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Power Consumption, Noise, Temperature

Although the PowerColor PCS HD4670 uses a nonstandard PCB, its power consumption can hardly differ much from that of the reference card. So, the results below can be applied to the reference card as well. We measured the card’s power consumption on the following testbed:

  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 CPU (2.6GHz)
  • EPoX EP9-NPA+ SLI mainboard (Nvidia nForce4 SLI)
  • PC3200 SDRAM (2x512MB, 200MHz)
  • Western Digital Raptor WD360ADFD HDD (36GB, SATA-150, 16MB buffer)
  • Chieftec ATX-410-212 PSU (410W)
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
  • Futuremark PCMark05 Build 1.2.0
  • Futuremark 3DMark06 Build 1.1.0

The 3D load was created by means of the first SM3.0/HDR test from 3DMark06 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. This test is important as it simulates the user’s working with application windows whereas Windows Vista’s Aero interface uses 3D features. Here are the results:

The new card is indeed economical. Comparable to RV670-based solutions in its capabilities, the PowerColor PCS HD4670 needs less than 50W of power under load. And it sets a new record in idle mode, requiring less than 10 watts then! This makes the card an ideal choice for compact systems that often have cooling-related problems due to poor ventilation.

We measured the card’s noise 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 described card comes with a nonstandard cooler, so the reference Radeon HD 4670, which comes with a different cooler, may have different results in this test.

The PowerColor card is nearly silent according to the noise level meter as well as to our own ears. The fan speed is constant but the cooling efficiency is high. The PCS abbreviation in the card’s name is justifiable as the GPU temperature, reported by ATI CCC and CPU-Z, is only 29-30°C in idle mode and 45-46°C under load. That’s an excellent result that makes the PowerColor PCS HD4670 suitable for quiet compact systems, particularly for HTPCs, especially as the superb electrical and thermal parameters of this card are accompanied with advanced multimedia capabilities.

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