Dan A4 with 3080 XC3 or 3080 FE - which do I keep?

Titeywitey

Trash Compacter
Original poster
May 24, 2019
36
16
As long as Best Buy doesn't cancel on me, I've got a 3080 XC3 Ultra and a 3080 FE coming my way this weekend. I swear I'm not looking to scalp! I only purchased both of them because I was terrified of getting cancelled on, like Amazon's massive 3080 FTW3 drop that ended up in tears for many people.

Normally, I would just take whichever one I got first and make it work, but as I'm in this favorable position, I actually have the choice. Which is the preferred one?

XC3
pros: Evga warranty, makes reselling a breeze in a couple years. No concerns about accommodating the flow through cooler. No 12 pin adapter.

cons: Apparently the rear IO doesn't line up quite right? And the card can't be screwed into the slot properly? Can someone confirm this for me? If it can't be screwed in properly, it's probably an automatic disqualification for me, as I do travel somewhat frequently with my build. I'm aware that you need to use some felt pads to keep the fan from rubbing on the side panel - I'm not worried about that.

FE
pros: Decently cheaper. Super desirable model, FEs are basically always a safe bet for future resale. If I do move to a different case in the future, this one has that tiny pcb that saves room for watercooling and would be pretty nifty.

cons: the heat. I've seen posts and optimum tech's video about mitigating this through undervolting, rotating the psu, using standoffs to create a bit more separation, etc. I've seen some say it gets pretty bad, and plenty others saying it is fine in games. Just not sure. Does using the standoffs misalign the rear IO or make it impossible to screw into the slot?


Thanks for any guidance you may have!
 

notakenplz

Efficiency Noob
Sep 12, 2020
6
0
I have the XC3, not sure what people mean by it not screwing in properly -- the screws do screw in, though admittedly it was a little tough to get it to fit with my 645LT AIO due to the fan grill + PSU cables pushing the GPU up. The only thing that's a little weird is that one of the IO ports is blocked (one of the display port IOs), but otherwise it sits snugly in the case. Haven't used the FE, it does look cooler, but the cooling for it doesn't look like it would be as efficient as the XC3.

With either card, placing some clear tape on the inside of the side panel can help create a "duct" so the GPU fans don't recirculate hot air -- this drops the temperatures by a few celsius almost immediately when I tested it with / without the taped side panel on.
 

Titeywitey

Trash Compacter
Original poster
May 24, 2019
36
16
I have the XC3, not sure what people mean by it not screwing in properly -- the screws do screw in, though admittedly it was a little tough to get it to fit with my 645LT AIO due to the fan grill + PSU cables pushing the GPU up. The only thing that's a little weird is that one of the IO ports is blocked (one of the display port IOs), but otherwise it sits snugly in the case. Haven't used the FE, it does look cooler, but the cooling for it doesn't look like it would be as efficient as the XC3.

With either card, placing some clear tape on the inside of the side panel can help create a "duct" so the GPU fans don't recirculate hot air -- this drops the temperatures by a few celsius almost immediately when I tested it with / without the taped side panel on.
I'm thinking I'll go ahead and open the XC3 and just try to get it screwed in there. If it goes in just fine, it'll be the one I keep.

For your "duct," did you basically just cover the inside of the side panel with tape everywhere except for right next to the 3 fans? And what are you using to keep the fans from rubbing the side panels?

Do you have an xc3 black or ultra? If an ultra, did you keep the backplate on or needed to remove it?
 

notakenplz

Efficiency Noob
Sep 12, 2020
6
0
For the duct, I more or less placed two large horizontal strips of clear tape above and below the GPU (though I actually technically used 4 strips of tape, so the sticky side isn't exposed and doesn't catch dust), so that the only holes that are open on the side panel are the ones over the 3 fans. When I placed my hand over the fans without the tape, I noticed it was recirculating hot air from the top/bottom of the exhaust fins back into the fans, so this makes sure the fans only have access to the air outside of the case.

I placed some leftover velcro tape I had from another application on a few spots on the GPU to prevent the fans from colliding with the side panel

I have an XC3 ultra -- I didn't need to remove the backplate, though it was a tight fit, mostly due to my AIO + PSU cables.
 

thelaughingman

King of Cable Management
Jul 14, 2018
899
952
@Titeywitey if I were you I'd keep the FE for sure. moved on from the A4 myself as it was too restricting with newer top-tier hardware. you already stated all the advantages that the FE cards has over the XC3. think of it this way - it makes more sense to change the case (200USD or less) to work with the graphics card (800USD) than the other way around.
 

Titeywitey

Trash Compacter
Original poster
May 24, 2019
36
16
For the duct, I more or less placed two large horizontal strips of clear tape above and below the GPU (though I actually technically used 4 strips of tape, so the sticky side isn't exposed and doesn't catch dust), so that the only holes that are open on the side panel are the ones over the 3 fans. When I placed my hand over the fans without the tape, I noticed it was recirculating hot air from the top/bottom of the exhaust fins back into the fans, so this makes sure the fans only have access to the air outside of the case.

I placed some leftover velcro tape I had from another application on a few spots on the GPU to prevent the fans from colliding with the side panel

I have an XC3 ultra -- I didn't need to remove the backplate, though it was a tight fit, mostly due to my AIO + PSU cables
Thanks so much for all the info! Sounds like a winner to me.
 

Titeywitey

Trash Compacter
Original poster
May 24, 2019
36
16
@thelaughingman

The point about the future option of moving it to a different case for water-cooling is extremely unlikely for me - kind of a fleeting thought. I travel internationally with my PC a couple times a year, and that makes the size of the Dan super appealing and convenient. I'm thinking if the XC3 performs well in the case and doesn't have mounting issues, then that's the one I'll stick with. I'll have to jump through a few hoops to get the FE to cool reasonably, and I don't think that'll be the case with the XC3. We shall see.

The FE is damn cool though, haha. Feels like such a shame to not have a reason to keep it :p
 

thelaughingman

King of Cable Management
Jul 14, 2018
899
952
@thelaughingman

The point about the future option of moving it to a different case for water-cooling is extremely unlikely for me - kind of a fleeting thought. I travel internationally with my PC a couple times a year, and that makes the size of the Dan super appealing and convenient. I'm thinking if the XC3 performs well in the case and doesn't have mounting issues, then that's the one I'll stick with. I'll have to jump through a few hoops to get the FE to cool reasonably, and I don't think that'll be the case with the XC3. We shall see.

The FE is damn cool though, haha. Feels like such a shame to not have a reason to keep it :p
I fly quite frequently as well and has been lugging the T1 (9.5L) in a backpack without any issue. It's not so much the size of the case but the weight of the completely built system that's more important IMO. Basically anything below 10L is easily backpack-able, thus limiting myself to just 7.2L of the A4 no longer made sense
 

Straander

Efficiency Noob
Nov 19, 2020
6
3
I have the XC3, not sure what people mean by it not screwing in properly -- the screws do screw in, though admittedly it was a little tough to get it to fit with my 645LT AIO due to the fan grill + PSU cables pushing the GPU up. The only thing that's a little weird is that one of the IO ports is blocked (one of the display port IOs), but otherwise it sits snugly in the case. Haven't used the FE, it does look cooler, but the cooling for it doesn't look like it would be as efficient as the XC3.

With either card, placing some clear tape on the inside of the side panel can help create a "duct" so the GPU fans don't recirculate hot air -- this drops the temperatures by a few celsius almost immediately when I tested it with / without the taped side panel on.
The only other testament on installing the 3080 XC3 in to a A4-SFX required adding felt bumpers on the card to bow the side panel out enough to clear the fans. And then the person said that the fans were extremely loud from the turbulence caused by having the side panel grill so close to them. Did you encounter these problems?
 

Straander

Efficiency Noob
Nov 19, 2020
6
3
As long as Best Buy doesn't cancel on me, I've got a 3080 XC3 Ultra and a 3080 FE coming my way this weekend. I swear I'm not looking to scalp! I only purchased both of them because I was terrified of getting cancelled on, like Amazon's massive 3080 FTW3 drop that ended up in tears for many people.

Normally, I would just take whichever one I got first and make it work, but as I'm in this favorable position, I actually have the choice. Which is the preferred one?

XC3
pros: Evga warranty, makes reselling a breeze in a couple years. No concerns about accommodating the flow through cooler. No 12 pin adapter.

cons: Apparently the rear IO doesn't line up quite right? And the card can't be screwed into the slot properly? Can someone confirm this for me? If it can't be screwed in properly, it's probably an automatic disqualification for me, as I do travel somewhat frequently with my build. I'm aware that you need to use some felt pads to keep the fan from rubbing on the side panel - I'm not worried about that.

FE
pros: Decently cheaper. Super desirable model, FEs are basically always a safe bet for future resale. If I do move to a different case in the future, this one has that tiny pcb that saves room for watercooling and would be pretty nifty.

cons: the heat. I've seen posts and optimum tech's video about mitigating this through undervolting, rotating the psu, using standoffs to create a bit more separation, etc. I've seen some say it gets pretty bad, and plenty others saying it is fine in games. Just not sure. Does using the standoffs misalign the rear IO or make it impossible to screw into the slot?


Thanks for any guidance you may have!
You should pass the 3080 on at-cost to another forum member instead of returning it 😂.
I've been trying to get either a 3080/3070/3060ti since October without any luck. With this scarcity, it'd be a shame if someone ends up returning one for just a scalper to get instead.
 

Titeywitey

Trash Compacter
Original poster
May 24, 2019
36
16
I found a buyer for the extra already. Definitely wasn't going to just return it.

To summarize my experience with these two: the XC3 did not screw into the pcie slot. Not really close either. Removing the backplate didn't change anything. It did feel pretty secure though with the slot cover screwed in. I tried a couple things to buffer the shroud off of the side panel - best and easiest one was a noctua anti vibration pad from one of my fans.

I installed the FE with motherboard standoffs and without the plastic divider. As neoberg said, this made the card line up with the pcie slot screw holes perfectly - very secure installation. I DID NOT flip the psu. I'm firmly against the idea of intentionally putting extra stress on a psu.

I ended up keeping the FE. In addition to fitting cleanly, my testing shows the FE running slightly quieter and at the same temperature as the XC3 - even the cpu was slightly cooler with the FE which really surprised me. You can see my reddit post, which I've linked below, for more details.

 

definelicht

Chassis Packer
Sep 24, 2020
17
15
I found a buyer for the extra already. Definitely wasn't going to just return it.

To summarize my experience with these two: the XC3 did not screw into the pcie slot. Not really close either. Removing the backplate didn't change anything. It did feel pretty secure though with the slot cover screwed in. I tried a couple things to buffer the shroud off of the side panel - best and easiest one was a noctua anti vibration pad from one of my fans.

I installed the FE with motherboard standoffs and without the plastic divider. As neoberg said, this made the card line up with the pcie slot screw holes perfectly - very secure installation. I DID NOT flip the psu. I'm firmly against the idea of intentionally putting extra stress on a psu.

I ended up keeping the FE. In addition to fitting cleanly, my testing shows the FE running slightly quieter and at the same temperature as the XC3 - even the cpu was slightly cooler with the FE which really surprised me. You can see my reddit post, which I've linked below, for more details.

Thank you for the detailed rundown, this is extremely useful!

Could you crosspost this on the Dan Case subreddit as well? It will be easier for people to find there.