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Noise and Power Consumption

We measured the level of noise produced by the graphics card’s cooler with a digital sound-level meter Velleman DVM1326 (0.1dB resolution) 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 40dBA. We got the following results:

So, the Radeon X1650 XT is by far not as loud as the Radeon X1600 XT is. Its fan is working at its max speed for only a few seconds after the system starts up. Then the fan speed is lowered and the noise subsides. This cooler can’t be said to work silently, yet it is a great improvement over the Radeon X1600 XT’s reference cooler. We could not make the card increase its fan speed even by long testing it in 3D applications, so 42.4dBA is the final result. This is much better than the results of the Radeon X1900 XT and GeForce 7900 GT. Subjectively, the Radeon X1650 XT is comfortable to deal with. Its noise is hardly distinguishable against the noise from other PC components.

The power consumption of the Radeon X1650 XT was measured according to our traditional method on the following testbed:

  • Intel Pentium 4 560 CPU (3.60GHz, 1MB L2);
  • Intel Desktop Board D925XCV;
  • PC-4300 DDR2 SDRAM (2x512MB);
  • Samsung SpinPoint SP1213C HDD (120GB Serial ATA-150, 8MB cache);
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2, DirectX 9.0c.

The mainboard in this testbed is modified: measuring shunts are connected inline into the power lines of the PCI Express x16 slot. The shunts have connectors for measuring instruments. The 2xMolex → PCI Express power adapter is also equipped with such a shunt. We perform our measurements with a Velleman DVM850BL multimeter that has a measurement accuracy of 0.5%.

To create a 3D load on the graphics card, we ran the first SM3.0/HDR test from Futuremark 3DMark06 in a loop at 1600x1200 resolution with 16x anisotropic filtering. A Peak 2D load was created by launching the 2D Transparent Windows test from Futuremark PCMark05. Here are the results:

Click to enlarge

Just as we had suspected, the Radeon X1650 XT breaks no records when it comes to power consumption under load. Its power draw in this mode is about 10.5W lower than that of the Radeon X1950 Pro, but much higher than that of the GeForce 7600 GT and 7600 GS and even of the GeForce 7900 GS. The +3.3V line is loaded hard as is typical of a lot of other Radeon-based graphics cards.

So, the use of 0.08-micron tech process didn’t help AMD reduce the power consumption and heat dissipation of its new products. They are still inferior to same-class Nvidia solutions in this parameter.

Let’s see if the Radeon X1650 XT is competitive in terms of performance it provides.


We tried to overclock our Radeon X1650 XT but failed. The latest version of RivaTuner (16.2) identified the card correctly, but the system would hang up as soon as we increased the memory frequency. And when we set a higher GPU frequency, RivaTuner’s monitoring module would report that the frequency was dropped to the default value on launching a 3D application.

So we abandoned all attempts to overclock our sample of the Radeon X1650 XT to return to this matter later. We’ll check the Radeon X1650 XT out at overclocking as soon as we get a retail version of this card.

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