Noise and Power Consumption
We measured the level of noise produced by the graphics cards’ coolers with a digital sound-level meter Velleman DVM1326 (0.1dB resolution) using A-curve weighing. At the time of our tests the level of ambient noise in our lab was 36dBA and the level of noise at a distance of 1 meter from a working testbed with a passively cooled graphics card inside was 40dBA. We got the following results:
Contrary to our apprehensions, Nvidia’s new cooler proves to be rather quiet. The GeForce 8800 GTX is comparable in this parameter to the GeForce 7900 GTX, which is one of the quietest graphics cards available. The new card is quiet in every operation mode while the fan speed management system only reminds of itself for the first few seconds on your starting the PC up. That’s an impressive achievement considering that the GeForce 8800 GTX’s cooler must dissipate over 130W of heat. We applaud to Nvidia’s engineers that have managed to copy the superb noise characteristics of the GeForce 7900 GTX cooler while keeping within the much harder thermal design requirements of the GeForce 8800 GTX.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t measure the power consumption of the GeForce 8800 GTX because our testbed with a modified Intel Desktop Board D925XCV turned to be incompatible with Nvidia’s new card. The system started up and initialized successfully and began to boot the OS up, but the graphics card didn’t output any signal to the monitor. So, we have to quote Nvidia’s numbers here.
According to Nvidia, the GeForce 8800 GTX doesn’t show anything extraordinary in terms of power consumption. Its power draw of 145.5W under max load is quite an expectable value for a 0.09-micron chip consisting of 681 million transistors most of which are clocked at 1.35GHz. There’s no reason to worry. As we’ve found out, the cooling system employed by Nvidia copes with that load quite successfully and with little noise.