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Noise and 2D Quality

We measured the level of noise produced by the XFX GeForce 7600 GT XXX Edition with the help of a digital sound-level meter Velleman DVM1326. This instrument has a resolution of 0.1dB and allows measuring noise level in a range up to 130dB with A or C weighting.

The background noise level was 36dBA in our lab when we were conducting the measurements. The level of noise was 40dBA at a distance of 1 meter from the test platform in which a graphics card with passive cooling was installed. These are the reference numbers we’ll base our judgments upon.

So, here are the results of this test:

The XFX card is equipped with the reference cooler, so the data shown above is true for all brands of the GeForce 7600 GT, except for those versions of the card that come with non-standard cooling systems. It’s obvious that the GeForce 7600 GT is free from the drawback of its senior brother GeForce 7900 GT – we mean it has fan speed management circuitry which changes the speed depending on the mode the card works in.

The level of noise is only 42.5dBA in the 2D mode, which is a very good result. This is confirmed subjectively – you can barely hear the sound of the card against the background noise from the rest of components of a working computer. The difference from the GeForce 7900 GT is a considerable 3.7dBA. In the 3D mode the cooler automatically speeds up and its sound intensity grows up to 48dBA. This is 1.8dBA higher than with the GeForce 7900 GT and may indicate a higher rotational speed of the fan. In this mode the graphics card’s noise is clearly discernable, but not that irritating as the sound of the Radeon X1900 XT’s cooler which has a particular “plastic” note in its spectrum.

Generally speaking, we think the GeForce 7600 GT is somewhat worse in comparison with the Radeon X1800 GTO/XL in its noise characteristics, but this is not an insurmountable problem since the card has a fan speed management system. The system can be set up as desired with the help of RivaTuner, but you should be careful not to slow the fan too much or the card may overheat.

We have no complaints about the image quality the XFX GeForce 7600 GT XXX Edition provides in 2D applications. The card yielded a sharp picture without any shadowing or fuzziness in all display modes, including 1600x1200@85Hz and 1800x1440@75Hz. We’d like to note that the quality of a graphics card’s analog output is not as important nowadays as it used to be. LCD monitors with a DVI input are currently widespread and provide an immaculate 2D image quality due to the digital nature of this interface. We probably won’t check the 2D image quality in our future reviews just because it doesn’t make much sense now.

 
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