Our Nvidia card didn’t require manual underclocking since it automatically reduces its clock speeds in 2D mode, dropping the memory frequency as low as 100 MHz. The AirForce panel offers several profiles that can also be used for 2D. The Game mode, on the other hand, is reserved explicitly for overclocking purposes, meaning that this profile’s power consumption always stays at a high level, since the clock speeds don’t get dropped at all.
If you know you won’t be needing any graphics performance, you should switch to Power Save mode. Either way, the clock speeds are low enough to not really have much of an effect on the thermal output of MSI’s GTX 260 Lightning. Since the five heatpipes and two fans are barely being taxed in 2D mode, fan speed and noise level remain constant, with the card’s temperature fluctuating only minimally.
Things are a little different in 3D mode, and power consumption climbs by 17 Watts when the card is overclocked to its limit. MSI has designed its fan speed profile for maximum effectiveness at overclocked speeds. With the frequencies (and the voltage) cranked up, the twin fans go all-out, spinning as fast as they can. As a result, the card’s temperature drops even lower than before at the cost of a much higher noise level reaching 53.4 dB(A). If you can make do with slightly lower clock speeds and forego voltage tweaking completely, the fan reverts to a much more bearably 44.3 dB(A).
- CPUs Have More Headroom
- Keeping Cool (Enough)
- Graphics Chips And Our Test Setup
- MSI’s D.O.T.-Enabled Driver
- Overclocking The ATI Card Via D.O.T.
- Benchmarks: ATI And D.O.T.
- Overclocking Using RivaTuner And Tray Tools
- Benchmarks: ATI And Catalyst 9.6
- Overclocking: Nvidia And D.O.T.
- Benchmarks: Nvidia And D.O.T.
- Overclocking: Nvidia With CoreCenter And AirForce
- Benchmarks: Nvidia And GeForce 186.18
- RivaTuner And Precision
- Effects Of Overclocking: ATI
- Effects Of Overclocking: Nvidia
- Overall Performance
- Performance Per Watt
- 3D Performance (Sorted By Anti-Aliasing)
- Conclusion: It’s A Tie