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Heat and noise output are controlled not just by the GPU voltage and clock, but by the cooler design. Asus surprised us by having the lowest temperature, since the card was also relatively quiet. Sapphire takes second place when its fan is turned to max speed.
Quiet coolers are often sub-par when dealing with heat, but Asus proved the contrary with its DirectCU design. The chart below is not perfectly accurate, since some background noise was unavoidable.
Sapphire has the noisiest card. But looking beyond the card itself, there is an advantage to its noisier, blower-type fan. That advantage is case cooling, since the Sapphire Toxic 6850 is the only card in today’s comparison to vent most of its heat outside of the case. We’ve previously seen the consequences of using internally-vented cards in an extreme CPU configuration.
Following a similar method to that of our previous-page’s energy efficiency calculations, we compared temperature to noise for today’s cards. Note that the temperature division is “flipped over” in this case to give the lowest temperature the highest score, and that the “acoustic efficiency” chart does not account for performance differences.