Asus EN8600GT OC GEAR graphics card

Graphics Cards
Viewing page 4 of 6 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next

TEST RESULTS

Acoustics

Since the card reviewed was not passively cooled, sound pressure level measurements were made with the card inside the test platform case with the system powered on and no other noise souces in the room. We wanted to know whether it would increase the noise level of a relatively quiet system. Using the integrated video on the motherboard, the system measured 21 dBA from 1m away using our Bruel & Kjaer Sound Level Meter. It was just barely audible in our test lab, with what little noise it produced coming mainly from the power supply fan.

The EN8600GT's fan speed was adjusted using SmartDoctor. At the fan's lowest setting (31% according to SmartDoctor), we recorded only a 1 dBA increase over the baseline. While this was not that significant, the nature of sound was more noticable — a low tonal hum rather than just the gentle smooth sound of air circulating. At the fan's default setting (75% according to SmartDoctor), the sound level increased to 24 dBA, and the sound coming from the case was distinct and easily identifiable as the main noise source. While quieter than most video card fans, the sound quality became worse, and the tonal aspects became more annoying. You'll be able to hear this for yourself when you listen to the recordings we made, further below. It really didn't meet our high standards so we decided not to test the card with the fan at its maximum speed. As it turns out the fan was more than adequate for the task, even at minimal speed.

Thermals

An initial testing phase was carried out using the integrated graphics on the system motherboard to establish baseline levels for system power and CPU temperature. Unfortunately, neither ATI Tool artifact scanner nor RTHDRIBL would run on the integrated graphics chip. However, ATI Tool's 3D View did run and from past experience we know it generates a similar amount of power consumption. We ran it in conjunction with CPUBurn to establish a baseline for comparison.

VGA Test Bed: Baseline Results
(no external VGA card - 21 dBA@1m)
System State
CPU Temp
System Power
AC input
DC output (Est.)
Idle
24°C
80W
59W
CPUBurn x2
50°C
151W
117W
CPUBurn + ATITool
50°C
161W
125W

VGA Test Bed: Asus EN8600GT OC GEAR
System Load
Video Card Fan Speed*
dBA@1m
GPU
Temp

CPU
Temp

System Power
AC input
DC output (Est.)
Idle
Default
24
48°C
25°C
103W
78W
Idle
Minimum
22
53°C
25°C
103W
78W
CPUBurn x2
Default
24
48°C
50°C
175W
137W
CPUBurn
Minimum
22
54°C
50°C
175W
137W
CPUBurn +
ATI Tool
Default
24
70°C
45°C
196W
155W
CPUBurn +
ATI Tool
Minimum
22
70°C
45°C
196W
155W

*Minimum speed: 31% ; Default speed: 75%

While sitting idle and with CPUBurn running, the GPU temperature increased by only 5-6°C with the fan set to the slowest setting. When CPUBurn and ATI Tool were run in conjunction, the temperature shot up 22°C whether the fan was spinning slow or at its default speed. This is a testiment to either the low heat output of the GPU or the efficiency of the heatsink/fan. Either way, it's very obvious that cooling is not a problem. 70°C is very modest for a graphics core and the fact that changing the fan speed didn't have any effect on the temperature when stressed was both surprising and impressive.

In addition, the EN8600GT passed our stability tests with flying colors. No artifacts presented themselves during testing with either ATI Tool or RTHDRIBL.

Power

A rough idea of the power consumption of the card can be judged by comparing the total system power consumption with and without the card installed. Our results were derived at by assuming:

1. The power consumption of the graphics card at idle was equal to the difference in power demand between the two systems when both were running CPUBurn.

2. The power consumption of the graphics card under load was equal to the difference between the system with the card running CPUBurn and ATI Tool simultaneously, and the baseline system running CPUBurn only. This ensured that any load on the CPU from ATI Tool did not skew the results, since the CPU was running at full load in both cases.

Video Card Power Consumption: Asus EN8600GT OC GEAR
GPU State
Increase in System Power (AC)
Estimated Power Consumption (DC)
Idle
+23W
18W
Load
+45W
36W

With an estimated power consumption under 40W, and active cooling, it was no wonder the graphics card did not heat up much. Its power requirements are fairly modest so we would've liked to see Asus use a quieter fan, or better yet, a larger passive heatsink. Either could cool a 8600GT adequately with minimal noise in a quiet, low airflow system.



Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next

Graphics Cards - Article Index
Help support this site, buy the Asus EN8600GT OC GEAR graphics card from one of our affiliate retailers!