Which would you choose? 3090 FE vs. EVGA 3090 FTW3

1Wolf

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Hypothetical Question.

If you had the opportunity to select either of those GPU's for free. The 3090 FE or the EVGA 3090 FTW3. Which, of those two, would you choose and why?

Given the following:
- Your primary use for the GPU is high resolution VR gaming (Stuff like DCS & MSFS) as well as other high resolution gaming
- This GPU will be paired with a 5900X or a 5950X
- The GPU will be stock cooled and not custom water cooled or anything
- You must keep & use this GPU. You may not sell it, trade it, purchase a different one, give it to a friend, put it on a shelf and save it for a rainy day, etc.
 

exlink

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For free? 3090 FTW3.

At current prices? 3090 FE.

The 3090 FTW3 has the potential (not guaranteed) for greater performance and EVGA customer support is far better than Nvidia’s from my experience. But it’s not worth $370 more than the 3090 FE, in my opinion.
 

legcramp

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Whatever you think looks better or if your case works better with a blower type or open shroud type like the FTW3. I won't buy anything but EVGA for Nvidia cards if I have a choice.
 

doubletake

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Whatever you think looks better or if your case works better with a blower type or open shroud type like the FTW3. I won't buy anything but EVGA for Nvidia cards if I have a choice.
FE cards haven't used blower coolers since Pascal.
 

Falkentyne

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3090 FE. I don't want to have to deal with another space invaders video card, or should I call it the glowing red-eyed demon video card?
 

RazorWind

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3090 FE. I don't want to have to deal with another space invaders video card, or should I call it the glowing red-eyed demon video card?
These cards have been on the market long enough that we can be reasonably sure that there aren't any first batch teething issues to deal with. This isn't to say that there won't be the occasional defective card, but there shouldn't be any pattern failures.

I'd rather have the EVGA card, though. I don't love that goofy tiny board design nvidia used this time around.
 

Falkentyne

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These cards have been on the market long enough that we can be reasonably sure that there aren't any first batch teething issues to deal with. This isn't to say that there won't be the occasional defective card, but there shouldn't be any pattern failures.

I'd rather have the EVGA card, though. I don't love that goofy tiny board design nvidia used this time around.

The problem is, that tiny board design actually works. And the controllers are digital, which means power balancing works, while they're analog on the FTW3 (which is why the high PCIE draw can't be fixed).
We're also seeing if the FE is capable of exceeding 580W. Most people believe two mini 5 mOhm (called 1206 package) shunts are responsible but there's no proof yet, and I really can't be bothered to take my card apart and stack the 5 mOhm 1206's I got from mouser on them right now. But one thing I can tell you is that the TS100 soldering iron is really good.
 

Eradan

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I'd go FE so I could comfortably build in the Cooler Master NR200. I know the EVGA fits but it's tight and the fan arrangement on the FE is a better match. And I love that case so all this is all IMHO.
 

Chris_B

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Probably the FE just because it has a very premium build quality to it, my 3070-fe surprised me with its weight and how solid it feels, so be curious to see just how much heavier the 3090-fe is.
 

1Wolf

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Thanks to everyone for the responses so far. I never expected to really have to make much of a decision on this. At first glance I figured it would be the EVGA as a no-brainer. The more I read the more I discovered anecdotal tales of EVGA issues with some saying there were issues, others saying that those issues were cleared up. I read the same thing about different PSU's having issues with the EVGA cards, and others saying those were older PSU's.

I went from having NO GPU's and being unable to get my hands on one to having two. One will go in my own machine that I use for everything from VR flight sims, to regular gaming, to development. I wanted the absolute best performance I could get out of the box. The second will go in my wife's machine. Her machine is used just for gaming. A 3090 is actually overkill for her and the games she plays but a 3090 in the hand is better than a vaporware 3080 and having too much performance is certainly not going to hurt her. If a 3080 falls into my lap before I put her machine together then I'd need to figure out which 3090 to use in my own machine (the EVGA FTW3 or the FE) and sell the other....then use the 3080 for my wife's machine.

So I just really needed to know which one would give me the best I could get for every last FPS of performance as VR flight sims are performance hungry creatures.
 

Dan_D

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On air, I think the 3090FE is the far better looking card. On water, the 3090 FE looks goofy with a waterblock and the FTW3 would be far better to look at. This is coming from someone who owns an RTX 3090 FE with a waterblock on it.
 

noko

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3090 FE would be my choice. Now from my experience, I would not brag about an EVGA 3090 XC3 Ultra, which cost more than a 3090 FE and performs worst. May have to water cool it.
 

Chris_B

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On air, I think the 3090FE is the far better looking card. On water, the 3090 FE looks goofy with a waterblock and the FTW3 would be far better to look at. This is coming from someone who owns an RTX 3090 FE with a waterblock on it.

Be a shame to take off that nice looking cooler on the fe =/
 

exlink

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3090 FE would be my choice. Now from my experience, I would not brag about an EVGA 3090 XC3 Ultra, which cost more than a 3090 FE and performs worst. May have to water cool it.

The 3090 XC3 is definitely not a benchmark leaderboard card. It’s basically a slightly better than reference 3090 with the backing of EVGA’s renown customer support that you ultimately pay the premium for. Now that it’s $1700 I wouldn’t buy it. But I bought at original MSRP (10% below actually thanks to BB coupon). I almost returned it in favor of a 3090 FE, but I just didn’t want to risk getting one with bad coil whine that seems to plague a lot of them. My buddy just returned two of them for that reason.

I’m content with my 3090 XC3. It was able to break 21K in Time Spy on air which is pretty impressive considering a lot of 3090 XC3s are only able to score in the low to mid 20K range. It’s definitely held back by the ridiculous 366W power limit. With a 390W BIOS I’m sure I could squeeze out at least 500 more points pretty easily which would put it pretty much on par with most overclocked FEs.

I’m still going to step up to the FTW3 in the next month if EVGA irons out the power delivery and red light of death issues that affects some of the cards by then. If they don’t, I’ll likely just flash a 390W BIOS on my XC3 and put a waterblock on it. See what it can actually do.
 

noko

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The 3090 XC3 is definitely not a benchmark leaderboard card. It’s basically a slightly better than reference 3090 with the backing of EVGA’s renown customer support that you ultimately pay the premium for. Now that it’s $1700 I wouldn’t buy it. But I bought at original MSRP (10% below actually thanks to BB coupon). I almost returned it in favor of a 3090 FE, but I just didn’t want to risk getting one with bad coil whine that seems to plague a lot of them. My buddy just returned two of them for that reason.

I’m content with my 3090 XC3. It was able to break 21K in Time Spy on air which is pretty impressive considering a lot of 3090 XC3s are only able to score in the low to mid 20K range. It’s definitely held back by the ridiculous 366W power limit. With a 390W BIOS I’m sure I could squeeze out at least 500 more points pretty easily which would put it pretty much on par with most overclocked FEs.

I’m still going to step up to the FTW3 in the next month if EVGA irons out the power delivery and red light of death issues that affects some of the cards by then. If they don’t, I’ll likely just flash a 390W BIOS on my XC3 and put a waterblock on it. See what it can actually do.
I would disagree slightly better than the FE. Cooler is not, power limit is not, Nvidia support seems to be very good as well as EVGA in general. Anyways playing Control with RT, no DLSS and the card basically was in the low 1700mhz range, barely running at rated speeds with the VF oc of mem and GPU and aggressive fan curve setting in EVGA Precision X1 with 105% max power limit. With DLSS it would be in the 1800mhz range. I was close in breaking 21000 graphics in Time Spy, which does not mean much in the end, it is game performance and clock speed and stability which seems low for my card. I probably should water cool it using the EVGA Hybrid cooler. Anyways I will be moving to a different machine and hooking it up to a 65" QLED 120hz TV. Since I should be getting a 6900 XT on Tuesday, which is faster at 1440p on my gaming monitor, while the 3090 at 4K -> just makes sense, was going to do the opposite.
 

exlink

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I would disagree slightly better than the FE. Cooler is not, power limit is not, Nvidia support seems to be very good as well as EVGA in general. Anyways playing Control with RT, no DLSS and the card basically was in the low 1700mhz range, barely running at rated speeds with the VF oc of mem and GPU and aggressive fan curve setting in EVGA Precision X1 with 105% max power limit. With DLSS it would be in the 1800mhz range. I was close in breaking 21000 graphics in Time Spy, which does not mean much in the end, it is game performance and clock speed and stability which seems low for my card. I probably should water cool it using the EVGA Hybrid cooler. Anyways I will be moving to a different machine and hooking it up to a 65" QLED 120hz TV. Since I should be getting a 6900 XT on Tuesday, which is faster at 1440p on my gaming monitor, while the 3090 at 4K -> just makes sense, was going to do the opposite.
I never said slightly better than FE...I said slightly better than reference. The FE cards are not reference this time around; reference cards are like the PNY 3090s. The ridiculous 366W power limit is the unfortunate Achilles' heel of the XC3 which is why I'll likely step up to the FTW3 or flash the 390W BIOS on the card. 390W would give me roughly FE performance being only 10W less than it. But stock for stock, the 3090 FE is the superior card to the 3090 XC3, I never argued otherwise. With a 390W BIOS the XC3 comes close to the FE.

I'd have to disagree with Nvidia support being as good as EVGA's. They don't offer cross ship and their turn around time is usually 2-3 weeks from my experience while with EVGA I've almost always been done in about 1-1.5 weeks from the moment I contact support. EVGA has also been much more willing to just RMA a card to satisfy the customer than Nvidia as well, less hoops to jump through. Not to mention the Nvidia warranty is not as flexible with second hand buyers (must have original PoP).

I'll have to double check Control but in CyberPunk my 3090 does not dip below 1905 MHz at 3440x1440, Quality DLSS, max settings and Psycho RT. Usually sits between 1935-1980 MHz. Without DLSS it would drop to 1860-1920. I've never seen the card go below 1845 MHz ever in any game. My GPU is overclocked/undervolted 2010 @ 950mV (+135 offset), +250 Mem OC.

I don't have experience with the 6900 XT. I originally wanted to get it but couldn't get my hands on it. At 1440p it seems to be mostly a wash between the two cards. For my use case with a resolution between 1440p and 4K, and enjoying RT, it seems like the 3090 was actually the better choice anyway.
 
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noko

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I never said slightly better than FE...I said slightly better than reference. The FE cards are not reference this time around; reference cards are like the PNY 3090s. The ridiculous 366W power limit is the unfortunate Achilles' heel of the XC3 which is why I'll likely step up to the FTW3 or flash the 390W BIOS on the card. 390W would give me roughly FE performance being only 10W less than it. But stock for stock, the 3090 FE is the superior card to the 3090 XC3, I never argued otherwise. With a 390W BIOS the XC3 comes close to the FE.

I'd have to disagree with Nvidia support being as good as EVGA's. They don't offer cross ship and their turn around time is usually 2-3 weeks from my experience while with EVGA I've almost always been done in about 1-1.5 weeks from the moment I contact support. EVGA has also been much more willing to just RMA a card to satisfy the customer than Nvidia as well, less hoops to jump through. Not to mention the Nvidia warranty is not as flexible with second hand buyers (must have original PoP).

I'll have to double check Control but in CyberPunk my 3090 does not dip below 1905 MHz at 3440x1440, Quality DLSS, max settings and Psycho RT. Usually sits between 1935-1980 MHz. Without DLSS it would drop to 1860-1920. I've never seen the card go below 1845 MHz ever in any game. My GPU is overclocked/undervolted 2010 @ 950mV (+135 offset), +250 Mem OC.

I don't have experience with the 6900 XT. I originally wanted to get it but couldn't get my hands on it. At 1440p it seems to be mostly a wash between the two cards. For my use case with a resolution between 1440p and 4K, and enjoying RT, it seems like the 3090 was actually the better choice anyway.
Misunderstood what you said, reading comprehension issue for myself :(. Now your clocks seem really good while mine is just the opposite. Your getting basically over 200mhz higher on average on what I am seeing. Albeit in different games so maybe not apple to apple. Thanks for the info on Nvidia, I've never dealt with them directly nor EVGA for warranty stuff so just my assessment of feedback from others. I don't have cyberPunk, not even planning on getting it until it is more mature and maybe on sell so can't test that. For my EVGA 3090 XC3 Ultra I let Precision X1 find the VF curve which ended up with +85 core and +200 mem, using P1 aggressive fan profile. I set the Power Limit to 105% and frequency in Control was in the 1700's for GPU speed, 1440p, Max settings with RT, no DLSS/motion blur/film grain. Temperature was around 75c if I remember right.

Using DLSS it would be in the 1800's, frame rate would be all over the place, over a hundred and at times in the 70's. Without DLSS frame rate is really very consistent, much better frame pacing. The 3090 will be going into an Ryzen 3900x machine which I just completed changing out the case so the card will fit as well as the 6900 XT if I want to go that route. If heat is an issue then I will just get the EVGA Hybrid kit for her.
 

exlink

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Misunderstood what you said, reading comprehension issue for myself :(. Now your clocks seem really good while mine is just the opposite. Your getting basically over 200mhz higher on average on what I am seeing. Albeit in different games so maybe not apple to apple. Thanks for the info on Nvidia, I've never dealt with them directly nor EVGA for warranty stuff so just my assessment of feedback from others. I don't have cyberPunk, not even planning on getting it until it is more mature and maybe on sell so can't test that. For my EVGA 3090 XC3 Ultra I let Precision X1 find the VF curve which ended up with +85 core and +200 mem, using P1 aggressive fan profile. I set the Power Limit to 105% and frequency in Control was in the 1700's for GPU speed, 1440p, Max settings with RT, no DLSS/motion blur/film grain. Temperature was around 75c if I remember right.

Using DLSS it would be in the 1800's, frame rate would be all over the place, over a hundred and at times in the 70's. Without DLSS frame rate is really very consistent, much better frame pacing. The 3090 will be going into an Ryzen 3900x machine which I just completed changing out the case so the card will fit as well as the 6900 XT if I want to go that route. If heat is an issue then I will just get the EVGA Hybrid kit for her.
For reference Precision’s auto OC gave my card +101 on the core and +200 memory. So mine might be slightly better binned just based on that. From my experience the auto OC tools are quite conservative. Manually mine is able to do +135 offset limited to 950mV and its rock solid. Becomes slightly unstable at +150 in a couple games.

I have a custom fan curve and my card usually levels out at 65°C around 75%-80% fan speed during gaming. The cooler is definitely nothing special, but the stock fan curve makes it seem worse than it is. The hybrid cooler is nice, but don’t install the hybrid BIOS for it. It apparently makes the card perform worse; changes the boost behavior I believe.

After all the talk about stepping up in multiple threads today I went ahead and put mine in for the FTW3 model. It’s going to be a few months before it goes through so I’m hoping EVGA irons out the issues with the FTW3 cards by then. Also gives me some time to think about it if I want to change my mind.
 
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noko

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For reference Precision’s auto OC gave my card +101 on the core and +200 memory. So mine might be slightly better binned just based on that. From my experience the auto OC tools are quite conservative. Manually mine is able to do +135 offset limited to 950mV and its rock solid. Becomes slightly unstable at +150 in a couple games.

I have a custom fan curve and my card usually levels out at 65°C around 75%-80% fan speed during gaming. The cooler is definitely nothing special, but the stock fan curve makes it seem worse than it is. The hybrid cooler is nice, but don’t install the hybrid BIOS for it. It apparently makes the card perform worse; changes the boost behavior I believe.

After all the talk about stepping up in multiple threads today I went ahead and put mine in for the FTW3 model. It’s going to be a few months before it goes through so I’m hoping EVGA irons out the issues with the FTW3 cards by then. Also gives me some time to think about it if I want to change my mind.
Geesh, what is with EVGA? Maybe I have the Hybrid BIOS vice what it should be, hmmmmm. So one does not need to change the bios if installing the Hybrid Kit? I thought the fans for the cooler and the separate one for the card needed the bios update.

If I stepped up, I think I would skip the FTW3 card and go straight to the Kingpin version. Edit: EVGA says my product is not eligible for step up program, that maybe sucks
 
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exlink

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Geesh, what is with EVGA? Maybe I have the Hybrid BIOS vice what it should be, hmmmmm. So one does not need to change the bios if installing the Hybrid Kit? I thought the fans for the cooler and the separate one for the card needed the bios update.

If I stepped up, I think I would skip the FTW3 card and go straight to the Kingpin version. Edit: EVGA says my product is not eligible for step up program, that maybe sucks
Didn’t you buy the 3090 XC3 the same time I did from Best Buy? Not sure why it’s not eligible for step up. Did you register the card within 14 days of the purchase date?

Also, AFAIK the Kingpin isn't a step-up option. Otherwise, I would've done the same. :D
 
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noko

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Didn’t you buy the 3090 XC3 the same time I did from Best Buy? Not sure why it’s not eligible for step up. Did you register the card within 14 days of the purchase date?

Also, AFAIK the Kingpin isn't a step-up option. Otherwise, I would've done the same. :D
Found out there is a catch clause with the Step Up program. If you have the 3 year warranty you have 15 days vice 90 days to step up. If you buy the extended warranty then the full 90 days from time of purchase comes into effect. It is like $30 for an additional 2 years on the warranty. Not sure I want to even bother with that since of the issues with the FTW3. The Kingpin is not available for Step up from the 3090 XC3 Ultra. A FTW3 hybrid would probably be the only one I would be interested in, stepping up would not be that much more than buying the hybrid kit for my current card. Well I have to think about this.

One of the reasons to buy EVGA over Nvidia FE is the step up program, you can get maybe the card you do not want but use it while you wait for a better card later.
 

exlink

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Found out there is a catch clause with the Step Up program. If you have the 3 year warranty you have 15 days vice 90 days to step up. If you buy the extended warranty then the full 90 days from time of purchase comes into effect. It is like $30 for an additional 2 years on the warranty. Not sure I want to even bother with that since of the issues with the FTW3. The Kingpin is not available for Step up from the 3090 XC3 Ultra. A FTW3 hybrid would probably be the only one I would be interested in, stepping up would not be that much more than buying the hybrid kit for my current card. Well I have to think about this.

One of the reasons to buy EVGA over Nvidia FE is the step up program, you can get maybe the card you do not want but use it while you wait for a better card later.
Yeah you have to register your card within 14 (or 15?) days to get the 90 day step up period. Only way around that is apparently buying the extended warranty like you mentioned. That unlocks the 90 day step up if you didn’t register in the first 14 days. FYI - the 3090 FTW3 air cooled is the only one available for step up. The hybrid isn’t and the Hydro Copper ones probably won’t be either.

I’m in step up queue for the 3090 FTW3 but also in the purchase queue for the 3090 Kingpin (at the original MSRP before price increase). Whichever one comes up first is the one I’ll go with. Should be easy to offload my 3090 XC3 at no loss (especially since I paid below original MSRP) for the foreseeable future anyway if I go with the Kingpin. :p
 
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noko

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Yeah you have to register your card within 14 (or 15?) days to get the 90 day step up period. Only way around that is apparently buying the extended warranty like you mentioned. That unlocks the 90 day step up if you didn’t register in the first 14 days. FYI - the 3090 FTW3 air cooled is the only one available for step up. The hybrid isn’t and the Hydro Copper ones probably won’t be either.

I’m in step up queue for the 3090 FTW3 but also in the purchase queue for the 3090 Kingpin (at the original MSRP before price increase). Whichever one comes up first is the one I’ll go with. Should be easy to offload my 3090 XC3 at no loss (especially since I paid below original MSRP) for the foreseeable future anyway if I go with the Kingpin. :p
Looks like I missed it by two days on the registering part which is not clear if you just take the basic spue they put out.
 

exlink

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Looks like I missed it by two days on the registering part which is not clear if you just take the basic spue they put out.
Yeah only reason I know about that limit is because I bought a 3080 from Amazon and it didn’t ship for almost a month later. EVGA is more flexible in those types of situations though.

But let’s be completely honest, if you don’t have a FPS counter up, it is highly unlikely that you would be able to tell the difference between a XC3 or FTW3 anyway in games. Or basically any 3090. The performance increase from the larger power limits and overclocks will be what...~3-5%? I only want a better card because I’m finding enjoyment in benchmarking.
 
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vegeta535

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FE no doubt with all the issues with the FTW3 cards. I have personal experience with a faulty ftw3 3080.
 

1Wolf

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Thanks again for all the replies and for sharing your opinions.

It looks like, at this point, the most common thought is that *IF* the EVGA FTW3 were not having issues then that would be the top choice (Of course, some folks just plain prefer the FE).

I didn't know anything about these FTW3 issues until I read you guys talking about them here. That makes me nervous. Thats an expensive card so hopefully EVGA will stand behind it.
 
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