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Thermal Throttling on my 3090 TUF OC

Level 7

When buying a 3090 I know it would get hot but not so hot.

During gaming at 1440p low settings, it permanently throttles at 104°C.

Even when I open the case and set a table fan directed ate the GPU.

The fps stays above 50 but I'm concerned that this reduces the lifespan of the card.

The card is undervolted and lightly overclocked.

I see three options:

  1. Add heat sinks to the backplate where the VRAM is located.
    Pros: easy and relatively cheap.
    Cons: may not cool enough.

  2. Replace thermal paste with copper plates (if needed).
    Pros: seems to make a difference and is relatively affordable.
    Cons: GPU would need to be disassembled.

  3. Go for full liquid cooling.
    Pros: surely cools enough.
    Cons: not cheap or easy.

Which option do you think is best, or am I missing a better option?

Fractal design North TG White
Shadow Rock TF2 CPU Cooler
2x Crucial Ballistix 26.6 MHz 16GB
2x Cooltek Silent Fan 120
Noctua NF-R8


Super Moderator

Hi @Nonnemo 

Where are you getting the reading for 104C? Can you confirm this is the edge temp and not the hotspot? The cooler is more than capable, it seems there is a contact issue.

104c edge temperature would indicate the GPU thermal application needs to be reapplied or that there is poor contact.

13900KS / 8000 CAS36 / ROG APEX Z790 / ROG TUF RTX 4090

Level 7

Thanks for the reply. Its indeed the hot spot temprature I get from HWInfo. Is it okay for the hot spot to become so warm for longer periods of time ? Below my the readings when I play for 5 minutes far cry 5 op 1440p and the setting from GPU Tweak


If it's the hotspot that's not quite as big an issue but it's still warm. I would repaste the GPU. A delta of up to 20c can be between edge and hotspot and is within tolerance.

13900KS / 8000 CAS36 / ROG APEX Z790 / ROG TUF RTX 4090

Level 7

I thought you're not supposed to hit thermal throttling temps often.

Would you advice thermal pads, thermal putty or copper blocks ?

Like I say, it's still warm. I wouldn't replace anything at this point - repaste the GPU and remount the cooler, should be sufficient.

13900KS / 8000 CAS36 / ROG APEX Z790 / ROG TUF RTX 4090

Level 7

Thanks for you help. I would also need to replace the thermal pads right ? Or do you advice of leaving them and maybe adding the smallest amount of thermal paste to them  as I repaste the GPU.

Assuming the pads are still intact there's no reason why you can't use them again, but that's up to you. The problem stems from the GPU thermal application or cooler contact, not elsewhere.

13900KS / 8000 CAS36 / ROG APEX Z790 / ROG TUF RTX 4090