Temperatures And Noise
We’re comparing a total of four scenarios: the gaming loop (Metro: Last Light) and the stress test (FurMark), each with the default and unlocked BIOSes. The GPU’s clock rate stayed at a constant 1040MHz. During the two stress tests, the card’s telemetry achieved this through a power limiter, regulating voltage and fan speed.
This is particularly apparent during the FurMark run with the default BIOS. At the end, we were reporting temperatures lower than during the gaming run. When the unlocked BIOS is used, the fan control seems to be a bit more aggressive, which is to say that it kicks in earlier.
An 80 degree Celsius result is actually similar to the numbers posted by Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980. Sapphire’s new graphics card is quieter at that temperature, though.
Board Temperatures During The Gaming Loop
Instead of our usual infrared pictures to document maximum temperatures, we're opting for time lapse videos. They're one minute long and are based on an original duration of 10 minutes. It’s easy to see where, when and how much the graphics card’s PCB heats up.
Default BIOS: Metro Last Light At UHD
Unlocked BIOS: Metro Last Light At UHD
Board Temperatures During The Stress Test
Here’s the second round, this time during the stress test. Again, the GPU isn't the hottest component on the PCB. This dubious honor goes to the voltage regulators, which end up well above 100 degrees Celsius.
Default BIOS: FurMark
Unlocked BIOS: FurMark
It’s interesting that the final temperatures are almost identical in spite of an additional almost 50W of power consumption. Sapphire's fans do spin much faster though, probably because the GPU needs more cooling. Unfortunately, waste heat spreading across the board is not an unusual occurrence anymore.
The temperatures listed in the table were recorded after 30 minutes (gaming loop) or 10 minutes (stress test).
|Ambient Temperature22 °C||Open Bench Table, Gaming Loop||Open Bench Table, Stress Test||Closed PC Case,Gaming Loop||Closed PC Case,Stress Test||VRMMaximum|
|Default BIOS||78 °C||70 °C||80-81 °C||72 °C||98 °C|
|Unlocked BIOS||80 °C||75 °C||80-81 °C||78 °C||115 °C|
The noise level is determined primarily by the type of fan used in conjunction with the GPU load and the preset fan profile. Here's where Sapphire is almost too careful. Even at full load, the fans can barely be heard on the open bench table, and they can’t be heard at all from the outside of a closed PC case.
Seeing the amount of cooling reserves available, the fan profile could have been set a bit more generously, especially in light of the voltage regulators. Another side effect of the fans being as quiet as a whisper is that the VRM noises can be heard more easily. At least they're not that bad.
The spectrogram for the torture test using the bench table shows a small peak due to the voltage converters. This starts at approximately 6KHz and goes up from there. It’s followed by the fans’ bearing and motor noises. All of these results are just fine.
In absolute numbers, this really good result looks like this:
|Ambient Temperature22 °C||Open Bench Table, Gaming Loop||Open Bench Table, Stress Test||Closed PC Case,Gaming Loop||Closed PC Case,Stress Test||Idle|
|Default BIOS||36.4 dB(A)||37.4 dB(A)||36.9 dB(A)*||37.2 dB(A)*||0 dB(A)|
|Unlocked BIOS||37.2 dB(A)||38.3 dB(A)||37.0 dB(A)*||37.4 dB(A)*||0 dB(A)|
*: The graphics card can’t really be heard above the background noise.