In Win Dragon Rider Enthusiast/Gaming Tower

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Test Results: 2 x ATI Radeon HD 4870 (CrossFireX)


2 x HD 4870 CrossFireX test system.

System Measurements
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
System Fan Speeds
5V
7V
9V
12V
CPU Temp
26°C
37°C
36°C
36°C
SB Temp
47°C
58°C
52°C
46°C
HD Temp
31°C
31°C
31°C
31°C
GPU #1 Temp
78°C
87°C
86°C
86°C
GPU #1 Fan
Speed
890 RPM
1940 RPM
1880 RPM
1880 RPM
GPU #2 Temp
62°C
82°C
82°C
82°C
GPU #2 Speed
980 RPM
1670 RPM
1670 RPM
1640 RPM
SPL@1m
22~23 dBA
32 dBA
32 dBA
32~33 dBA
System Power
186W
503W
503W
503W
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

Despite the addition of a second HD 4870, the noise level at idle of the CrossFireX system was just half a decibel higher, though the both the Southbridge and top graphics cards ran 8~9°C hotter. On load we found that the sweet spot for the fans was 9V with the system emitting 32 dBA@1m. At this setting, the system didn't produce any more measurable noise than 7V, but it was substantially quieter than 12V. The thermal difference between these three speeds was minor with the exception of the Southbridge. The side fan played a big part in cooling the hotter areas on the motherboard PCB.

System Measurements
(on load, varying right side fan)
Top, Rear, Left Fan Speed
9V
Right Fan Speed
Off
5V
12V
CPU Temp
38°C
36°C
35°C
SB Temp
54°C
52°C
46°C
HD Temp
31°C
31°C
31°C
GPU #1 Temp
86°C
86°C
85°C
GPU #1 Fan
Speed
1890 RPM
1880 RPM
1890 RPM
GPU #2 Temp
82°C
82°C
82°C
GPU #2 Speed
1670 RPM
1670 RPM
1680 RPM
SPL@1m
32 dBA
32 dBA
32 dBA
System Power
503W
503W
503W
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
Front fan set to 5V.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

This time around, the right side fan made a more significant contribution, lower the CPU and Southbridge temperatures by 2°C at 5V. At 12V, the fan still didn't add any noise to the system and provided a further 1°C improvement for the CPU and GPU, and a 6°C improvement for the Southbridge. It seems that the right side fan is only effective when the environment inside is hotter, as is the case with a multi-GPU system.



Our HD 4870 CrossFireX test system measured 24 dBA@1m when idle and 33 dBA@1m on load.

The acoustics of the CrossFireX system were close to that of the single HD 4870 configuration, but higher in volume, obviously. The rise from 29 dBA@1m to 32 dBA@1m was significant, but the noise character was similar, just higher in pitch. While it is not entirely unpleasant, headphones would be advised.

CrossFireX Configuration Comparison (Load)
Case
In Win Dragon Rider
In Win BUC
LanCool PC-K59
Fans Speeds
top, rear, sides @9V, front @5V
top, rear, front @9V
top, rear, front @9V
CPU Temp
35°C
46°C
46°C
SB Temp
46°C
63°C
63°C
HD Temp
31°C
30°C
28°C
GPU #1 Temp
85°C
89°C
89°C
GPU #1 Fan
Speed
1890 RPM
2050 RPM
2300 RPM
GPU #2 Temp
82°C
85°C
83°C
GPU #2 Fan
Speed
1680 RPM
1780 RPM
1810 RPM
SPL@1m
32 dBA
32~33 dBA
33 dBA
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
All temperature results adjusted to 22°C ambient.

The Dragon Rider turns the tables with the hotter CrossFireX configuration. The large left side fan gave it a huge advantage, lowering the GPU temperatures slightly and the CPU temperature by more than 10°C compared to the BUC and PC-K59. There was also a massive 17°C improvement in Southbridge temperature. The GPU fans slowed by 100~150 RPM as a result of the extra cooling, lowering the noise level a tad. For a high power, high heat system, the Dragon Rider is tough to beat.



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