It is no secret that here at CGMagazine we are fans of Noctua and their very quiet, very efficient fans. So, when ASUS announced they were releasing a 3070 with the iconic Noctua fans, we were intrigued. The 3070 has stood as one of the best GPU’s you can purchase in this generation, delivering great gaming performance, with the added bonus of fantastic ray tracing support. Now that it is here, and we have put it to the test, while it may not be the best GPU you can buy, it is definitely a card worthy of your time and money.
Unboxing the ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU, the first major thing you will notice is the size. This graphics monster takes up four slots in your case, featuring two 120 mm Noctua fans, measuring 25 mm thick with a hefty shroud to contain all the cooling power. The heatsink is also very big, similar in size to the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX card we have looked at in the past. It is an impressive design that, while massive, also has an elegant style to it that should feel unique in a sea of generic ‘gamer’ graphics cards
Unlike other 3070 variants, the RTX 3070 Noctua GPU has no RGB lighting on the card, with the overall card offering the iconic Noctua tan and brown aesthetic that feels very different from other offerings. This makes sense, since Noctua designs products that are made to work and not be seen, but it also means it is one less thing clashing with the disco light show that most of your other components will be showing off. Personally, I find the simplicity nice, especially in a modern card, but tastes vary.
The ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU is powered by dual 8 pin PCI-E connectors, so it is very on par with the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX card. Much like other ASUS offerings, there is a simple switch that lets you move between “Performance” or “Quiet” modes, with the latter being the default the card ships in. This can also be done by installing ASUS’s GPU Tweak III, where you can also find the “OC Mode” which delivers an extra 30MHz when you want the best your card can deliver.
For this review, CGMagazine used our current 12th Gen Intel testbench, featuring a Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro mainboard, 32 GB DDR5 Corsair Vengeance 4800 RAM, Seagate FireCuda 530 1 TB, an MSI MPG A850GF PSU, and an Intel 12th Gen i9-12900K. All gaming benchmarks are done on this test build, with the only thing changing in this case being the GPU. This should give the system more than enough room to push the limits on the ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU and puts it in line with our tests of the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX card we did recently.
3D Mark Firestrike Benchmark
As we do with most of our GPU reviews, we started things off by jumping into synthetic benchmarks, running through test builds with the usual range of 3D Mark tests. These tests are not ideal, but they are a decent starting point and a nice way to examine how this GPU stacks up against the competition from both AMD and Nvidia.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla – 1080P/1440P/4K
Since its release, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla has stood as the mainstay of our range of benchmarks. The game has stunning visuals, can scale well to a wide range of setups and resolutions, and has some great new features that put both AMD and Nvidia GPUs to the test, making it the ideal game to include in our benchmarks.
Across all our tests, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla looked fantastic on the ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU, and it legged just behind the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX. For the average user, when you are dealing with a single FPS difference, it really is a toss-up. So far, the RTX 3070 Noctua is holding its own, and looking very cool doing so.
Metro Exodus – 1080P/1440P/4K
4A Games has a fantastic benchmarking offering. It not only looks great and employs cutting-edge technologies like DLSS and RTX, but it also pushes the GPU, giving us an idea of how each card we throw at it will perform in real-world testing. Exploring Eastern Europe’s wasteland has never looked so beautiful or pushed systems so hard.
Two tests down, and while the RTX 3070 Noctua is still lagging behind the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX, in our 4K test, Metro Exodus only managed to deliver .4 frames a second more compared to the Noctua. This is better than I was expecting, considering the STRIX variant is overclocked and delivers some of the best speeds you can find in the 3070 series of cards.
Cyberpunk 2077 – 1080P/1440P/4K
As with past tests, the difference between the two powerhouse 3070 cards is neck in neck, although this time we managed to see the RTX 3070 Noctua win this round, with .3 frames per second more than on the STRIX card, something I did not expect.
Red Dead Redemption 2 – 1080P/1440P/4K
The final game we put the cards through is the western masterpiece from Rockstar Games, Red Dead Redemption 2. The game puts any card through its paces, while scaling well even to less powerful offerings. While it may not be the most demanding option on our list, it is still a great way to see how a system compares.
As with all tests up to this point, Red Dead Redemption 2 looked very comparable on both flagship 3070 GPUs. This was one of the closet tests, with only .1 frame per second difference between the two cards. With such a minimal difference, this is well within the margin of error, further making the RTX 3070 Noctua GPU a solid offering, especially against other 3070 series cards.
With the gaming tests out of the way, it is time to look at the thermals the RTX 3070 Noctua brings to the table. In performance, the RTX 3070 Noctua stacks very well against the monster GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX. What makes this card so special are the Noctua’s fans, which are quiet and made to keep things even cooler compared to the traditional fans found on graphics cards. In our testing, while the noise was about on par with its STRIX cousin, the RTX 3070 Noctua managed to be around 6C–10C cooler across the board when gaming or being pushed for performance.
Also, of note, the RTX 3070 Noctua GPU managed to draw less power under load compared to the GeForce RTX 3070 STRIX. Where the STRIX would draw on average 264 Watts of power, the Noctua managed the same or similar performance, only drawing 250.4, around 14 watts less. This is something important to note, especially when you are constantly pushing your card in the latest and greatest AAA gaming has to offer.
With the tests out of the way, I can safely say the ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU is a very impressive GPU, that shows just how efficient and quiet Noctua is for keeping a card cool. The only issue with jumping on the Noctua bandwagon is the price. Due to the current supply chain, even as GPU prices continue to fall, you will be paying a premium for the RTX 3070 Noctua card compared to some other 3070 offerings on the market. As the supply chain slowly adjusts, this premium will diminish, but I don’t ever expect the 3070 Noctua to be a cheap card to jump onto.
This then raises the question, who is the RTX 3070 Noctua for, and that is a bit harder to answer. I am personally a fan of the design, features, and performance we saw from the card while in use. The fact we could put the card under 99% load, and it barely pushed past 60 C is very impressive. I do question if the cooler could not have been better served on a 3080 or even 3090, simply due to how much more powerful those cards are, but as it stands, I am impressed with what the RTX 3070 Noctua brings to the table.
While not for everyone, and potentially dull to people that demand RGB flow through all aspects of a PC, I found the ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua GPU to be an amazing offering. I love the brown and tan aesthetic, and the performance I saw compares it to some of the best 3070 cards on the market. With the quiet, powerful fans, great gaming benchmarks and unique design, few cars are as striking or as unique as the RTX 3070 Noctua, and it is a worthy card of any new PC build, provided you can find it close to MSRP.