Temperatures, Noise, And Videos
The Asetek closed-loop liquid cooler AMD uses for its Radeon R9 295X2 performs as well as can be expected in spite of its miserly 120 mm radiator. It beats PowerColor's Devil 13 board without breaking a sweat. Though, that card, in turn, isn't bad for an air-cooled offering with two high-end GPUs.
We decided against testing the PowerColor Devil 13 inside of a case in order to protect our hardware. The card with the PCIe connectors on top is too tall for our reference chassis, and its included holder, the “PowerJack,” is too small for our alternative full tower, Corsair's Obsidian 900D. As you think about the hardware you'd pick to go with this graphics card, bear in mind that if PowerColor's PowerJack fits, the Devil 13 should sit securely. But you have to put more effort into coordination than most other configurations.
In order to manage thermals effectively, the fans must provide a certain level of air flow, of course. This gives us a nice segue to our noise section. The fans on PowerColor's Devil 13 card behave interestingly in performance mode. A number of slow-downs are apparent in our log of rotational speed; these are reflected in the temperature curves, too.
Graphics cards noise measurements are performed using a calibrated high-end studio microphone (supercardioid) positioned perpendicular to the middle of the graphics card in question at a distance of 50 cm. This distance, in conjunction with the very strong cardioid directionality of the microphone, represents a compromise between avoiding noise due to fan turbulence and avoiding ambient noise, which can never be completely eliminated.
We performed measurements after each card reached its operating temperature in our gaming loop. Even though the Devil 13 offers both quiet and performance settings, you don't get a significantly better experience in quiet mode. The two firmware options have PowerColor's card competing with AMD's Radeon HD 6990 to become the loudest board we've tested recently.
Unfortunately, this noise level is truly unbearable, even with quiet mode activated and the card in a case. Again, we have to give AMD credit for its water-cooled Radeon R9 295X2. The Devil 13 ends up coming across as an interesting demonstration of what's possible, or what an air-cooled 295X2 might have looked like.
Finally, we'll give you a listen to how PowerColor's Devil 13 Dual Core compares to three generations of dual-GPU reference cards from AMD. The numbers don't tell the whole story, after all.