Asus GTX 980 Ti Strix OC Graphics Card

Graphics Cards
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Test Platform

  • Intel Core i3-2100 processor, Sandy Bridge core, dual core 3.1 GHz, integrated HD 2000 graphics, TDP of 65W
  • Scythe Kotetsu CPU cooler - Scythe Slip Stream 500RPM 120mm fan
  • MSI Z77A-G43 motherboard, Z77 chipset, ATX
  • Kingston HyperX Genesis memory, 2x4GB, DDR3-1600
  • Kingston HyperX 3K solid state drive - 120GB, 2.5-inch, SATA 6 Gbps
  • Kingwin Lazer Platinum power supply, ATX v2.2, 80 Plus Platinum, 1000W total output, 83A on +12V rail
  • Fractal Design Define R5 case - ATX, stock 140mm fans
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate operating system - 64-bit

Our GPU test system.

Measurement and Analysis Tools

Testing Procedures

Our test procedures are designed to determine the power consumption, noise, and heat produced by the card/cooler with the system in various states. In addition to testing under "normal" conditions, we also perform a torture test consisting of FurMark running in conjunction with Prime95 to stress both the graphics card and processor simultaneously. This combination is more demanding on the CPU and GPU than any real gaming session. This final result is not indicative of a real-world situation, but rather a worse-case scenario; If it can cool the card and its components adequately it means there will be some degree of thermal headroom when deployed in a more conventional situation.

By adequately cooled, we mean cooled well enough that no misbehavior related to thermal overload is exhibited. Thermal misbehavior in a graphics card can show up in a variety of ways, including:

  • Sudden system shutdown, reboot without warning, or loss of display signal
  • Jaggies and other visual artifacts on the screen.
  • Motion slowing and/or screen freezing.

Any of these misbehaviors are annoying at best and dangerous at worst — dangerous to the health and lifespan of the graphics card, and sometimes to the system OS.

Aftermarket coolers are installed on an ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II OC, a factory-overclocked single GPU card that draws 226W by our estimates. The stock VRM heatsink is left on if possible. The cooler's fan(s) is connected to the motherboard (if possible) and its speed is changed to various levels to represent a good cross-section of its airflow and noise performance.

Ambient Noise Level

For noise measurements, our mic is positioned at a distance of one meter from the center of the case's left side panel at a 45 degree angle.

Our test system's CPU fan is a low speed Scythe that is set to full speed at all times while the two Fractal 140 mm case fans are connected to case's integrated fan controller. Three standard speed settings have been established for testing.

GPU Test System:
Anechoic chamber measurements
Case Fan Setting
24 dBA
15 dBA
12~13 dBA

When testing video cards and coolers with active cooling, the low setting will be used. For passive cards and heatsinks, all three settings will be tested to determine the effect of system airflow on cooling performance.

Estimating DC Power

The following power efficiency figures were obtained for the Kingwin LZP-1000 used in our test system:

Kingwin LZP-1000 Test Results
DC Output (W)
AC Input (W)

This data is enough to give us a very good estimate of DC demand in our test system. We extrapolate the DC power output from the measured AC power input based on this data. We won't go through the math; it's easy enough to figure out for yourself if you really want to.

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