Asus ENGTX260: A Quiet Graphics Card for Gamers?

Graphics Cards
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TEST RESULT

Baseline, with Integrated Graphics: First, here are the results of our baseline results of the system with just its integrated graphics, without a discrete video card. We'll also need the power consumption reading during CPUBurn to estimate the actual power draw of discrete card later.

VGA Test Bed: Baseline Results
(no discrete graphics card installed)
System State
CPU Temp
System Power
AC
DC (Est.)
Idle
22°C
73W
Unknown
CPUBurn
39°C
144W
115W
Ambient temperature: 21°C
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA
System noise level: 12 dBA@1m

Note: In our new semi-anechoic chamber, our VGA test bed now measures 12 dBA@1m. Ambient is only 11 dBA.

Asus ENGTX260:

VGA Test Bed: Asus ENGTX260
System State
Fan Speed
System SPL@1m
GPU
Temp
PCB Temp
CPU
Temp
System Power
AC
DC (Est.)
Idle
700 RPM (40%)
15 dBA
43°C
38°C
25°C
113W
88W
CPUBurn
700 RPM (40%)
15 dBA
44°C
39°C
44°C
184W
150W
CPUBurn + ATITool
880 RPM (50%)
21 dBA
72°C
62°C
51°C
269W-
290W
220W-
237W
Ambient temperature: 22°C
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.
System noise level (minus graphics card): 12 dBA@1m.

When the test system was first fired up, the fan was easily audible, but quickly ramped down by the time the POST screen appeared. Once the system booted up, we were were amazed at how quiet the card was. We actually had to double-check that the fan was operating. In our semi-anechoic chamber, the system at idle registered only 3 dBA higher than the system without the card installed — indeed it was very difficult for us to detect the difference. What's more the GPU temperature was very low at 43°C. Within a few inches of the card, we could hear the fan ticking slightly, but behind the side panel of the case, this wasn't audible.

After stressing both the CPU and GPU for half an hour, the fan speed increased by less than 200 RPM, but the noise level was much higher at 21 dBA. In a quiet environment, this would be audible. Enclosed in our test system, the fan's less desirable attributes seemed to blend away and what remained was benign and inobtrusive. The card does suffer from the same high-pitched whine on load that seems to be endemic with modern high performance graphics cards. Although the system's power draw reached levels we've never seen in our lab before while testing a video card, the GPU temperature was more than acceptable at only 72°C. Stock VGA coolers rarely do this well, in terms of both performance and noise.



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