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Noise Level and Power Consumption

The noise level of each cooler was measured between 1:00 and 3:00 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 fan(s) rotation speed was adjusted in the entire supported range using our precise in-house controller by changing the voltage with 0.5 V increment.

Besides the three graphics cards from this review, we include the results of a reference Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 as well as of the MSI OC Gaming which turned out to be the quietest GTX 780 in our earlier tests. The vertical dotted lines mark the peak speed of the coolers' fans in the automatic regulation mode. Now, let’s see what we have in the diagram and table:

Judging by the noise level graphs, the Gigabyte is the quietest card whereas the MSI and Inno3D are the loudest. However, things are not that simple when it comes to practice. When the coolers' fans are regulated automatically, it is the cards from MSI and Inno3D that have the lowest noise level at high loads while the Gigabyte is hardly any quieter than the reference GTX 780 from Nvidia.

As for our subjective impressions, the Gigabyte’s cooler should be given credit for the rather soft and comfortable sound of its fans. The Inno3D’s fans rattled annoyingly at low speeds. As for the EVGA card, it is, unfortunately, rather loud according to our measurements.

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. In the latter case the load was created by four runs of the introductory “Swamp” scene in Crysis 3 game at 2560x1440 with maximum image quality settings, but without MSAA.

As expected, the different GeForce GTX 780s have comparable power consumption:

Interestingly, the configuration with the Inno3D, which has the highest clock rates, does not have the highest power requirements. On the contrary, it needs but hardly more than the configuration with the reference Nvidia GeForce GTX 780. Having lower clock rates, the EVGA consumes 20 watts more in the same configuration and under the same load, which is similar to the power draw of the configuration with one GeForce GTX Titan. Anyway, the different versions of the GeForce GTX 780 are comparable in terms of their power consumption, so any of the tested configurations can be powered by a 550- or 600-watt PSU.

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