Temperature & Noise Results
Temperature And Clock Frequency
We measured temperatures and clock rates under real-world conditions, inside a Nanoxia Deep Silence 5 chassis, just as we did for our GeForce GTX 1080 launch article.
The temperatures during the gaming loop and stress test were similar, which is hardly surprising. There’s only a 4W power consumption difference between the two, and the fan does its best to keep the card’s temperatures from climbing too high.
After adding frequencies to the mix, we find that the Radeon RX 480 is more stable than Nvidia’s Pascal-based cards. Clock rate still changes based on scene being rendered, but PowerTune doesn’t react as quickly as GPU Boost 3.0. AMD’s approach is different.
For more information, check out Measurement Science: Taking Accurate IR Thermal Readings.
In spite of the AMD's crowded PCA, the voltage converters are far enough away from the GPU and its package that they don't have a thermal impact on the processor. One of the memory modules is directly between the voltage converters and GPU, though. It does hit 88 degrees Celsius, which is slightly above its ceiling according to Samsung's technical specifications.
We’ve documented how the card heats up in a time-lapse video. The first 10 minutes are compressed into just two:
The picture barely changes during our stress test. This isn’t surprising due to the very similar power consumption numbers. The voltage converters do gain approximately 1 degree Celsius, but that's hardly worth mentioning.
We have a time-lapse video that’s played back at five times the original speed for this workload, too.
Fan RPM and Noise
Fan speed is directly related to the amount of waste heat that needs to be, literally, blown away. The faster the fan spins, the noisier the graphics card will be.
So, how does the Radeon RX 480 fare? As usual, we measured the noise level in our noise-dampened test chamber using a water-cooled system constructed for just this purpose.
The lower measurement limit is 22 dB(A) due to the near-silent system's hardware. Then again, we’ll never see (or hear) less than 22 dB(A) with an actively cooled graphics card like this one.
|Test System and Equipment|
|Microphone||NTI Audio M2211 (with Calibration File, Low Cut at 50Hz)|
|Amplifier||Steinberg UR12 (with Phantom Power for Microphones)|
|System||Graphics Card Test System with Optimized Water Cooling - Intel Core i7-5930K @ 4.2GHz, Water-Cooled - Crucial Ballistix Sport, 4x 4GB DDR4-2400 - MSI X99S XPower AC - 1x Crucial MX200, 500GB SSD (System) - 1x Corsair Force LS, 960GB SSD (Applications, Data) - be quiet! Dark Power Pro, 850W Power Supply Unit (PSU)|
|Water Cooling||- Alphacool VPP655 Pump (Undervolted) - Alphacool NexXxos CPU Cooler - Phobya Balancer - Alphacool 24cm Radiator - 2x 12cm Noiseblocker eLoop Fan @ 400 RPM|
|Measurement Chamber||Custom-Made Proprietary Measurement Chamber, 3.5 x 1.8 x 2.2m (LxDxH)|
|Measurement Position||Perpendicular to Center of Noise Source(s), Measurement Distance of 50cm|
|Measurement Data||- Noise Level in dB(A) (Slow), Real-time Frequency Analyzer (RTA) - Graphical Frequency Spectrum of Noise|
We take our first noise readings during the gaming loop, after the card reaches its maximum temperature.
At idle, we measure 31.0 dB(A). Seeing that this is only slightly above a typical living room's noise level, the result is pretty good. Unfortunately, the radial fan is a bit grumpy when it spins slowly, presenting a noise profile that emphasizes low frequencies.
Even though the 480's acoustic performance at idle sounds good based on our benchmark numbers, there's a risk that the card will turn your PC into a resonance chamber. This means that the Radeon RX 480 has the potential to be louder in a case than on an open test bench. This isn’t a huge problem, but a solid chassis is definitely the way to go. Cheap tin cans need not apply.
The Radeon RX 480 does really well under load. During our gaming loop, it’s no louder than Nvidia's reference GeForce GTX 1070. This is in spite of its higher power consumption, simpler cooling solution and more mainstream construction.
Finally, AMD gives us a reference card that doesn't sound like a hair dryer under heavy load. Well-done!
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