Noise And Temperatures
Both AMD and Nvidia do an admirable job of keeping idle noise low, even from dual-GPU cards and dual-card arrays.
This is a result of idle temperatures that remain manageable.
I flipped back and forth trying to figure out which of the GeForce GTX 690’s two GPUs would get hotter, but the warmest processor only got up to 78 degrees under load. That’s particularly impressive considering a single GeForce GTX 680 peaks at 79 degrees, while two 680s in SLI push the inside card’s chip to 83 degrees.
Maintaining that modest temperature isn’t a problem for the GeForce GTX 690, either. True to Nvidia’s word, its flagship operates more quietly than a pair of GeForce GTX 680s in SLI (though it measured a little louder than a GeForce GTX 590).
The more meaningful victory is over a single Radeon HD 7970—not to mention the acoustic train wreck that is two. Fortunately for AMD, its board partners are abandoning its reference cooling design en masse. In Five Radeon HD 7970 3 GB Cards, Overclocked And Benchmarked, all four of the aftermarket-cooled models ended up quieter than the card with the noisy centrifugal blower (though Gigabyte’s three-fan implementation did get pretty loud under its maximum overclock).