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Noise Level & Power Consumption

We performed our Radeon HD 2600 XT and Radeon HD 2400 XT power consumption tests on a special testbed configured like follows.

  • Intel Pentium 4 560 CPU (3.60GHz, 1MB L2);
  • Intel Desktop Board D925XCV mainboard (i925X);
  • PC-4300 DDR2 SDRAM (2x512MB);
  • Samsung SpinPoint SP1213C HDD (120GB, Serial ATA-150);
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit

The testbed’s mainboard is modified to have measuring shunts and connectors for instruments in the power lines of the PCI Express x16 slot. The measurements are performed with a Velleman DVM850BL multimeter (0.5% accuracy).

We loaded the GPU by launching the first SM3.0/HDR graphics test from 3DMark06 and running it in a loop at 1600x1200 resolution with 4x full-screen antialiasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. The Peak 2D load was created by means of the 2D Transparent Windows test from Futuremark’s PCMark05 benchmarking suite. Here are the results:

Earlier products from ATI Technologies did not boast low power consumption, and the new Radeon HD 2900 XT is something like a record-holder among single-chip graphics cards, but the Radeon HD 2600/2400 series is quite different thanks to the new tech process. Although the GPU of the Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR4 card incorporates as many as 390 million transistors, like the top-end solutions of the past, its peak consumption is only 48.6W, like that of the GeForce 8600 GTS. So, our apprehensions do not come true. The Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR4 would be an ideal choice for a multimedia system if it were not for its too large size.

The Radeon HD 2400 XT has an even more moderate appetite. Its peak consumption is as low as 19W. In fact, this card could do without a fan and is likely to be shipped with a passive cooler, which will make it appealing for those who value compactness and silence.

The new graphics cards from AMD do not have an additional power connector, so it is the +12V line of the PCI Express slot that has the biggest load. The load on the +3.3V line is everywhere the same, about 1.6W.

In order to determine noise level of ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR4 graphics card, we measured the level of noise produced using 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:

As it could be expected, the reference ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics board is relatively quiet and is not louder compared to ATI Radeon X1950 Pro. We could not hear the board distinctively inside our testbed featuring Enermax 1kW power supply unit and Scythe Ninja processor cooling system. Hence, it would hardly add a lot of noise to a mainstream personal computer.

 
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