Articles: Graphics

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Thermal Modes

The following diagram compares the tested GeForce GTX 670s in terms of temperature both at the default and overclocked settings.

It’s clear that the Zotac and Gigabyte are superior in this test. We should also keep it in mind that the Zotac has record-breaking default clock rates while its fans rotate at a lower speed in the automatic regulation mode (it doesn’t mean they are quieter, though). Palit’s cooler is less efficient but copes with its job well enough. Now let’s check out how much noise these cards produce.

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 670 into the next diagram for the sake of comparison (the vertical dotted lines indicate the top speed of the fans in automatic regulation mode):

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 Ultra Durable is the quietest card here. Our subjective impressions agree with the test results. It is only at 1700 to 1800 RPM that we could hear the beating of one of the impellers but that wasn’t a problem, especially as the card only had such fan speeds while switching from 2D to 3D mode. By the way, the Gigabyte is also the quietest card in 2D mode, followed by the Zotac GeForce GTX 670 AMP! Edition which, in its turn, is quieter than both the reference GeForce GTX 670 and the Palit card. The latter is the loudest in this test and its plastic casing would resonate at some fan speeds, generating additional noise. That’s why the noise level graph of that card is not smooth.

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