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Technical Specifications and Recommended Pricing

Testbed and Methodology

The tests were performed in a closed system case. Our testbed was configured as follows:

  • Mainboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD9 (Intel X58 Express, LGA 1366, BIOS F5q beta from 04/26/2011);
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition, 3.33 GHz, 1.225 V, 6 x 256 KB L2, 12 MB L3 (Gulftown, B1);
  • Thermal interface: Gelid GX-Extreme;
  • Memory: DDR3 3 x 2 GB OCZ Platinum Low-Voltage Triple Channel (Spec: 1600MHz / 7-7-7-24 / 1.65 V);
  • Graphics card: AMD Radeon HD 6970 2 GB GDDR5 256 bit, 890/5500 MHz;
  • System drive: RAID 0 made of 2 Kingston V-series SNV425S2128GB SSDs (SATA-II, 300 GB, MLC, Toshiba TC58NCF618G3T);
  • HDD for games and programs: Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS (SATA-II, 300 GB storage capacity, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, NCQ) inside Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5” silencer and cooler chassis;
  • Backup HDD: Samsung EcoGreen F4 HD204UI (SATA-II, 2000 GB, 5400 RPM, 32 MB, NCQ);
  • System case: Antec Twelve Hundred (front panel: three Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe S-Series MF12-S2 fans at 900 RPM; back panel: two Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-1 fans at 900 RPM; top panel: standard 200 mm fan at 400 RPM);
  • Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC2;
  • Power supply: Zalman ZM1000-HP 1000 W (with a default 140 mm fan).

Even in nominal mode AMD Radeon HD 6970 runs pretty hot. Nevertheless, we increased its GPU clock to 950 MHz at 1.175 V nominal voltage:

The testing programs were installed under Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64. We used DirectX End-User Runtimes libraries (from November 2010) and Catalyst 11.5 graphics card driver. We used two 12-minute runs of FurMark version 1.9.0 in stability test mode with “Burn-in” option enabled and resolution set to 1920x1080 resolution. We enabled anisotropic filtering 16x in the driver control panel in order to increase the GPU operational load:

We also measured the graphics card temperatures in game mode using six runs of Aliens vs. Predator game in 1920x1080 resolution with maximum graphics quality settings but without antialiasing:

By testing the graphics cards in this mode we should be able to see their temperatures under typical gaming load.

We used MSI Afterburner utility version 2.2.0 Beta 3 to monitor graphics card temperatures and frequencies and GPU-Z version 0.5.3 utility:

The tests were run at least twice for each type of load. The temperature stabilization period between the two test cycles was about 10-12 minutes. The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case with an electronic thermometer with 0.1°C precision that allows monitoring the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. During our test session room temperature stayed around 21.9-22.3°C.

We are going to compare the cooling efficiency of the new Gelid Icy Vision cooler against that of the reference cooler on AMD Rade as well as against a pretty efficient Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME 5870

Here I would like to add that we replaced the default thermal interface on all graphics cards with Gelid GC-Extreme.

 
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