Noise, Temperature, Overclockability
We measured the level of noise produced by the card with a digital sound-level meter Velleman DVM1326 using A-curve weighing. The level of ambient noise in our lab was 36dBA and the level of noise at a distance of 1 meter from the working testbed with a passively cooled graphics card inside was 43dBA. Here are the results:
The card’s cooler uses an unconventional way of controlling the speed of the cooler’s fan. The speed depends not only on the data from the thermode but also on the load on the command processors. As a result, the fan speed is being varied constantly and in a rather wide range under load, and the level of noise changes accordingly. The card is almost silent in 2D mode. It was hard but we tried to find the peak of noise, too. Most of it is produced by the air flowing through the heatsinks, which is perceived as quiet hiss. It is barely audible in a closed system case and is not irritating at all.
The MSI R3870X2-T2D1G OC has two graphics cores but the appropriate screen of the Catalyst Control Center displays the temperature of the first core only. It varies from 51 to 56°C in idle mode and grows up to 78°C in 3D applications.
We made an attempt to overclock our R3870X2-T2D1G OC using the standard options of the Catalyst Control Center, but it failed completely. The card wouldn’t be stable in 3D applications even at its default frequencies after 3-4 hours of testing. There were failures and the driver would enter the restore mode. We decided to stop our experiments with the card at that.