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Testbed and Methods

I tested the Sapphire RADEON X800 XT graphics card with the ZM80D-HP cooling system from Zalman in an Ascott 6AR system case that has two low-speed 120mm fans (one is taking air in, the other – out).

The testbed was configured as follows:

  • Intel Pentium 4 2800MHz CPU;
  • 2x512MB TwinMOS PC3200 DDR SDRAM;
  • ASUS P4P800 mainboard;
  • Windows XP Pro SP2, Catalyst 4.9, 3DMark05.

There were two test modes: Idle (no running applications; Windows’ Desktop onscreen) and Burn (3DMark05’s gaming tests were looped in 1024x768 resolution, with 4x full-screen antialiasing and 16x anisotropic filtering).

The temperature data were measured after an hour and a half of the system’s being in each of the test modes. To read the temperature of the GPU (“Core”) and the surface of the graphics card’s PCB (“Ambient”) I used RivaTuner. This utility can read data from the thermodes of the RADEON X800 XT, one of which is located in the GPU die and another is built into the monitoring chip found on the face side of the PCB near the GPU voltage regulator. I also measured the temperature of the graphics memory chips and of the air inside the system case using a Fluke54-II thermometer with its sensors (one of the sensors is shown in the photo below – it’s pressed to the surface of a memory chip):

The second sensor was placed one centimeter above the bottom of the system case.

 
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