Benchmark Results: Temperature And Noise
We start with thermal testing to compare AMD's reference Radeon HD 7970 to Arctic's Accelero Xtreme III with EKWB's copper shim, Arctic's Accelero Xtreme 7970, and Deepcool's Dracula 7970.
The Dracula 7970 and Accelero Xtreme 7970 perform almost identically, posting excellent sub-60-degree results under load. When you consider the reference cooler approaches 80 degrees, the improvement is quite impressive.
As we might have expected, adding a shim between the heat sink and GPU takes a toll on efficiency, yielding a mere eight-degree improvement over AMD's vapor chamber, and trailing the Accelero Xtreme 7970 by 14 degrees.
All of the aftermarket coolers generate comparable acoustic results. This is something we would expect from the Dracula, since its power source doesn't change (hence, there is no fan ramp). Nevertheless, the three models perform well enough to shine a spotlight on the reference design's weakness: noise.
In contrast, we would have thought that Artic's cooler would have demonstrated more variable measurements. We are able to force a 100% duty cycle using AMD's driver, and we know it's possible to spin the Accelero's fans up because we can hear the difference. Thus, we can conclude that the fan profile on the Radeon HD 7970 doesn't impose significantly higher fan speeds until the GPU temperature rises above 68 degrees.
But, would be nice to see the coolers compared to some mainstream solutions. IE the HIS IceQ X2 or Sapphire Toxic, etc. etc.
btw nice article :D
This surely looks impressive (giant graphics card and oversize heat cooler), but is this "eye candy" for the technically inclined PC enthusiast really moving forward, or just another pile of copper pipes sold at a price established out of pure value perception? This article got me thinking... Are we unknowingly creating a market demand for cooling products that make little sense in the grand scheme of things, nor shows little technological advancement? Why do we get so excited when a graphics card becomes so hot during peak operation that it requires cooling beyond standard specification. In engineering terms, any system that transforms such a large amount of electrical energy into heat as a side effect would be considered inefficient. By creating a market for "aftermarket" cooling, we do not only show our tolerance for inefficiency, but also create a booming demand for lackluster "solutions".
this applys to all mid-high end nvidia/ati(amd) video cards
That's how you transfer heat from the shim to the unmodified Accelero III. I wonder if JB Weld would work better...although that would permanently attach the shim to the Accelero III.
The value is in the noise reduction at load. These processors run hot because they are doing a great deal of work pushing electrons around. Consider that incandescent bulbs work the same way - the friction causes the filament to get so hot that it glows. If you don't want a thermally hot/power hungry card for philosophical reasons, then don't buy one.
I imagine that "Dracula" is intended to connote sucking the heat away from the 79xx. The fact that these tests show that they are relatively inefficient at doing so makes for a humorous double entendre, like your handle.
Unless you don't like not burning the GPU, pretty much. You might get away without it, but temps would be far higher. Maybe if you really lapped the cooler and shim you could get away with it, but I'd doubt that using no thermal paste at all would be a good idea even in that situation.