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Overclockability, Temperature and Noise

One of the goals of this review is to check out the overclocking potential of GF108-based solutions without using special methods like hardware volt-modding which are too dangerous unless applied by experienced overclockers. Although the GeForce GT 430 doesn’t cost much, people will hardly want to risk losing it unless they buy it specifically to experiment.

Unfortunately, the overclocking potential of our sample was limited by its slow memory which could not work even at 900 (1800) MHz. The highest frequency we achieved was 825 (1650) MHz, or only 25 (50) MHz higher than the rated frequency of the memory chips. The card would produce visual artifacts at higher memory clock rates.

The GPU did much better, speeding up from its default 700/1400 to 850/1700 MHz. This is more than 20%, so we can expect a hefty performance boost in games. Perhaps the overclocked GeForce GT 430 will be able to maintain a playable frame rate at low resolutions without our lowering the graphics quality settings. We’ll check this out in the next section.

Here are the noise and temperature data for the overclocked card:

As you can see, the massive heatsink with 80mm fan easily copes with the GF108 chip overclocked to 850 MHz. The cooler even seems to be redundant for such a low-end graphics card. However, this cooling performance is achieved partially at the expense of noisiness. The cooler’s fan is audible in each mode, so the card is not noiseless. It may become the main source of noise in an otherwise silent HTPC, for example. The noise itself is quite agreeable to the ear, though. It is a soft whisper of the air rather than a rattle of the bearing or something. The fan is high quality.

So, the Axle GeForce GT 430 isn’t very appropriate for HTPCs due to its noisiness as well as large dimensions. An HTPC user may want to prefer a low-profile model like the Axle AX-GT430/1GSD3P8CDIL or the Gigabyte GV-N430OC-1GL. Our version is good for GPU overclocking, though, so let’s see what performance benefits it can provide us.

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