Noise And Fan Speed
We first measure each graphics card's noise level in different workloads using the same studio microphone and calibration seen in our audio reviews. The microphone is positioned perpendicular to the middle of the graphics card at a distance of 50 cm.
|Radeon R9 290||Idle||Gaming, Open-Air Bench||Gaming, Closed Case|
|Sapphire Tri-X OC R9 290||31.4 dB(A)||39.4 dB(A)||40.5 dB(A)|
|Gigabyte GV-R929OC-4GD R9 290 Windforce OC||30.9 dB(A)||39.5 dB(A)||42.7 dB(A)|
|Radeon R9 290 Reference + Arctic Accelero Extreme III||37.8 dB(A)||37.8 dB(A)||37.8 dB(A)|
|Radeon R9 290 Reference + NZXT Kraken G10 + X40||34.2 dB(A)||37.2 dB(A)||---|
|Radeon R9 290X||Idle||Gaming, Open-Air Bench||Gaming, Closed Case|
|Asus R9290X-DC2OC-4GD5 R9 290X DirectCU II OC||32.5 dB(A)||42.3 dB(A)||44.3 dB(A)|
|Sapphire Tri-X OC R9 290X||32.1 dB(A)||40.9 dB(A)||42.8 dB(A)|
|Gigabyte GV-R929XOC-4GD R9 290X Windforce OCPress Sample||30.9 dB(A)||41.5 dB(A)||43.6 dB(A)|
|Gigabyte GV-R929XOC-4GD-4GD R9 290X Windforce OCMass Production||30.9 dB(A)||39.6 dB(A)||43.2 dB(A)|
|HIS R9 290X IceQ X² Turbo||31.2 dB(A)||46.2 dB(A)||48.8 dB(A)|
|MSI R9 290X Gaming 4G||30.9 dB(A)||41.2 dB(A)||43.9 dB(A)|
The number, diameter, and rotational speed of the fans are mainly what determine the cooler's noise level. We present the RPM curves for each graphics card separately; we tried, and putting them into one graph is too cluttered.
Both of the models that we modded up (using Arctic's Accelero and NZXT's Kraken) were not measured. Their numbers are not comparable.
Coupled with other recent reviews, Sapphire's Tri-X OC series looks to be great cards, especially when you make a custom fan curve to further reduce idle and load noise.
I can not wait to see the 20nm updates, especially if AMD gets around to pulling a Titan with their reference coolers!