Frequency, Temperature & Noise Results
GPU Boost Clock Rates & Voltages
Let’s first take a look at boost clock rates in our Doom benchmark. These are the frequencies that Asus' Strix RX 460 achieves after warming up. A stable 1256 MHz without any fluctuations is evidence of the factory-overclocked graphics card’s higher power limit. Our Sapphire Nitro Radeon RX 460 OC performs similarly, maintaining 1250 MHz. There should be ample room left for additional overclocking on both cards, especially in light of the relatively low GPU temperatures reported at the bottom of this page.
This changes dramatically under full load, where large fluctuations are observed. An additional 15W are enough to send the Strix RX 460 headlong into its power limit. The result is illustrated in the chart above.
The voltage curve looks similar. During our gaming loop, Asus' Strix RX 460 peaks at 1.14V (we calculated the average at 1.125V with minimal fluctuations). During the stress test, though, those fluctuations become much more significant. Once again, the culprit is the card’s power limit.
Asus cools Polaris 11 well. The Strix RX 460 posts 64°C during both the gaming loop and stress test, which increases to 66°C and 67°C, respectively, when we place the platform in a closed PC case. There's really nothing to complain about as far as the GPU is concerned.
The infrared picture shows that the temperature under the GPU's package is in line with the processor's internal sensor. Elsewhere, there's an 83.4°C hotspot on top of a small component located between the GPU and voltage converters, above the power supply circuits.
Cranking up the load pushes the hotspot toward Polaris 11. It’s definitely not located below the voltage converters. It's hard to attribute those higher temperatures to 15W of additional waste heat alone. It's time for a closer look.
To get to the bottom of this, we’re using an overlay view by superimposing the infrared picture onto the back of Asus' Strix RX 460. Several shunts appear to amplify the hotspot. Fortunately, our peak readings are in a non-critical range. But this part of the board's layout wasn't designed very well, as the GPU heats up from below, through its package. Over time, this leads to higher fan speeds since Asus chose a target temperature of 65°C that it enforces aggressively.
Fan Curves & Noise
We applied a filter to the fan speed results as well, which makes for a smoother curve that’s easier to interpret. In this case, the curve corresponds well to the percentage set by the PWM controller. It steps in aggressively during gaming workloads, but shows restraint during the stress test. This explains the significantly higher board temperature we couldn't pin on an additional 15W.
A high fan speed is a big price to pay for the relatively low 64°C maximum temperature. Then again, fan blades spinning quickly generate a lot of air turbulence, which gets us wondering what this card's acoustic profile looks like.
As usual, the noise measurements are performed using our silent water-cooled PC in our sound-dampened anechoic chamber built for just this purpose. The setup's practical lower limit is 22 dB(A) due to the measurement system's hardware.
|Test System And Equipment|
|Microphone||NTI Audio M2211 (with Calibration File, Low Cut at 50 Hz)|
|Amplifier||Steinberg UR12 (with Phantom Power for Microphones)|
|System||Graphics Card Test System with Optimized Water Cooling - Intel Core i7-5930K @ 4.2 GHz, Water-Cooled - Crucial Ballistix Sport, 4x 4GB DDR4-2400 - MSI X99S XPower AC - 1x Crucial MX200, 500GB SSD (System) - 1x Corsair Force LS, 960GB SSD (Applications, Data) - be quiet! Dark Power Pro, 850W Power Supply Unit (PSU)|
|Water Cooling||- Alphacool VPP655 Pump (Undervolted) - Alphacool NexXxos CPU Cooler - Phobya Balancer - Alphacool 24cm Radiator - 2x 12cm Noiseblocker eLoop Fan @ 400 RPM|
|Measurement Chamber||Custom-Made Proprietary Measurement Chamber, 3.5 x 1.8 x 2.2m (LxDxH)|
|Measurement Position||Perpendicular to Center of Noise Source(s), Measurement Distance of 50cm|
|Measurement Data||- Noise Level in dB(A) (Slow), Real-time Frequency Analyzer (RTA) - Graphical Frequency Spectrum of Noise|
The Strix RX 460's 36 dB(A) reading is an improvement compared to what we measured from Asus' Strix RX 470. The outcome is solid overall.
There’s room for a custom fan curve, especially during cooler months. If you live in a warmer climate, it be necessary to leave Asus' default in place. Fortunately, that's not a big deal in this case.
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