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EVGA GeForce GTS 250 Superclocked Edition and Gigabyte GV-N250OC-1GI: Power Consumption, Temperature, Noise and Overclockability

The Palit GeForce GTS 250 1GB card we tested earlier had two power connectors, so we will retest the power consumption of the GeForce GTS 250 cards as they have only one PCIe 1.0 connector. We use the following testbed for that:

  • Intel Pentium 4 560 CPU (3.6GHz, LGA775)
  • DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200-T2R/G mainboard (ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset)
  • PC2-5300 SDRAM (2x512MB, 667MHz)
  • Western Digital Raptor WD360ADFD HDD (36GB)
  • Chieftec ATX-410-212 PSU (410W)
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 32-bit
  • Futuremark PCMark05 Build 1.2.0
  • Futuremark 3DMark06 Build 1.1.0

Following our standard procedure, the 3D load was created by the first SM3.0/HDR test from 3DMark06 running in a loop at 1600x1200 with forced 4x FSAA and 16x AF. The 2D load was emulated by the 2D Transparent Windows test from PCMark05.

Click to enlarge

The two versions of Nvidia’s card have similar results in this test, obviously because they use one and the same controller (NCP5388) in the GPU power circuits. There is indeed no need to install two power connectors on G92b-based graphics cards. They don’t even load the single 6-pin PCIe 1.0 connector fully (it is rated for a load up to 75 watts).

The cooling system installed on the Gigabyte GV-N250OC-1GI card copes with its job just perfectly. The GPU temperature is never higher than 60 degrees centigrade, which is 11 degrees lower than the result of the reference card. We can’t say how many degrees the 2oz Copper PCB technology has contributed to this result, but anyway. Gigabyte’s card deserves our praises for superb cooling efficiency. Let’s check out the noise now.

We got the following results when measuring the noise at a distance of 1 meter from the working testbed (the ambient noise was 43dBA):

The EVGA GeForce GTS 250 Superclocked Edition is not quiet because its fan speed grows up under load, making the card audible amidst the noise from the other system components. However, like with all other reference coolers from Nvidia, the spectrum of the noise is not irritating. It is the hiss of air passing through the heatsink. The Gigabyte GV-N250OC-1GI has a much more impressive result: it is virtually silent when both idle and under continuous 3D load.

As we have mentioned previously, EVGA and Gigabyte both equipped their products with exclusive overclocking & monitoring tools, Precision and Gamer HUD Lite, respectively. This is what they look like:

These are functional tools that do their job well enough, but we guess most overclockers will prefer the popular, flexible and universal RivaTuner. That’s what we did, too.

In our overclocking experiment we increased the frequencies of the EVGA GeForce GTS 250 Superclocked Edition to 820/2010MHz for the graphics core and 1240 (2480) MHz for memory.

A shader domain frequency of over 2GHz is very high, especially as we did not have to resort to some special overclocking tricks or tools to achieve it.

The GPU of the Gigabyte GV-N250OC-1GI could be overclocked even higher to 820MHz for the main domain and 2040MHz for the shader domain but its memory chips did not speed up well. Notwithstanding the manufacturer’s claim of using select memory chips, they only worked at 1180 (2360) MHz, not even reaching their rated frequency of 1200 (2400) MHz. The card’s PCB wiring may be not optimal for the chips or we may have just had a not-very-overclockable sample of the product.

So, both graphics cards did well in this round of our test session, too. But we should acknowledge that the Gigabyte has better cooling and lower level of noise. On the other hand, the EVGA card may be the preferable option for a compact system case because its cooling system will exhaust the hot air out of the latter.

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