The measurements for noise were taken using a hand-held dB meter positioned two inches from the rear of the card. Readings are recorded while the system is at idle and after 10 minutes of Battlefield 4 game play.
Considering this card is a compact single-fan design, I was really expecting it to make more noise than it did. Under full load, it only registered 41.5 dB(A), which is practically the same level of noise as the GTX 970 SC at idle. From inside the case, the meter recorded 50 dB(A), which is certainly audible, but not over speakers.
You’ll notice the graph shows 34 dB(A) at idle for Sapphire's ITX Compact R9 380. That's because the meter did not report a dB rating, indicating it was below 35 dB(A), which is the instrument's lower threshold. The fan never stopped spinning, though, and I was able to hear it when very close to the test rig. It’s not silent, but it’s quieter than most offices.