Noise and Overclocking
We measured the level of noise produced by the new reference cooler from Nvidia installed on the GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB with a digital sound-level meter Velleman DVM1326 using A-curve weighing. The ambient noise in our lab was at 36dBA and the noise level at a 1m distance from the working testbed with a passively cooled graphics card inside was 43dBA. Here are the numbers:
The new cooler is indeed a worthy successor to the coolers of GeForce 8800 GTX/GTS being absolutely silent in every operation mode. Although the fan speed is adjusted dynamically during work, it is never above 700-800rpm. The GPU temperature is 82-85°C in 3D mode, and in idle mode it doesn’t go beyond 60ºC. That’s not high considering the low fan rotation speed so you shouldn’t worry, especially as the hot air is exhausted out of the system case.
Our overclocking attempt bore very good results: we managed to raise the graphics chip frequency from 650MHz to 760MHz without losing graphics card stability. In this case the shader processor frequency increased to 1900MHz. it was possible mostly due to new cooling system. As for the memory, the results here were not as good: without any extreme overclocking methods such as volt-modding, for instance, we could only get to 1050 (2100) MHz maximum speed. As a result, we decided not to benchmark the card at overclocked speeds, because in low resolutions the possible performance gain from overclocking is not critical, while in high resolutions it will be limited by the memory frequency anyway.