Cooling & Noise
Cooling System & Backplate
The GPU power supply's eight converter circuits are connected to 24 MOSFETs, which are covered by a passive cooler that should be cooled by airflow from the fans above. While this specific approach failed on the GeForce GTX 1080, it works surprisingly well this time around. The reason why has to do with airflow, as we'll soon see.
|Cooling System Overview|
|Heat Sink||Copper CPU heat sinkMemory cooling (modules, voltage converters), via mounting frame on sink|
|Cooling Fins||Aluminum, vertical orientationNarrow configuration|
|Heat Pipes||4x 8mm and 2x 6mmCopper composite material|
|VRM Cooling||GPU-VRM via small, passive finned heat sinkMemory VRM indirectly via the cooling frame|
|RAM Cooling||Via mounting frame, and indirect cooling via heat sink|
|Fans||3x 9.2cm fan module (8.7cm rotor diameter)Nine rotor blades eachFixed minimum speed (39%)No semi-passive control|
|Backplate||AluminumNo cooling function; foil on the insideRGB effects|
Zotac went with a massive copper sink for cooling Nvidia's GPU. Four 8mm and two 6mm heat pipes made from a copper composite material dissipate heat evenly into the large array of aluminum fins. Meanwhile, a large aluminum base plate helps cool the memory modules and their two voltage converter phases.
Fan Speeds and Noise
Zotac's fan curve doesn't strike us as optimized. Instead of a semi-passive fan mode, which didn't quite work for the GTX 1080 AMP Extreme, this card relies on too-high of a minimum fan speed. At 39% duty cycle, it's even higher than the GTX 1080's 1250 RPM measured under full load in a closed case.
We asked Zotac for a statement clarifying the behavior of its fan curve and received the following explanation:
"The 39% minimum was a requirement from Nvidia...The card doesn't support a semi-passive mode because we did not have enough time to implement the new version of Fan Stop. So, rather than using the original version of Fan Stop, which did not work as well, we decided to remove it."
This means we have to hope and wait for an improved firmware that works well enough to get Nvidia's approval.
Our stress test doesn't change anything; despite this card's three capable fans, it's clearly audible. The RPM reading changes little even after the temperature readings stabilize under load. Unfortunately, Zotac's implementation is far from ideal.
Obviously, the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti AMP Extreme should allow for lower fan speeds at idle, keeping it a little quieter.
|Fan Speed and Noise Output|
|Fan Speed (Open Test Bench, Maximum)||1282 RPM|
|Fan Speed (Open Test Bench, Average)||1274 RPM|
|Fan Speed (Closed Case, Maximum)||1296 RPM|
|Fan Speed (Closed Case, Average)||1282 RPM|
|Noise (Air Cooling, Maximum)||40.1 dB(A)|
|Noise (Air Cooling, Average)||39.7 dB(A)|
|Noise (Air Cooling, Idle)||39.2 dB(A)|
|Acoustic Characteristics||Almost no low-frequency bearing noiseSlightly audible motor noise <1 HzAudible air/tearing noiseSlight voltage converter noise|
This snapshot illustrates the entire frequency range of our laboratory measurements, adding some data to our subjective observations.
Almost 40 dB(A) at idle isn't good at all, calling Zotac's execution into question. Perhaps the company didn't consider it a priority to properly finish up with GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, believing the card wouldn't be particularly popular?
MORE: Best Graphics Cards
MORE: All Graphics Content