 2021
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Different numbers from Micron, who've already put in the R&D on GDDR6X?
Or from users who haven't even had these R6X-equipped cards for a year yet?
IDK, I'd rather play it safe: that 95C and lower is my own interpretation of R6X's specs.
I'd love to run my card at 95C... unfortunately that seems to be easier said than done lol, won't go below 98 like this and it seems to mostly sit at 100-102
 
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Afaik, even Dell is subject to Right of Repair.
You can get thermal pads in a sheet, I'd just get one thick enough to the job and cover the entire backplate with it, forget about being choosy on components.
Right to repair is an ongoing movement, not a law, and even so it doesn't change the fact that the warranty would be voided for modifying it
 
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Karadjgne

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Right to repair is an ongoing movement, not a law, and even so it doesn't change the fact that the warranty would be voided for modifying it
Depends on where you are. Australia and I think EU, it's definitely a thing, and it's arguable in the US, that little sticker saying 'warranty void if removed' on a psu for instance is meaningless. I've seen toys with that stupid sticker covering the screw holding the cover of the battery compartment....

Even Dell I'd doubt would void a warranty based on repair when it's obvious that thermal paste/pads do fail over time and with use and must be renewed/redone. I'm quite sure Dell would rather you do it yourself then get inundated with RMA's for an easy repaste or replacing a gpu fan.
 
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Phaaze88

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Probably ppl assuming it is the same as GDDR6?
If so, yikes; they couldn't be more wrong.
GDDR5 and R5X can be cooled on air alone for normal tasks. No need for pads or sinks, unless chassis airflow is crap.
GDDR6? Yeah-no, air alone isn't going to cut it. R6X has even higher operating thermals.

@cadyn
One of the main reasons for getting a prebuilt is the customer service, so you don't have to deal with the headaches of troubleshooting that can come from DIY.
It kind of sucks to see you considering getting hands on if you were trying to avoid it, but at the same time, I don't see Dell doing anything to alleviate your concerns.
 
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Bassman999

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If so, yikes; they couldn't be more wrong.
GDDR5 and R5X can be cooled on air alone for normal tasks. No need for pads or sinks, unless chassis airflow is crap.
GDDR6? Yeah-no, air alone isn't going to cut it. R6X has even higher operating thermals.

@cadyn
One of the main reasons for getting a prebuilt is the customer service, so you don't have to deal with the headaches of troubleshooting that can come from DIY.
It kind of sucks to see you considering getting hands on if you were trying to avoid it, but at the same time, I don't see Dell doing anything to alleviate your concerns.
Its the same almost anywhere now, but I have heard stories about Dell's abysmal CS
 

Phaaze88

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Its the same almost anywhere now, but I have heard stories about Dell's abysmal CS
Oh yeah, there was also that 10USD subscription snuck under the radar that they recently got busted for.

But I was referring to the OP and his overheating concerns during mining.
They're probably going to want to know what the operating thermals are like during games, or some other gpu rendering test, find that the temperatures are 'acceptable', and disregard the initial concerns - or even advise against it, because they know the cooling wasn't designed for it.
Or if they do take the PC in, they're going to run their own tests, find nothing wrong, and send it back to the OP like it was.
 

Phaaze88

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I'd love to run my card at 95C... unfortunately that seems to be easier said than done lol, won't go below 98 like this and it seems to mostly sit at 100-102
Oh, I missed this post.

Not surprised underclocking the memory changed little.
-No Vram voltage control exists.
-Vram doesn't pull much power. I recall an older Buildzoid video where he mentions that a single chip pulls power in the single digits.
Plus, on a gpu with total board power of 320-370w? Power limit won't do much for that - it's to keep the core clock low while mining; one does not need Gpu Boost boosting core clock during mining.

-Current state of mining is just hard on Vram.

Hey, if you had a 3090, it'd be worse. Those aren't attractive for mining due to how difficult managing the Vram thermals are, but not everyone who has one knows this...
 
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