ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

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TEST RESULTS

Baseline Power with Integrated Graphics:

Power Consumption Measurements:
GPU Test System (Intel HD 2000 IGP)
State
Idle
CPU Load
CPU + GPU Load
Sys. Power (AC)
36W
74W
87W
Sys. Power (DC)
unknown
61W
72W
System fan speeds: 580 RPM
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA
System noise level: 12~13 dBA
Ambient temperature: 22°C

System with Discrete Graphics:

System Measurements: GPU Test System
(ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II)
State
Idle
CPU Load
CPU + GPU Load
Temp
CPU
22°C
37°C
54°C
PCH
42°C
42°C
56°C
GPU
31°C
32°C
73°C
GPU Fan Speed
1140 RPM
1890 RPM
SPL @1m
13~14 dBA
16 dBA
Sys. Power (AC)
54W
96W
235W
Sys. Power (DC)
unknown
81W
223W
System fan speeds: 580 RPM
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA
System noise level (on int. graphics): 12~13 dBA
Ambient temperature: 22°C

With our test system fans on our low speed 12~13 dBA@1m setting, the GTX 670 DirectCU II ran very cool and quiet when idle. The fans were spinning at 1140 RPM but had a minimal effect on the overall noise level. Power consumption was only 54W AC which is fairly reasonable for a modern high-end GPU. Putting the system on CPU load was only slightly detrimental to GPU cooling. The addition of a GPU load pushed the GPU fans to 1890 RPM for a total noise level of just 16 dBA@1m. The fan control was quite aggressive as the GPU core was only registering a comfortable 73°C (we consider anything under 90°C to be acceptable).

Thanks to Nvidia's GPU Boost feature, the GPU core clock stabilized at 967 MHz on load, a significant increase from its 915 MHz base frequency. On a lark, we manually increased the GPU fan speed to 100% (3540 RPM) to give it more thermal headroom. The system produced a noise level of 29 dBA@1m and the GPU frequency topped out at only 980 MHz.

The acoustics of the GTX 670 DirectCU II were simply excellent. At idle, the extra noise it produced was imperceptible compared to our system running solely on integrated graphics. On load, the machine was 2~3 dB louder but the overall sound didn't really change aside from some extra output at ~1000 Hz. Subjectively, it was very smooth and unobtrusive.

Noise & Cooling Comparison

Comparison: GPU Test System (Load)
Model
Est. Power Draw (DC)
GPU Temp
SPL @1m
ASUS GTX 670
DirectCU II
162W
72°C
16 dBA
HIS HD 5870 Turbo
GELID Icy Vision @5V
236W
89°C
17~18 dBA
AMD HD 6870 +
GELID Icy Vision @5V
182W
80°C
17~18 dBA
ASUS GTX 680
DirectCU II OC
203W
75°C
27~28 dBA
ASUS HD 7870
DirectCU II
189W
91°C
30~31 dBA
Gainward GTX 560
Ti Phantom
233W
88°C
37 dBA
System fan speeds: 580 RPM
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA
System noise level (on int. graphics): 12~13 dBA
Ambient temperature: 22°C

The load results were very impressive compared to previously tested high-end graphics cards. The DirectCU II versions of the GTX 680 and HD 7870 were inferior by a substantial amount both in terms of temperature and SPL. The noise difference is especially staggering as the decibel scale is logarithmic. Equipped with a sizable third party cooler, the GELID Icy Vision, the older HD 5870 and 6870 were also easily beaten out. These two cards aren't that fast by today's standards but they still have hefty power draws, far exceeding that of the GTX 670.

The stark contrast between our results for the GTX 670 and HD 7870 DirectCU II is particularly noteworthy considering the similarity of the two heatsinks — they are virtually indistinguishable from one another. One wouldn't expect that a 27W reduction in power draw could end up making such a dramatic difference. After examining the two coolers closely we realized there was another possible explanation — the proportion of the GPU core making contact with the direct-touch heatpipes. The Radeon core has a smaller die than the GTX 670 (212 vs. 294 square millimeters) and it is positioned diagonally so only small portions of it are touched by the outer heatpipes, making the center heatpipe responsible for transferring most of the heat produced. The GeForce die's larger footprint and "straight" orientation seems to take greater advantage of this heatpipe layout.



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