Updated VGA Card/Cooler Test Platform

Cooling | Graphics Cards | Reference|Recommended
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UPDATED VGA HEATSINK RESULTS

After the overhaul, re-testing of some recent heatsinks was in order. The X1950XTX stock cooler, Zalman VF900-CU, and Zalman VF1000 LED were put to the test. The ambient temperature during testing was 21°C, while the ambient noise level was 17 dBA.

 

VGA Test Bed: X1950XTX with Stock Cooler Results
System State
GPU Fan Speed
SPL @1m
GPU
Temp
GPU Ambient

CPU
Temp

System Power
Idle
12%
21 dBA
60°C
49°C
25°C
106W
CPUBurn
12%
21 dBA
72°C
55°C
43°C
193W
CPUBurn + ATI Tool
43%
28 dBA
90°C
64°C
43°C
275W

The stock cooler was tested at 43% speed, much lower than what the fan normally spins at. It was just low enough to adequately cool the card without puncturing our ear drums. At 28 dBA, it is still far from quiet unless the speakers are turned up.


VGA Test Bed: X1950XTX with VF900-CU Test Results
System State
GPU Fan Speed
SPL @1m
GPU Temp
GPU Ambient
CPU Temp
System Power
Idle
5V
20 dBA
42°C
36°C
23°C
104W
CPUBurn
5V
20 dBA
47°C
40°C
43°C
188W
ATI Tool + CPUBurn
5V
20 dBA
94°C*
61°C
43°C
268W
ATI Tool + CPUBurn
7V
22 dBA
93°C
60°C
43°C
270W
ATI Tool + CPUBurn
9V
24 dBA
92°C
58°C

43°C

270W
ATI Tool + CPUBurn
12V
28 dBA
89°C
56°C
43°C
269W
* ATI Tool detected delta artifacts, which indicates heatsink failure

The results of the VF900-CU were similar to those obtained from the old test platform. It was seriously challenged by the X1950XTX; it simply was not designed to cope with such a hot card At 5V, ATI Tool detected delta artifacts. Raising the fan speed did help stabilize the card, but the temperature did not really improve substantially until the 12V level. The Zalman VF900-CU should be used on cooler cards such as nVidia Geforce 7, 8500 and 8600 series and perhaps the ATI 3850.



VGA Test Bed: X1950XTX with VF1000 Results
State
Fan Speed
SPL @1m
GPU Temp
GPU Ambient
CPU Temp
System Power
Idle
5V
20 dBA
41°C
37°C
23°C
103W
CPUBurn
5V
20 dBA
46°C
40°C
43°C
186W
ATI Tool + CPUBurn
5V
20 dBA
76°C
56°C
43°C
265W
ATI Tool + CPUBurn
7V
22 dBA
74°C
55°C
43°C
266W
ATI Tool + CPUBurn
9V
24 dBA
72°C
54°C
43°C
265W
ATI Tool + CPUBurn
12V
29 dBA
70°C
53°C
43°C
265W

As in the earlier test bed, the VF1000 trounced the VF900 by almost 20°C at all fan speeds with practically identical noise levels. 5V is enough for the X1950XTX and it will be inaudible in most systems.

PARTING WORDS

That's our updated VGA test platform. We believe the improved stability and noise level of the new test bed will help us more accurately analyze the thermal and acoustic performance of VGA cards and coolers. So far, we only have a couple coolers tested, but in time, there will be many more results for comparison. In the near future, look for a review of the much-lauded Arctic Cooling Accelero S1.

***

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Zalman Zalman VF1000 LED Graphics Card Cooler
VGA Cooler Roundup: A Thermalright, two Zalmans, and an Arctic Cooling

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