Specifically talking about the FTW3 Ultra model. But after reading your post I realized it did sound wrong, so I looked into it. Now I believe my card is particularly loud (poor binning?). According to reviews the 3090 Ti is supposed to be much louder than the 3090, but my EVGA 3090 Ti FTW3 Ultra is definitely a lot quieter. I've tested it in another PC too (airflow shouldn't be an issue as each PC has 6 Noctua case fans). I don't own the Founders Edition, but the couple I've tested at the shop sounded less intense to me. Upon reflection the most likely explanation is that regardless of airflow, the amount of heat being dumped into the case adds up. If you have an air CPU heatsink - it will inevitably help raise that temperature, which will also raise the speed of the case fans. What I'm trying to say is that it's not an insignificant amount of heat being dumped into the case. If I take off the limit on my Noctua 3000RPM fans, my PC turns into some sort of scary jet engine with four of them going at full speed! Still, if I ever have the opportunity to score a FE for a good price, I think I will give it a shot.Which model though? As the XC3 in general was known (at least leading up to this gen) to be louder while the FTW3 quieter. Was the reason I opted for the latter (though not a 3090).
So the discrepancy may not be as big as I originally thought, but I still maintain that the trend of increasing power requirements as well as heat output from each generation puts unfair pressure on the partners and creates a sense of pessimism that things won't get better in the near future. It seems like NVIDIA gets to plan out their fancy coolers while partners are just re-using or expanding upon the same dated designs. And I don't know if you've ever seen the EVGA 3090 Ti FTW3 in person, but it's ugly as sin. It's a 2.5 slot cooler than leaves a fat gap in the back of your PC case. It just feels like a bad joke - a flagship card with a completely half-assed cooler design. Amd I wouldn't be surpised if that's all that EVGA could possibly scrape together.