It's time to do some actual testing with these cards. 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, the power consumption is really good with the new 55nm products. Our single card test system is a Core 2 Duo X6800 Extreme Processor, the nForce 680i SLI mainboard, a passive watercooling solution on the CPU, 2GB memory, DVD-ROM and WD Raptor drive. Have a look:
System Under load
HD 2900 XT
Radeon HD 3850
Radeon HD 4850 Force3D
XFX GeForce 9800 GTX BE
Observe closely the difference between the GTX Black Edition and new 4850. Both quite energy efficient yet AMD seems to have the stronger product power wise. Performance is on par with any modern mid-range graphics card. Our system IDLE power consumption was roughly 170 Watts, by the way.
In my view the card series require you to have a 500 Watt power supply unit at minimum if you use it in a high-end system, and I think that's barely on the safe side. Also recommended is 32 AMP's on the 12 volts rails for stable power distribution (on a single card configuration). Notice that the card uses one 6-pin power connector.
There are many good PSU's available, over the years we reviewed a lot of them and have loads of recommended PSU's for you to check out in there, have a look. Things that can 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
The thermal envelope
Let's have a look at the temperatures these cards produce. We measured at a room temperature of 21-22 Degrees C. We then look at the idle temperature and then load the GPU 100% for a couple of minutes and measure the temperature once a second and follow the temperature delta.
The XFX Black edition as a dual slot product will show pretty decent temperatures due to the nature of the cooler. Temperatures, idle 60 degrees C with a ~75 degrees C peak temperature.
Though, always make sure you have a very well ventilated PC.
Noise Levels coming from the graphics card
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
We start up a benchmark and leave it running for a while. The fan rotational speed remains constant. We take the dBA meter, move away 75 CM and then aim the device at the active fan on the graphics card.
Though audible when it spins up as the GPU will get hotter, it's noise levels are not bad. Expect roughly 42-44 DBa when the GPU is fully stressed.
XFX GeForce 9800 GTX Black Edition review A review on the XFX Black edition GeForce 9800 GTX, after reading some of you guys will probably will run to the store .. as the XFX XXX and Black editions obviously have fallen in price after AMDs Radeon 4850 launch.
XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 Black edition review King of pre-overclocked products has to be XFX, their speed-bin of releasing OCed products is exceedingly fast. I do not think that there is an XFX product out there that is not available as a triple X edition or other series name slapped on top of it. Today will be no different, we received XFXes top of the shelf product, the GeForce 9800 GX2, the cool thing is that this is the new mystified named 'Black edition' series of cards, meaning it comes with a nice pre-overclock and an lovely game bundle.
XFX GeForce 9600 GT XXX 512MB review A review on that XXX rated version of the GeForce 9600 GT. Hey, only XFX can implement such a name for you. XFX have a "way" of communication and getting attention. They quite honestly deliver really impressive products. Today's tested product is no different.
XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320 MB Fatal1ty review The Fata1ty Geforce 8800 GTS 320MB graphics card comes with it's GPU core pre-overclocked at 650 MHz and it's 320 MB memory clocked at (2x) 999 MHz. If that isn't rather radical, the Shader domain inside that graphics processor is clocked at a lovely 1620 MHz. Now if that does mean jack to you, these are the reference specs a 320 model normally has: 500 MHz core, 2x 800 MHz memory and a shader domain clock of 1200 MHz. Can you already sniff the performance increase ? That's like bacon on your eggs man.