Asus EN9800GT Matrix Edition

Graphics Cards
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TEST METHODOLOGY

Our test procedure is an in-system test, designed to:

1. Determine whether the card's cooler is adequate for use in a low-noise system. 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, bluescreen or reboot without warning.
  • 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.

2. Estimate the card's power consumption. This is a good indicator of how efficient the card is and will have an effect on how hot the stock cooler becomes due to power lost in the form of heat. The lower the better.

3. Determine the card's ability to play back high definition video, to see if whether it is a suitable choice for a home theater PC.

Test Platform

Measurement and Analysis Tools

Testing Procedures

Our first test involves recording the system power consumption using a Seasonic Power Angel as well as CPU and GPU temperatures using SpeedFan and ATITool (or just SpeedFan if a nVidia based card is used) during different states: Idle, under load with CPUBurn running to stress the processor, and with CPUBurn and ATITool's artifact scanner (or 3D View, which produces even higher power consumption) running to stress both the CPU and GPU simultaneously. This last state mimics the stress on the CPU and GPU produced by a modern video game. The software is left running until the GPU temperature remains stable for at least 10 minutes. If artifacts are detected by ATITool or any other instability is noted, the heatsink is deemed inadequate to cool the video card in our test system.

If the heatsink has a fan, the load state tests are repeated at various fan speeds while the system case fan is left at its lowest setting of 7V. If the card utilizes a passive cooler, the system fan is varied instead to study the effect of system airflow on the heatsink's performance. System noise measurements are made at each fan speed.

Video Playback Testing

For our second test, we play a variety of video clips with PowerDVD. A CPU usage graph is created via the Windows Task Manger for analysis to determine the approximate mean and peak CPU usage. If the card (in conjunction with the processor) is unable to properly decompress the clip, the video will skip or freeze, often with instances of extremely high CPU usage as the system struggles to play it back. High CPU usage is undesirable as it increases power consumption, and leaves fewer resources for background tasks and other applications that happen to be running during playback. Power draw is also recorded during playback.

Video Test Suite


1920x816 | 24fps | ~10mbps
H.264: Rush Hour 3 Trailer 1 is encoded with H.264. It has a good mixture of light and dark scenes, interspersed with fast-motion action and cutaways.


1440x1080 | 24fps | ~8mbps
WMV3: Coral Reef Adventure trailer is encoded in VC-1 using the WMV3 codec (commonly recognized by the moniker, "HD WMV"). It features multiple outdoor landscape and dark underwater scenes.


1280x720 | 60fps | ~12mbps
WVC1: Microsoft Flight Simulator X trailer is encoded in VC-1. It's a compilation of in-game action from a third person point of view. It is encoded using the Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile (aka WVC1) codec — a much more demanding implementation of VC-1.


1920x1080 | 24fps | ~19mbps
WVC1: Drag Race is a recording of a scene from network television re-encoded with TMPGEnc using the WVC1 codec. It features a high-paced drag race. It is the most demanding clip in our test suite.

Estimating DC Power

The following power efficiency figures were obtained for the Seasonic S12-600 used in our test system:

Seasonic S12-500 / 600 TEST RESULTS
DC Output (W)
65.3
89.7
148.7
198.5
249.5
300.2
AC Input (W)
87.0
115.0
183.1
242.1
305.0
370.2
Efficiency
75.1%
78.0%
81.2%
82.0%
81.8%
81.1%

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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