Clock Frequency, Temperature & Noise
Temperature & Clock Frequency Curves
The two cards’ warm-up phases couldn’t be more different, but they end up in the same place. Their temperatures never exceed 65 or 66°C.
That latter figure applies to the passive card, which takes a lengthy 24 minutes to get up to temperature. Once it does, the GPUs on both boards hover around the same ~1.6 GHz.
During our stress test, the passive card reaches its final 67°C after approximately 20 minutes. Interestingly, it’s not the GPU that peaks first. Rather, the voltage regulation circuitry gets hotter more quickly, even though the converters get their own cooling from Gigabyte's heat sink.
At 64°C, the active card stays a little cooler due to its fan suddenly accelerating. This is despite the lower frequencies both boards hit under a worst-case load.
Infrared Board Temperature Measurements
Let's look at the actively-cooled card first. During our gaming loop, the VRM reaches almost 86°C. That's not great, but it's still acceptable. The GPU's 65°C is consistent with the card’s temperature target.
During the stress test, current rises along with the fan's rotational speed. This serves to benefit the small GPU's operating temperature, which crests at 64°C.
Unfortunately, the uncooled VRM gets the short end of the stick; we record a temperature peak of 89°C. Gigabyte made the right choice when it chose to implement a second power phase, even if it wasn't necessary from a purely electrical point of view.
As mentioned, the passive card ends up with a temperature of 66°C. It takes so long to ramp up that our graph ran out of room to show this happening. Temperatures aren't a problem for the GeForce GT 1030 Silent Low Profile 2G, especially since voltage converters stay below 74°C. Direct VRM cooling pays dividends here.
The passive card’s GPU temperature might be 3°C higher during the stress test compared to the version with a fan, but its voltage converters run a massive 11°C cooler.
Somewhat surprisingly, this means that the passively-cooled card achieves better thermal performance.
Fan Speed & Noise
Obviously, we weren't able to measure any noise emanating from the passively-cooled card. Even its two chokes stayed completely silent.
Conversely, the active card’s fan was always in motion. There is no semi-passive mode, so, depending on the workload, the fan spins anywhere from 1800 to 1900 RPM.
Interestingly, the active card’s fan sped up immediately during our gaming loop, but took its time when we applied a stress test. Although we can't explain why, the behavior is reproducible.
There is no spectral analysis for Gigabyte's GeForce GT 1030 Low Profile 2G because the card is so quiet as-is. It'd be hard to generate an analysis of sufficient quality. Due to the lack of a semi-passive mode, the lowest noise level we measured was 28.7 dB(A). This increases to 31.6 dB(A) under full load.
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