Fan Speed And Noise
The R9 280X gets left out again, since we want to focus on the reference design, rather than partner boards that’ll all perform dissimilarly.
Since fan speed is one of the primary determinants of noise level, this chart is worth a close examination.
The temperature curves on the previous page suggested what we’d see here. The R9 270X ramps up fan speed in a more granular way, smoothing out the thermal plateau. The R7 260X tries to hold a lower fan speed for longer before stepping up suddenly. That’s where you saw temperatures peak before dropping back down to the 80-degree range.
AMD tends to put its emphasis on partner boards, which it has embargoed for another couple of days. We still wanted to generate some noise data with the reference cards, though.
They both idle under 32 dB(A), and are practically inaudible. Under the load of our custom gaming loop, the R7 260X demonstrates a modest 44.3 dB(A), while the R9 270X at 47.3 dB(A) is notably noisier. We wouldn’t recommend the cooling solution on either reference card. But again, partner boards typically have their own heat sinks and fans that need to be evaluated independently.