We'll now show you some tests we have done on overall power consumption of the PC. Looking at it from a performance versus wattage point of view the power consumption is not as bad as I expected it to be. The card according to NVIDIA has a TDP of ~105 Watts.
Our test system contains a Core 2 Duo X6800 Extreme Processor, the nForce 680i mainboard, a passive water-cooling solution on the CPU, DVD-rom and WD Raptor drive.
GeForce GT 512 MB
Galaxy GT 512 MB
The methodology is simple: we look at the peak wattage during a 3DMark05 session to verify power consumption. You are not looking at the power consumption of the graphics card, but the consumption of the entire PC. We had a total system wattage peak at roughly 280 Watts with the 8800 GT card installed, which is not excessive at all.
So here's my power supply recommendation:
A single GeForce 8800 GT requires you to have a 450 Watt power supply unit at minimum if you use it in a high-end system. That power supply needs to have (in total) at least 26 Amps available on the 12 volts rails.
A second GeForce 8800 GT installed on this system requires you to have a 500 Watt power supply unit at minimum if you use it in a high-end system. That power supply needs to have (in total) at least 36 Amps available on the 12 volts rails.
There are many good PSU's out there, please do have a look at our far too many PSU reviews as we have loads of recommended PSU's for you to check out in there. What would happen if your PSU can't cope with the load?:
bad 3D performance
spontaneous reset or imminent shutdown of the PC
freezes during gameplay
PSU overload can cause it to break down
Noise Levels coming from the graphics card
When graphics cards produce a lot of heat, usually that heat needs to be transported away from the hot core as fast as possible. Often you'll see massive active fan solutions that can indeed get rid of the heat, yet all the fans these days make the PC a noisy son of a gun. I'm doing a little try out today with noise monitoring, so basically the test we do is extremely subjective. We bought a certified dBA meter and will start measuring how many dBA originate from the PC. Why is this subjective you ask? Well, there is always noise in the background, from the streets, from the HD, PSU fan etc etc, so this is by a mile or two not a precise measurement. You could only achieve objective measurement in a sound test chamber.
The human hearing system has different sensitivities at different frequencies. This means that the perception of noise is not at all equal at every frequency. Noise with significant measured levels (in dB) at high or low frequencies will not be as annoying as it would be when its energy is concentrated in the middle frequencies. In other words, the measured noise levels in dB will not reflect the actual human perception of the loudness of the noise. That's why we measure the dBa level. A specific circuit is added to the sound level meter to correct its reading in regard to this concept. This reading is the noise level in dBA. The letter A is added to indicate the correction that was made in the measurement. Frequencies below 1kHz and above 6kHz are attenuated, where as frequencies between 1kHz and 6kHz are amplified by the A weighting.
TYPICAL SOUND LEVELS
Jet takeoff (200 feet)
Shout (5 feet)
Heavy truck (50 feet)
Normal conversation (3 feet)
Bedroom at night
With the final cooler implemented we again did our sound checks. now, honestly I can't tell the difference between the old and new model cooler physically, yet it surely is better.
The "early" version of the cooler that we tested (read introduction) was rated at an astounding 53 dBA which is to be considered a seriously moderate noise level coming from the PC. Apparently the product we received back then has a design flaw in the cooler making the fan rotate 100% at 3000 RPM. It's a horrible sound level.
On the new model the RPM regulation works fine though. At default you'll get 43 DBa originating from the system. it's still a bit noisy, but far better then the original model. Since we received the Xtreme Tuner version of the card we where also able the regulate a moderate and high RPM level after which noise levels increased to 48 and 50 DBa respectively.
Suffice to say, you'll leave the card at the lowest possible setting ; you'll have great cooling and an okay noise level at 43 DBa.
Galaxy's new product will be delivered with new Xtreme Tuner software. Basically it allows full control over the fan speed, clock frequencies of the memory, core & shader domain. Also the new products have a second BIOS implemented. With some 3rd party software you can customize your BIOS and with this software you can flash it in that second BIOS. If your BIOS fails after flashing you can easily return to the primary BIOS and always boot back into windows. Pretty funky. This is also the application where we set the fan speeds of course.
With Xtreme Tuner you can manage interesting stuff, yet still is far from perfect. More on that in an article to be released next week though.
GeForce 8800 GT core temperature
Let's have a look at the temperatures these single slot design coolers produce. As always we measured at a room temperature of 21-22 Degrees C.
The new model cooler is set standard at low RPM, I strongly suggest you leave it at that setting as cooling is really good. Expect temperature of 45-48 Degrees C when the GPU idles (desktop mode) and during gaming heavily stressed the GPU core temperature rose towards 61 Degrees C. That's really good, but let's have a look what the product actually looks like.
KFA2 Galaxy GTX 550 Ti LTD OC WHITE review In this review we'll have a peek at the warmongers from KFA2 (Galaxy), they unleash this cute little beastly looking GTX 550 Ti LTD OC White edition graphics card. And to make it even more special, they slapped all components on a sexy white PCB again. Armed with that atypical looking cooler you'll learn that this product makes no compromises, you will not hear it, it will not run hot and it even comes factory clocked at a full GHz, quite amazing as GPUs seem to slowly pass that weird 1 GHz threshold.
Galaxy GeForce 9800 GT 1024MB review | test We test a product from the guys at Galaxy, and that means customization and extra features, all for a fair price. Custom PCB, custom cooling, custom bracket, HDMI output, black DVI+backplate heck it even packs 1024MB of memory to play around with for roughly the same money as a 512MB model. All fairly impressive really.
Galaxy GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB review Galaxy GeForce 9800GTX PLUS test - Galaxy recently released this product, custom PCB, custom cooling, custom bracket, HDMI output, black DVI and backplate. I sometimes wonder why a small company consistently can push out striking products like that and the bigger AIBs mainly focus on the reference design.
Galaxy Geforce 8800 GT HDMI w/ Xtreme Tuner Our initial review of this product was taken offline as we received an early version of the product. This early version had a "beta" cooler on it that made a truck-load of noise. Galaxy claimed to have a new cooler ready and asked if if we could revise the review based on the new and final cooler. And therefore we have updated this initial article to revision 2; based on new facts with the final cooling solution implemented. And it sure is a lot better.