Fan Speed & Noise
To say that there's a fan curve is an overstatement. More accurately, the fan keeps on spinning at around 1600 RPM until we apply a load, after which it drops back down again. If you're wondering why MSI has the fan generate similar airflow at idle and under a 100% load, we simply do not know. What we can say, however, is that the company tells us it's working on a new BIOS version to improve this curve.
The fan speed readings under our stress test look similar, which is to say there's still not much of a curve. A minimum fan speed of 25 percent would result in a measurement of less than 1500 RPM. That's still way too high, but it'd certainly help make MSI's card quieter.
Of course, there's a price to pay for an unoptimized fan curve: poor acoustics. In this case, we observe a noise level of 36 dB(A). Although that doesn't sound like much, we're dealing with a small, low-power graphics card. In that context, MSI's RX 550 Aero ITX 2GB is much louder than it should be (or than an HTPC enthusiast would want). We're certainly glad to hear MSI is going back to work on the fan curve and make improvements.
In the end, MSI's RX 550 Aero ITX 2GB stays fairly cool, but has a problem maintaining its maximum clock rate. The firmware’s 50W power limit, which AMD imposes on its board partners is to blame. We think that's unfortunate, as a few additional watts of power consumption wouldn't have been a problem.
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