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Cooling System

The Zotac GeForce GTX 660 features Zotac’s original Dual Silencer in a simplified version with two rather than three heat pipes.

The copper heat pipes are still 6 millimeters in diameter, though. They go out of the copper base and pierce the aluminum heatsink. The pipes are soldered to the base and to the heatsink fins. Above them, there is a decorative metallic casing with two 70mm orange-colored fans.

Labeled FD7010H12S, the fans are manufactured by FirstD.

Their speed is PWM-regulated from 1400 to 3500 RPM. The sleeve bearing is specified to last 40,000 hours while the peak power consumption of each fan is no higher than 4.2 watts.

We checked out the card’s temperature during five consecutive runs of Aliens vs. Predator (2010) with the highest image quality settings at 2560x1440 with 16x anisotropic filtering and MSAA 4x antialiasing. We used MSI Afterburner 2.2.3 and GPU-Z 0.6.4 as our monitoring tools. This test was performed in a closed system case at a room temperature of 20°C. We didn’t replace the card’s default thermal interface.

Let’s see how efficient the simplified Dual Silencer is on the new GeForce GTX 660 card:


Auto fan mode


Max fan mode

With the fans regulated automatically, the GPU of the Zotac card was 66°C hot and the fans accelerated from 1400 to 2220 RPM. At the maximum speed of 3500 RPM, the GPU was only 54°C hot, which is very good for such a modest cooler. Of course, the card is noisy in the latter case, but no cooler can be quiet at such a high speed. Well, let’s discuss the noise factor in the next section.

Noise Level

We measured the level of noise using an electronic noise-level meter CENTER-321 in a closed and quiet room about 20 sq. meters large. The noise-level meter was set on a tripod at a distance of 15 centimeters from the graphics card which was installed on an open testbed. The mainboard with the graphics card was placed at an edge of a desk on a foam-rubber tray.

The bottom limit of our noise-level meter is 29.8 dBA whereas the subjectively comfortable (not low, but comfortable) level of noise when measured from that distance is about 36 dBA. The speed of the graphics card’s fans was being adjusted by means of a controller that changed the supply voltage in steps of 0.5 V.

We’ve included the results of the reference Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 and AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition in the diagram below for the sake of comparison. The vertical dotted lines mark the speed of the fans in the automatic regulation mode. Here are the results:

Zotac’s Dual Silencer is much quieter than the reference coolers from AMD and Nvidia. In fact, it is a really quiet cooler that is absolutely silent in 2D mode and hardly audible in 3D applications. An impressive performance.

 
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