RTX 3060Ti Aero alternative? Meet the DIY PALIT StormX 3060Ti ITX Edition

REVOCCASES

Shrink Ray Wielder
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REVOCCASES
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DISCLAIMER: if you are planning to replicate this mod with your 3060Ti, please do your own research first and proceed at your own risk. I take no responsibility if it does not work out for you.

Long story short, I was looking for a MSI 3060Ti AERO for quite some time now but as we all know, this card is hard to find and/or very expensive. Some days ago I finally found a "normal sized" 3060Ti for a quite reasonable price (EUR 600,- "only") so I started to do some research if it would be possible to mod that card and make it ITX sized.

Part 1: investigative research and feasibility check

The reference PCB (not Founders Edition PCB) for the 3060 and 3060Ti which NVIDIA made for their board partners are very similar and ITX sized. While "premium brands" like ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI, etc. are mostly designing their own PCBs, the big OEMs like PCPartner, GALAX, etc. are usually using the reference board designs. So if you buy a more "budget" 3060Ti from a brand like inno3D, PNY, PALIT, Gainward, etc. it is very likely that you will get a PCB as shown below:

3060 reference board:



3060Ti reference board:



To make sure to get this kind of 3060Ti PCB we can do a quick search on the web to find some reviews / teardowns.

As an example, here is a teardown of the inno3D RTX 3060 Ti Twin X2 OC where we can see the PCB:


Given the fact that the Ti and non-Ti PCBs share the same layout / component placement, we can now start to search for an suitable ITX sized cooler. Luckily PNY and PALIT both offer an ITX sized version of the 3060 and a quick search on TaoBao came up with this one: PALIT StormX Cooler



Looking at the comments, it seems I was not the first one who had the idea of making a DIY 3060Ti ITX - the first comment obviously shows the inno3D RTX 3060 Ti Twin X2 OC - so that one should work



Now after my initial research was complete, I ordered the 3060Ti and the cooler - total cost about EUR 625,- / USD 720,-

The GPU is a 3060Ti MIRACLE and I suppose this was manufactured by PCPartner (inno3D) for EMtek but was never officially released. Anyways - I haven't disassembled the card yet but it seems to have the same PCB like the inno3D RTX 3060 Ti Twin X2



The cooler from the PALIT StormX also arrived - it is brand new and came well packed with thermal grease and mounting screws



thermal pads are pre-applied and seem to be at the right spots for the 3060Ti



unfortunately it only has three heatpipes - we'll see if that's enough - worst case I should be able to undervolt the card a bit or just limit the FPS



the cooler comes with a 100 x 15mm fan / 98mm measured from blade to blade - I think the same size like the AERO 3060Ti?



now before going ahead with the mod and taking the 3060Ti apart (voiding the warranty) I'll first test the card for a while...



stay tuned for updates... :cool:


Part 2: performing the 3060Ti ITX mod

after running benchmarks and test for a few hours with the original honey bee 3060Ti I couldn't wait any longer and just started the mod...

first, removing the original cooler...



checking if the thermal pad placement matches...



measuring the standoff height on the original cooler...



standoffs on the PALIT heatsink are shorter, but shouldn't be an issue - just keeping that in mind and not tighten the screws all the way down later...



the I/O bracket was originally mounted together with the backplate...



maybe I'll design a custom backplate later - for now some M2.5 screws and nuts should do...



some shots of the board...





for comparison: inno3D 3060Ti Twin X2 OC (made by PCPartner) which I found on the Russian review site...



bonus shot: a legit 3060Ti LHR



fan connector from the PALIT cooler matches - unfortunately the RGB header is missing on my board - but I guess this could be modded...



time to see if it fits together...



that looks promissing...



almost there...



and voila - I proudly present you my PALIT StormX 3060Ti ITX DIY Edition






Part 3: performance and thermal testing

before performing the ITX mod I recorded some benchmark results of the card with the original cooler - here is the comparison between ITX & Original

all test were done in my BIG560 with side panel off




Original:


ITX mod:


Original:


ITX mod:


Bonus picture: Valley Bench with ITX mod


I also tried to measure the noise levels with the ITX mod but this is not exactly accurate since the PSU fan seems to be the most noisy component under load - so the numbers don't say much but my ear tells me that the card is certainly less noisy then the R9 Nano I had before - IMHO this is impressive and I did not expect it working so well.

ambient noise, no load, all fans off (yes, the card does actually have a 0-RPM fan mode!)


noise during Valley Bench:



Part 4: final words

Given how well the mod with the PALIT StormX heatsink turned out, I am almost certain that PALIT had the idea to release an ITX sized 3060Ti variant of their card but cancelled that plan at some point. Good for us: the cooler can be found easily on TaoBao and Aliexpress and if you own a compatible 3060Ti you can now just build your own. :cool:

I hope you enjoyed my post and found it helpful!
 
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Neathdrawls

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jul 28, 2021
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Great to see that it is It is a legit 3060ti!

Interested to see the follow up procedures and results of it, as it would open up a lot of options for builders wanting a ITX sized card.
 
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Neathdrawls

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Jul 28, 2021
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ok guys, first post updated with the complete mod & test results... enjoy!

Fantastic results and it fits like a glove! And only a very slight increase in temperatures!

This does open up a lot of options, depending on the risk appeptite of users wanting to possibly voiding their warranties, as fitting it into an ITX sized card is worth it in my opinion.

As for ARGB, maybe if one gotten a 3060ti board which has the needed headers, it would just work as well.

Unfortunately, consumer rights in some countries are not existent and removing 'warranty voided if removed' stickers are actually enforced by the distributors/manufacturers, so it is a risk factor there. Or maybe just very carefully removal of the sticker is needed!
 
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robbee

King of Cable Management
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Sep 24, 2016
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That's impressive work! How would you rate the noise compared to the initial cooler? And at what RPM did you have the fan spinning during benchmark?

EDIT: nvm, I'm blind, fan RPM is in the screenshot. 1800 RPM is better than I had expected from such a small cooler!

BTW, another aib that often uses the reference PCB is Zotac, which is usually easier to acquire in Western countries. Their twin edge 3060ti looks like it matches your PCB.
 
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REVOCCASES

Shrink Ray Wielder
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Fantastic results and it fits like a glove! And only a very slight increase in temperatures!

This does open up a lot of options, depending on the risk appeptite of users wanting to possibly voiding their warranties, as fitting it into an ITX sized card is worth it in my opinion.

As for ARGB, maybe if one gotten a 3060ti board which has the needed headers, it would just work as well.

Unfortunately, consumer rights in some countries are not existent and removing 'warranty voided if removed' stickers are actually enforced by the distributors/manufacturers, so it is a risk factor there. Or maybe just very carefully removal of the sticker is needed!

Fantastic indeed -couldn't be happier how it turned out!

Technically I would say the cooler swap was much easier than mounting a water block on your GPU. The biggest issue is certainly that you may risk your warranty by doing this. If my card breaks down within warranty I would probably revert the mod and try to convince the vendor that the anti-tamper sticker magically fell off. 😅

Personally I don't really need the ARGB feature but I'm curious if it would work after soldering a compatible header onto my board - or if this feature needs to be enabled in the VBIOS... 🤔

That's impressive work! How would you rate the noise compared to the initial cooler? And at what RPM did you have the fan spinning during benchmark?

EDIT: nvm, I'm blind, fan RPM is in the screenshot. 1800 RPM is better than I had expected from such a small cooler!

BTW, another aib that often uses the reference PCB is Zotac, which is usually easier to acquire in Western countries. Their twin edge 3060ti looks like it matches your PCB.

The original cooler was actually not much more silent. I think the one fan behind the "bee hive" was causing some turbulence noise. Initially I was thinking about a NOCTUA mod but IMHO it's not annoyingly loud so I'll just keep it as is.

On TaoBao I saw one guy using the ZOTAC card. Same like inno3D it is also made by PCpartner but using a slightly different PCB layout. He had to trim away one area of the cooling fins but also succeeded.

Bild_2021-10-19_180421.png
 

rfarmer

Shrink Ray Wielder
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Jul 7, 2017
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Very cool Revo, glad it all worked out. Considering how elusive and expensive the Aero itx is this might be the only alternative for some people.
 
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makoto14

Chassis Packer
Jul 19, 2021
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wow this is so cool. looks like basically the same cooling/gpu clocks as the MSI 3060ti.
Can you push the card past 200w board power?

also since i didnt see a backplate on the card i am sure you wont have a problem with the fan hitting the side of a 2 slot 5 liter sandwich case
 

REVOCCASES

Shrink Ray Wielder
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Can you push the card past 200w board power?

also since i didnt see a backplate on the card i am sure you wont have a problem with the fan hitting the side of a 2 slot 5 liter sandwich case

Probably I could but I'm not going to try any OC - the performance is more than enough for my needs.

I'm going to design a custom backplate for the card - although I'm not putting it in a sandwich case I feel more comfortable if the PCB is protected against possible shorts.
 

Runamok81

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the big OEMs like PCPartner, GALAX, etc. are usually using the reference board designs. So if you buy a more "budget" 3060Ti from a brand like inno3D, PNY, PALIT, Gainward, etc. it is very likely that you will get a PCB as shown below:

From this post I am seeing the following cards as possible "DIY Aero" mod candidates.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Inno3D Twin X2 OC 8GB
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Inno3D Twin X2 OC 8GB LHR

ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge * (PCB images here)

* minor mod needed

Any I missed?
 
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Neathdrawls

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Jul 28, 2021
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From this post I am seeing the following cards as possible "DIY Aero" mod candidates.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Inno3D Twin X2 OC 8GB
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Inno3D Twin X2 OC 8GB LHR

ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge * (PCB images here)

* minor mod needed

Any I missed?
Pretty much the most of Palit, PNY, Gainward, Galax 3060Ti dual fan cards 'should' work as well, if you ask me.

PNY 3060ti Uprising
PNY 3060ti Gaming Revel
Palit 3060ti Dual
Galax 3060ti
Gainward 3060ti

Would include the OC and non OC, LHR, Non-LHR variants of the card too.

Of course, one's mileage will vary and I cannot make claim that they will definetly 100% fit, and their PCB's layouts are all similar.
 
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REVOCCASES

Shrink Ray Wielder
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From this post I am seeing the following cards as possible "DIY Aero" mod candidates.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Inno3D Twin X2 OC 8GB
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Inno3D Twin X2 OC 8GB LHR

ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge * (PCB images here)

* minor mod needed

Any I missed?

There are a lot more models that should be compatible with the PALIT heatsink - in theory all that use the OEM 3060Ti reference PCB.

A good indication is to look at the area of the PCIe notch: if it looks like my card it should fit

as example, here is one card from GAINWARD and one from PNY - both share the same PCB (even the same cooler XD)





if you browse through all the models, you quickly realize that many of those cards sell under different brands but are actually all the same.

here is another funny example: one time it sells as ELSA, one time as inno3D


 
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REVOCCASES

Shrink Ray Wielder
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today I completed my mod with a DIY backplate - nothing fancy, just for protection



I doubt it will help anything but I also put some thermal pads behind the area of the VRMs



next up I will move the card in my MIT1 build and see how it performs there...

PS: as you can see, I made two of those backplates. If someone is going to replicate this mod and should need one - just let me know.

edit: here are the test results with the backplate - a little bit cooler but this could also be the weather today

 
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SmittyDoe

What's an ITX?
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Oct 21, 2021
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Pretty cool thread and awesome work. Thanks for your effoort @REVOCCASES. How did you find the air cooler of this card? I own a Inno3D 3060Ti Twin X2 and want to get the another air cooler (best would be the same as in the 3060Ti Twin or even one compared to the Gigabyte 3060Ti Triple Fan, as it is larger than the cooler from Palit), so I can modify it without losing the warranty of the original card. But I cannot find the cooler on taobao or aliexpress.
 

REVOCCASES

Shrink Ray Wielder
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Pretty cool thread and awesome work. Thanks for your effoort @REVOCCASES. How did you find the air cooler of this card? I own a Inno3D 3060Ti Twin X2 and want to get the another air cooler (best would be the same as in the 3060Ti Twin or even one compared to the Gigabyte 3060Ti Triple Fan, as it is larger than the cooler from Palit), so I can modify it without losing the warranty of the original card. But I cannot find the cooler on taobao or aliexpress.

I just kept browsing and searching if there is any cooler that would fit for my plan and suddenly I just had luck finding the Palit one. The shop I have linked here has a pretty good collection. Maybe try sending them a message if they have something suitable for you.