Graphics cards 1021 Page 6 of 20 Published by


Setup | Noise | Power consumption | Heat levels


Hardware installation

Installation of the product is really easy but you need a proper PSU alright. Oh and sure, a full ATX design chassis as this is one big puppy, you'll need some room to work in. Once the card is installed and seated into the PC we now connect the 6-pin power connector to the graphics card and then another two (!) 8-pin PEG PCIe headers. So do make sure your power supply is compatible, preferably with two 6-pin power PEG and two 8-pin PEG power header directly from the power supply. Typically Kilowatt PSUs have these standard.

You can now turn on your PC, boot into Windows, install the latest ATI Catalyst driver and after a reboot all should be working. No further configuration is required or needed.

Energy consumption

Lets have a look at how much power draw we measure with this graphics card installed.

The methodology we apply: We have a device constantly monitoring the power draw from the PC. We simply stress the GPU, not the processor. The before and after wattage will tell us roughly how much power a graphics card is consuming under load.

Our test system is based on a power hungry Core i7 965 / X58 based. This setup is overclocked to 3.75 GHz. Next to that we have energy saving functions disabled for this motherboard and processor (to ensure consistent benchmark results). On average we are using roughly 50 to 100 Watts more than a standard PC due to higher CPU clock settings, water-cooling, additional cold cathode lights etc.
Keep that in mind. Our normal system power consumption is higher than your average system.

The card:

  1. Advertised TDP = 349W
  2. System in IDLE = 191W
  3. System Wattage with GPU in FULL Stress = 499W
  4. Difference (GPU load) = 308 W
  5. Add average IDLE wattage ~ 44W
  6. Subjective obtained GPU power consumption = ~ 352 Watt

Mind you that the System Wattage is measured from the wall socket and is for the entire PC. Now the 499 Watt is without the CPU stressed. Assuming you have say a Core i7 Quad Core processor overclocked as we have, then add another 200 Watt if that processor would be under massive load together with the GPUs as well. So playing a hefty modern game 600 to 700 Watt is a sincere reality.

So here's our power supply recommendation:


  • The card requires you to have a 800 Watt power supply unit at minimum if you use a fairly mid-range to high-end system.

ASUS ARES (dual GPU) (dual cards) Crossfire

  • A second card requires you to add another ~350 Watts. You need a 1200+ Watt power supply unit, period.

There are many good PSUs out there, please do have a look at our many PSU reviews as we have loads of recommended PSUs for you to check out in there. What would happen if your PSU can't cope with the load?:

  • bad 3D performance
  • crashing games
  • spontaneous reset or imminent shutdown of the  PC
  • freezing during gameplay
  • PSU overload can cause it to break down

The core temperature

Let's have a look at the temperatures this custom cooler offers.


We now fire off a hefty shader application at the GPU and start monitoring temperature behavior as it would be when you are gaming very intensely and continuously, we literally stress the GPU 100% -- which is actually more then your GPU would do with your average game.

We measured at a room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. Now we report at two stages the GPU(s) in IDLE and under stress. Here's what we get returned:

ASUS ARES 40c 67c


Graphics card (reference) Load TEMP C
GeForce GT 240 512MB 47
Radeon HD 5570 1024MB 60
HIS 5850 iCooler Turbo 61
GBT R5870 SOC 68
Radeon HD 5670 512MB 70
GeForce GTS 250 1GB 72
Radeon HD 5750 1024MB 73
Radeon HD 5870 1024MB 75
Radeon HD 5850 1024MB 77
Radeon HD 5830 1024MB 78
GeForce GTX 465 1024MB 79
eVGA SC GTX 465 1024MB 81
GeForce GTX 275 896MB 82
Radeon HD 5970 2048MB 83
GeForce GTX 285  83
GeForce GTX 260 SP216 84
GeForce GTX 480 nw BIOS 88
GeForce GTX 470 94
GeForce GTX 480 reference 95

As you can see we get very respectable temperatures returned.. When the card is clocked down we see a temperature of give or take 40 degrees C. And when we completely stress out the GPU 100% for a while, temperatures rise towards roughly 65-70 degrees C (168 F), that's excellent and leaves enough room for overclocking.

But is the cooler very loud then?

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.

Jet takeoff (200 feet) 120 dBA  
Construction Site 110 dBA  Intolerable
Shout (5 feet) 100 dBA  
Heavy truck (50 feet)  90 dBA  Very noisy
Urban street  80 dBA  
Automobile interior  70 dBA  Noisy
Normal conversation (3 feet)  60 dBA  
Office, classroom  50 dBA  Moderate
Living room  40 dBA  
Bedroom at night  30 dBA  Quiet
Broadcast studio  20 dBA  
Rustling leaves  10 dBA  Barely audible


Noise Level


GeForce GTX 465 MSI Twin Frozr II 37Radeon HD 5670 512MB 40Radeon HD 5770 1024MB 41GeForce GTX 275 41Radeon HD 5830 1024MB 42GeForce GTX 465 42eVGA SC GeForce GTX 465 42GeForce GTS 250 42Radeon 5870 42GeForce GTX 285  43Radeon HD 5970 2048MB 44GeForce GTX 470 46GeForce GTX 480 47ASUS ARES 52

The noise levels coming from the card are very high and loud, in idle the card will remain nicely quiet at  36 DBa, barely even hearable really.

But once the two GPUs start to really heat up, the fan RPM will rise upwards fast. The card then reaches roughly 52 DBa measured at that 75cm distance. This is a big negative alright as a product of this caliber with this price tag should not require that much brute force fan activity at all. Loud, really loud.

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