The noise level of each cooler was measured after 1:00 AM in a closed room about 20 m2 big using CENTER-321 electronic noise meter. The noise level for each cooler was tested outside the system case when the only noise sources in the lab were the cooler and its fan. The noise meter was installed on a tripod and was always at a 150 mm distance from the cooler fan rotor. The tested cooling systems were placed at the edge of the desk on a sheet of polyurethane foam. The lowest noise reading our noise meter device can register is 29.8 dBA and the subjectively comfortable noise level in these testing conditions was around 36 dBA (do not mix it up with low noise level). The fans rotation speeds were adjusted in the entire supported range using our in-house controller by changing the voltage with 0.5 V increment.
We’ve included the results of the reference Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 and AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition for the sake of comparison. The vertical dotted lines mark the speed of the fans in the automatic regulation mode.
Zotac’s exclusive cooler isn’t much better than the reference cooler installed on the GeForce GTX 670. It is silent in 2D mode but its fans accelerate as soon as you launch a 3D application, becoming audible at 1500 RPM. The noise isn’t irritating even at 2500 RPM, which is the maximum speed of the fans when regulated automatically, but you may prefer some other product if silence is your priority.
We measured the power consumption of our testbed equipped with different graphics cards using a multifunctional Zalman ZM-MFC3 panel, which can report how much power a computer (without the monitor) draws from a wall outlet. There were two test modes: 2D (editing documents in Microsoft Word or web surfing) and 3D (three runs of Metro 2033: The Last Refuge benchmark in 2560x1440 resolution with maximum image quality settings).
Here are the results:
Our configuration consumes about the same amount of power irrespective of the graphics card. The system with the new GeForce GTX 660 Ti needs as much power as the system with the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition, also when overclocked. The Radeon HD 7950 GHz Edition is the most voracious, requiring 467 watts. Any of these graphics cards is going to be satisfied with a 500-watt PSU even if the rest of the PC configuration is very advanced.