Temperature, Noise And Power Benchmarks
We begin with a look at the ITX Compact's cooling performance. Does it suffer a penalty at the hand of less cooling fin surface area?
Apparently not. Even under a Battlefield 4 torture test for 10 minutes at the Ultra preset, AMD's GPU doesn't reach 70 degrees. Asus' full-sized Strix R9 285 actually got warmer, although XFX's R9 285 Black Edition card is the coolest of the bunch, topping out at around 60 degrees.
Regardless, Sapphire's cooler is up to the task of keeping the ITX Compact's GPU running stably at an acceptable temperature. But what about the noise generated in the process?
In order to focus on the graphics card's acoustic output, we stop all of the system's fans during our measurement. We also sample the noise two inches from the card's output bezel.
The chart about starts at 30 dB, which is the practical floor for what a human might consider silence. Sapphire's ITX Compact card technically registers the worst result, though at mere 2" from the card, you're looking at a conservative reading. It's almost completely silent at a normal distance from the system. Asus' Strix takes a win, though by a very small margin.
Finally, let's see if the Sapphire card's single 8-pin power input is disadvantaged in any way compared to the competition with two 6-pin inputs:
We begin this chart at 80W, which is the approximate power draw of the system at idle minus the graphics card. Interestingly, Sapphire's ITX Compact draws the most power in this test under load by a 10W margin, yet it has the lowest idle power draw. Clearly, this product doesn't suffer a penalty thanks to its unique power input. It is odd to see it pull more than the other samples, though, especially considering that it offers the lowest factory overclock.