The GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition runs hot, as we discovered last month when we reviewed NVIDIA’s flagship GeForce card. While NVIDIA has equipped the Founders Edition with an innovative cooling solution, it struggles to cool the card’s 24 GB of GDDR6X VRAM. In our tests, for example, we measured hotspots of 84 °C around the VRAM, which is within Micron’s 94 °C peak operating temperature.
However, Tom’s Hardware recorded the VRAM reaching 110 °C, an unsustainably high temperature. Unsurprisingly, the card downclocked drastically to mitigate these temperatures and prevent its VRAM from overheating. A YouTuber called CryptoAtHome has found a solution, though.
As the video below shows, replacing the stock VRAM thermal pads with third-party ones dramatically improves thermal performance. According to CryptoAtHome, their Founders Edition card could run at a high memory clock while sitting at approximately 85 °C. Before the modification, the VRAM in CryptoAtHome’s Founders Edition card also reached 110 °C.
One could probably achieve an even better temperature reduction by using superior thermal pads. CryptoAtHome used Thermalright’s Odyssey Thermal Pad, which has a 12.8 W/mk thermal conductivity rating.
By contrast, Thermal Grizzly’s Carbonaut Thermal Pad is rated at up to 62.5 W/mk. As commenters have pointed out, Fuijipoly Ultra Extreme XR thermal pads at 1.5 mm thickness would be a better choice. These are rated for 17.0 W/mk of thermal conductivity. Alternatively, one could purchase a custom RTX 3090 that cools its VRAM better than the Founders Edition does.