Noise and Overclocking
We measured the level of noise produced by the MSI card with a digital sound-level meter Velleman DVM1326 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 43dBA. We got the following results:
The cooler employed by MSI is somewhat quieter than the reference one, yet still not completely silent. Its noise spectrum contains a distinct note you can easily catch out of the noise from other system components. We guess it is just the sound of the air passing through the heatsink. It is not irritating and is completely lost when the system case is closed. The cooler’s fan is working at the same speed in every operation mode.
We couldn’t help trying to overclock the MSI card considering its overclocker-friendly cooler. We managed to increase the GPU frequency from the default 700MHz to 760MHz. This is 85MHz higher than the frequency of the reference card (675MHz). The frequency delta between the main GPU domain and the shader processor domain is about 2.071 on the MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-HD-OC, so the shader domain was clocked at 1757MHz after that. This is a considerable increase which should show up in gaming tests.
The memory subsystem was overclocked quite well considering its characteristics, from the default 1050 (2100) MHz to 1160 (2320) MHz. We achieved a good frequency growth and tested the card in that mode too to see how its performance was affected.