Note: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

My experience with the GIGABYTE AORUS RTX 3090 Xtreme WATERFORCE 24G Video Card (2024)

My thoughts on the GIGABYTE AORUS RTX 3090 Xtreme WATERFORCE: performance, cooling, applications, value.
John Johnson



January 11, 2024


I recently upgraded my gaming setup with the GIGABYTE AORUS RTX 3090 Xtreme WATERFORCE. This is quite a high-performance graphics card. I use it not only for gaming but also for things like video editing and 3D rendering - more on all this below.


Property Value Property Value
Graphics Coprocessor NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Brand GIGABYTE
Graphics Ram Size 24 GB GPU Clock Speed 1785 MHz
Video Output Interface DisplayPort, HDMI


Click on photos to enlarge them:

Gigabyte aorus rtx 3090 xtreme waterforce card Gigabyte aorus rtx 3090 xtreme waterforce box Gigabyte aorus rtx 3090 xtreme waterforce cables Gigabyte aorus rtx 3090 xtreme waterforce unboxing


Groundbreaking Performance Review

Gigabyte aorus rtx 3090 xtreme waterforce in box

Diving headfirst into the heart of the GIGABYTE AORUS RTX 3090 Xtreme WATERFORCE, I’ve been thoroughly impressed by its raw horsepower and advanced cooling technology. With NVIDIA’s latest architectural leaps, the Ampere Streaming Multiprocessors, paired with 2nd Generation RT Cores and 3rd Generation Tensor Cores, the performance uplift is more than just incremental—it’s a significant leap forward from its predecessors.

Here’s a quick rundown of this graphical powerhouse:

  • NVIDIA Ampere Architecture: Cutting-edge performance that sets a new standard for rendering and AI tasks.

  • 24GB GDDR6X Memory: A vast memory pool ensures smooth performance even in the most memory-intensive tasks.

  • High-Speed Bandwidth: The 384-bit memory interface pushes data fast, reducing bottlenecks.

  • Impressive Core Clock: The 1785 MHz clock speed is a testament to its robust output capabilities.

Working with this card, I’ve noted that rendering in software like Adobe After Effects or Blender feels like a breeze. Tasks that used to bottleneck my system, like Lightmap baking in Unity, are now smooth and swift. The sheer might of the RTX 3090 for gaming is also undeniable; I easily push games to their max settings and still enjoy fluid gameplay without skipping a beat.

Performance aside, it’s also worth mentioning the WATERFORCE branding isn’t just for show. The integrated all-in-one cooling system genuinely keeps temperatures in check. Though I didn’t initially realize it came with a built-in water block, it’s a feature that’s become invaluable for maintaining stability under load, despite its usability hiccup if you’re not ready for a water-cooled setup.

The card, while a powerhouse, doesn’t come without its downsides. The noise level, although not overwhelming, is present—especially compared to the whisper-quiet performance I’ve seen from other high-end cards. On the other hand, the RGB-lit fans are a pleasing aesthetic touch that don’t compromise the silence much.

I must admit, the difference in performance between the RTX 3090 and my previously owned Titan RTX isn’t monumental, but the cooling efficiency of the former gives it the edge. Never feeling more than warm to the touch, the RTX 3090 reassures me that thermal throttling is a distant concern.

In essence, the GIGABYTE AORUS RTX 3090 Xtreme WATERFORCE isn’t just another component in my rig—it’s the linchpin that brings everything together, allowing me to push my digital creations and gaming experiences to limits I hadn’t imagined before. Its heft and noise might deter some, but for those serious about escalating their computing prowess, it’s an investment that, so far, I’m glad to have made.

Cooling System and Aesthetics

Gigabyte aorus rtx 3090 xtreme waterforce fans on card

The GIGABYTE AORUS RTX 3090 Xtreme WATERFORCE is a cooling behemoth, making it a significant selling point for users like me who prioritize low temperatures and aesthetics in their build. Here are some of the standout features and minor drawbacks I’ve encountered:

  • WATERFORCE Cooling System: The integrated AIO with a 240mm radiator and dual 120mm ARGB fans keeps the GPU temperatures remarkably low, even during high-stress scenarios.

  • RGB Fusion 2.0: Adds a pleasing aesthetic touch with customizable lighting that complements any setup.

  • Noise Levels: While the cooling is efficient, the noise from the fans is noticeable, but not overwhelmingly so—it’s a tradeoff for maintaining those low GPU temps.

One of the first things I appreciated was the WATERFORCE all-in-one cooling system. This is no small addition; we’re talking about a sizable 240mm radiator paired with two 120mm ARGB fans that not only perform well but also enhance the overall look of my PC. It’s a visual treat with the fans casting a soft, customizable glow inside the case, thanks to the RGB Fusion 2.0.

Despite the power of this cooling solution, the noise level is lower than I expected. It’s barely audible over my CPU’s cooler, which is a testament to GIGABYTE’s fan calibration. They’ve found a balance between performance and acoustics that isn’t often seen in high-end graphics cards like this. To put it in perspective, the fans do ramp up under load, but in a well-calibrated and surprisingly unobtrusive manner.

However, there is a small compromise. The cooling solution is efficient but not silent; occasional noise spikes can occur during high-intensity tasks. It’s not enough of an issue to be a deal-breaker, but for users seeking a whisper-quiet system, this might be a notable point.

A less positive aspect, though, was the lack of clarity regarding the built-in water block in the product description. I stumbled upon this feature by chance—and while it turned out fine for my needs, it could potentially confuse customers who aren’t looking for a water-cooled solution.

In terms of aesthetics, the protective metal back plate adds a premium touch to the card, as well as providing additional rigidity. It’s these thoughtful design choices that often swing decisions for enthusiasts like me.

Overall, the cooling performance and aesthetics of the RTX 3090 Xtreme WATERFORCE are top-tier. The few shortcomings, primarily the audible fan noise under load, are manageable given the rest of the package. This isn’t just a graphics card—it’s a statement piece in my rig that delivers on both looks and cooling capability, keeping my system at the peak of its performance with style.

Real-World Applications and Workloads

Gigabyte aorus rtx 3090 xtreme waterforce cables

Exploring the practical uses for my GIGABYTE AORUS RTX 3090 Xtreme WATERFORCE graphics card has been a journey in itself. When taking on resource-heavy tasks like 3D rendering or video editing, the power this GPU brings to the table becomes exceedingly clear. The combination of NVIDIA Ampere Streaming Multiprocessors with 2nd Generation RT Cores and 3rd Generation Tensor Cores means that applications like Adobe After Effects and Blender not only run smoother but also significantly faster, which is critical when I’m on a tight deadline.

Running through my usual workloads, here’s what I’ve observed:


  • Rendering Times: Cutting down on rendering times has been notable. Projects that would make older cards buckle under pressure are handled deftly by the RTX 3090.

  • Future Proofing: With 24GB GDDR6X memory, there’s headroom for upcoming software demands and complex tasks.

  • Gaming: It’s overkill for casual gaming, but for enthusiasts looking for ultra-settings at high resolutions, it’s ideal.

  • Work and Play: Not only does it handle 3D modeling tasks efficiently, but it’s also fantastic for gaming sessions post work without a hitch.


  • Noise Level: While the noise is generally low, there can be a noticeable sound when the GPU is under full load, which could be distracting.

  • Water Cooling: The built-in water block is not advertised as much as it should be, leading to some confusion.

In my professional applications like Unity, this GPU practically eliminates the waiting times for lightmap baking, a process crucial for game development and something I battled with using prior GPUs.

However, on the flip side, there’s a point to consider regarding the cooling system. While it’s effective and keeps the card much cooler than I anticipated, it’s essential to note that the system can be pretty noisy under heavy load. This might not be an issue for everyone, but it’s something I have noticed during my use.

I must also mention that when I purchased the card, I had an initial hiccup due to the WATERFORCE cooling system: not realizing it was an all-in-one water block, I found myself scrambling to match it with my existing setup. This is a reminder to pay close attention to the product details before buying.

For gaming, the RTX 3090 is a beast. Every title I’ve thrown at it runs flawlessly at maximum settings, making for an incredibly immersive experience. I play a few games occasionally, but knowing this card can handle anything without issue is reassuring.

To sum it all up, while there are certain caveats, such as noise level during intense operations and potential confusion over the integrated water-cooling system, the performance gains in real-world professional and gaming scenarios are undeniable.

Worth the Investment

Gigabyte aorus rtx 3090 xtreme waterforce unboxing

Investing in the GIGABYTE AORUS RTX 3090 Xtreme WATERFORCE was a decision I approached with both excitement and a hint of skepticism. High-end graphic cards come at a premium, and with the RTX 3090, expectations are naturally sky-high given its reputation for delivering next-level performance. Here are some of my key takeaways:

  • Impressive core clock speeds of 1785 MHz support cutting-edge gaming and creative work.

  • A colossal 24GB GDDR6X memory handles the most demanding tasks with ease.

  • Despite its power, the card maintains remarkable temperature control, rarely exceeding 30 degrees.

  • The all-in-one WATERFORCE cooling system with a 240mm radiator effectively dissipates heat.

  • This GPU incorporates 3x DisplayPort 1.4a and 2x HDMI 2.1 outputs, offering versatile connectivity.

With these remarkable features, I found the performance to be consistently reliable. The integration of 2nd Generation RT Cores and 3rd Generation Tensor Cores truly empowers AI and ray tracing capabilities, which are essential for contemporary gaming and professional rendering tasks. My personal endeavors in AE and Blender showcase just how well this GPU crunches numbers, with render times short enough to ignite envy in my peers.

However, it’s paramount to acknowledge some minor snags. Although the WATERFORCE cooling is generally efficient, the noise level can be an issue for some – it’s quieter than some other cooling solutions but still noticeable in a silent room. The requirement of a built-in water block, while being a boon for cooling, may present compatibility challenges for individuals unprepared for a water-cooled setup.

In the realm of gaming, the RTX 3090 is a behemoth – effortlessly running games on maximum graphics settings without breaking a sweat. The RGB Fusion 2.0 enhances the aesthetic appeal, with quietly performing ARGB fans that add a splash of personalized color to the setup.

From the perspective of a content creator, this GPU’s prowess is undeniable. In work and studio environments, it is not just about its graphical output, but also how it can accelerate workflows, making it a valuable tool well-worth its price tag.

To conclude, the AORUS RTX 3090 Xtreme WATERFORCE is a potent combination of raw performance, advanced technology, and efficient cooling. Its benefits aren’t exclusively for gamers; professionals in the fields of video editing, 3D modeling, and design will also find this graphics card to be an investment that pays rich dividends in terms of time saved and output quality. While the heftier price tag and the noise level present some trade-offs, the positives here far outweigh the negatives. For those seeking top-tier performance and who are prepared to address the minor drawbacks, the RTX 3090 certainly warrants consideration.