Articles: Graphics

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Noise, Power Consumption, Overclockability

We measured the level of noise produced by the PowerColor 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 the working testbed with a passively cooled graphics card inside was 43dBA. We got the following results:

The fan is rotating at a constant speed irrespective of the operation mode, and the speed is high enough for it to produce some noise. It sounds like a quiet hiss, which is barely audible within our testbed. But if installed into a multimedia system with a noiseless PSU and a low-noise CPU cooler, the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro is likely to be heard distinctly. So if you are building such a system and want to use this card in it, we recommend replacing its cooler with something less noisy.

Besides noise, we measured the power consumption of the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro 512MB using a special testbed with a modified Intel Desktop Board D925XCV equipped with measuring shunts. In 3D mode the cards were loaded by the first SM3.0/HDR test from the 3DMark06 suite running in a loop at 1600x1200 with 4x FSAA and 16x AF. The Peak 2D mode was emulated by means of the 2D Transparent Windows test from PCMark05. We got the following results:

So, the peak consumption of the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro 512MB DDR2 is barely higher than 30W, which is very low. The card’s +12V line was loaded the most in every operation mode; the load on the +3.3V line was constant at 1.62-1.63W.

It’s clear there will be no power-related problems with any version of Radeon HD 2600 Pro. Such cards are very economical, being a perfect choice for compact multimedia systems with low-wattage power supplies.

The PowerColor HD 2600 Pro 512MB showed ambiguous overclockability, just like the ASUS EAH2600PRO had done before. Its GPU could easily work at 660MHz, the highest frequency you can set with the Catalyst driver, but its 2.5ns memory refused to run at a frequency higher than its default 400 (800) MHz. We couldn’t increase its clock rate even by 50MHz without the card hanging up during the tests, so we decided not to perform the full cycle of tests over the overclocked card.

Perhaps some other sample of the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro 512MB can be made to work at higher frequencies, but the slow memory has low overclockability to start with.

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