Gigabyte GV-NX795T512H-RH vs. Foxconn FV-N79GM2D2-HPOC: Noise and Overclockability
We measured the level of noise produced by the coolers of the two different models of the GeForce 7950 GT 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:
Even using a cooling system from Zalman, the Gigabyte GeForce 7950 GT turned to have rather poor noise characteristics. It is almost as loud as the GeForce 7900 GT that lacks a fan speed management system altogether. The Gigabyte card cannot change the speed of the fan, either, and is perfectly audible in any operation mode even at a distance of 1 meter from the working computer. The original VF700-AlCu makes use of an independent connection and is equipped with a FanMate speed controller, but here the fan is connected to the PCB directly and the fan connector would have to be replaced to use a rheobus.
The Foxconn GeForce 7950 GT 256MB behaves much quieter. Its results are closer to those of the GeForce 7950 GT’s original cooler with a working speed management, except that the fan on the Foxconn card has a constant speed. With a noise level of 40.7dBA, this graphics card is almost inaudible against the noises from other components of a typical gaming PC. So, this round of the competition is won by the Foxconn card, which produces little noise and is also smaller than the Gigabyte card because the Foxconn’s cooler has a smaller height.
But when it came to overclocking, the Gigabyte card was the only one to perform well. We could increase its GPU frequency to 680MHz and its memory frequency to 820 (1640) MHz. The Zalman cooler coped with the card easily. The Foxconn card was a disappointment as we could not raise its GPU frequency even by 10MHz, so we gave up all overclocking attempts. This may be a problem of our particular sample of the card (the GPU has low overclockability or the cooler’s base didn’t have proper contact with the GPU die), but you shouldn’t forget that the Foxconn FV-N79GM2D2-HPOC is already overclocked by the manufacturer, so its overclockability is lowered initially.