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The following videos demonstrate what the acoustic measurements on the previous page sound like in the real world. We’ve ordered them by fan speed and load.
At idle and with a room temperature of 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit), the fan speed is at 20 percent of its maximum, resulting in a nice 30.9 dB(A). That sounds fine, but you probably won't ever see it in practice since it can only be achieved without Lethal Boost and in a room with a fairly low temperature.
Thirty percent is more realistic. This is possible with Lethal Boost enabled, so long as you don't overclock manually. In that case, the Toxic HD 7970 GHz Edition goes all the way to 40 percent or so (and about 40.6 dB[A]) after 30 minutes.
The fans run at a full 50 percent duty cycle under simple 3D applications like Google Earth with Lethal Boost enabled. Down-clocked to 1100 MHz, the fans only slow to 45 percent or so; they also operate above 50 percent (at 46.8–49.2 dB[A]) during Metro 2033 benchmarking.
At a fixed 1201 MHz GPU clock rate and 65- to 67-percent fan speeds, we've finally caught up with the noise generated by AMD's reference design. Acoustics are now definitely a problem, more so because the aggressive fan profile isn't even really needed.
Bitmining takes the Toxic HD 7970 GHz Edition 6 GB’s noise from obnoxious to flagrant at a 73-percent duty cycle, which generates about 57.5 dB(A).
Just when we thought that it couldn’t get any worse, Sapphire's Toxic HD 7970 GHz Edition passes the 60 dB(A) barrier under full load. On the bright side, the card's cooling performance is exceptional. Still, we're not sure a graphics card needs to run cooler overclocked than at its factory clock rates.
Lethal Boost mode's fan profile is too aggressive, and should be revised. The frequency spikes up and down are also counterproductive.