Noise, Temperature, Overclockability, Compatibility
The ECS N8800GT-512MX DT is expected to be used together the Turbo Module by default, so we decided to check out Arctic Cooling’s claim about the complete noiselessness of these fans. We measured the level of noise produced by the card with a digital sound-level meter Velleman DVM1326 using A-curve weighing. The level of ambient noise in our lab was 36dBA and the level of noise at a distance of 1 meter from the working testbed with a passively cooled graphics card inside was 43dBA. Here are the results:
The Turbo Module proved to be very quiet indeed. Even with the fans installed the N8800GT-512MX DT is nearly silent and surpasses such cards as GeForce 8800 GTX and GeForce 7900 GTX whose coolers are considered among the quietest. Alas, the tradeoff is compactness. With the Turbo Module attached, the revision 2 Accelero S1 blocks two neighboring expansion slots instead of one as most dual-slot coolers do. As we noted already, the N8800GT-512MX DT won’t be a good choice for compact system cases and microATX mainboards.
The Accelero S2 with the Turbo Module is very effective, though. According to the latest version of RivaTuner, the CPU temperature was 44.5°C in Idle mode and 52-69°C under load. This is much better than the performance of the reference coolers of GeForce 8800 GT 512MB: over 90°C of the first version and 85-88°C of the second, improved, version. And the reference card had lower frequencies than the N8800GT-512MX DT! So, the ECS card won’t overheat if you install the Turbo Module on it. Moreover, you can do without that module and save one expansion slot if your system case is ventilated well: the large dissipation area of the Accelero S1 provides some ground for such experiments, especially if you’ve got a system fan on the side panel. Keep an eye on the GPU temperature, though, if you dare to experiment this way.
Our attempt to overclock the card was not much of a success. We increased the core frequency from the default 650/1620MHz to 700/1744MHz while the memory refused to be overclocked at all, the highest stable memory frequency being 970 (1940) MHz. We won’t benchmark the card in the overclocked mode due to the small frequency growth – its performance is going to be limited by the memory frequency anyway. Of course, you can be more successful, especially if you use extreme overclocking methods.
As opposed to early samples of GeForce 8800 GT 512MB, the N8800GT-512MX DT is free from compatibility problems. It started up on every PCI Express 1.0a mainboard we tried it with.