Installing the card into your system will be a pretty easy job. Just slide the card into a free PCIe slot, connect one 6-pin connector to the card. I do recommend you buy a decent stable PSU with some reserves, always.
Once the card is installed we startup Windows. We installed our driver, rebooted and that was it. The card will work straight out of the box. Just the way we like it.
It's time to do some actual testing with this card. We'll start off by showing you some tests we have done on overall power consumption of the PC, looking at it from a performance versus wattage point of view.
Our test system contains a Core 2 Duo E8400 processor @ 3.0 GHz (FSB 1333), the eVGA 680i SLI mainboard, stock cooling on the CPU, DVD-rom and a WD Raptor drive. The results:
GeForce 9800 GT 512MB iCHILL
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB 512MB
Radeon HD 4870 512MB
A fairly standard power supply will be more than sufficient for this graphics card. Any reasonable 500 Watt PSU and above will suffice. We test a lot of PSUs, check out some good ones over here.
The thermal envelope
Our Rivatuner application is a great one. We used it to monitor heat levels from the GPU.
Just look at the temperatures, that is great. The 9800 GT GPU has excellent thermals. Idling at 45 Degrees C is just amazing, and a peak of 65 degrees C... while being overclocked. That promises a lot for our manual overclocking session as well.
When graphics cards produce a lot of heat, that heat usually 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
Both in IDLE and active RPM states the fans are hardly noticeable. We measured roughly 39 dBA coming from the PC, which is close to nothing; despite the cooling solution having two ventilators, they are rotating at a low RPM. Pretty nice to be honest.
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