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 Post subject: Asus ENGTX260: A Quiet Graphics Card for Gamers?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:43 am 
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Asus ENGTX260: A Quiet Graphics Card for Gamers?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:15 am 
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The ENGTX260's camouflage decals are useful for gaming in a forest environment

New keyboard please - mine now drowned in tea :lol: [/quote]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:37 am 
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Great review, but isnt that the standard GTX260 cooler that all manufacturers use?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:43 am 
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Wow, if it wasn't from you guys, I probably wouldn't believe it. I've been looking to get a gtx2-- card when the quiet cooling landscape became a bit more favorable, but maybe that's not necessary. I wonder if this extends to the gtx280 line from Asus.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:02 am 
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Eolair wrote:
Great review, but isnt that the standard GTX260 cooler that all manufacturers use?


Yes.

Kickass review! I never imagined it to be so quiet! I just might consider this card instead of the HD4870! Low noise and (relatively) cool by stock? Count me in! :D

I wonder... would the GTX280 be as quiet? They appear to use the same cooler but the 280 is more power hungry so I guess it would be noisier? (higher RPMs).

EDIT: I guess not.

HardwareCanucks wrote:
If you have a good memory and you read our EVGA GeForce GTX 280 1GB Superclocked Review , you may remember that I had some strong words about how loud the GTX 280 was. In order to keep the overly hot core at an acceptable temperature, the fan on that card spun up to astronomical levels. Interestingly enough, our GTX 260 was extremely quiet no matter how much load we put it under while still maintaining acceptable temperatures.


Doesn't matter. The GTX280 is too expensive and the GTX260 is fast enough. It's going to feel good not having to replace the GPU's stock cooler to have a quiet PC :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:50 am 
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It may well be the stock cooler from nVidia, we can't say without examining a bunch of 260 cards from different brands, but it does seem very similar to photos of others. It may also be the same one used on the 280 as well, which would explain why the 280 gets trashed as a noisy beast -- the higher thermals would require the fan run faster -- all part and parcel of the standard heatsink, fan and temperature-sensitive fan speed controller.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:15 am 
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Lawrence Lee wrote:
The GTX 260's are priced similarly to the HD 4870, but the surprisingly quiet cooler, at least on the Asus version, tips the scales in our opinion.


Maybe I am blind, but I didn't see any reference to the sound level of HD 4870 ? Might have been discussed in the forum, but the review should mention it explicitly.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:54 am 
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Is there a better way to measure video card power draw? The PCIE v1 slot provides 75W DC, and the rest is provided through PCIE power connectors. So, if you simply had an ammeter you could measure the current through those connectors. Also, I'm curious what the best way to load the video card would be. With an Ati HD3870 if I load the CPU completely, and then attempt to load the video card, the video card is not stressed 100%, more like 50-60%, and power consumption from the wall is not the true maximum. To completely stress the video card, I have to load all but 1 physical processor core(be it dual or the quad I've tested), so that 1 core can be dedicated to feeding the GPU.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:00 pm 
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Im also very interested to see if there is a simmilar setup for a 280 card. its time to replace my graphics card and past experience shows that if I get the current Top of the line it lasts a LONG time.

Although this one from asus is _really_ tempting....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:07 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
It may well be the stock cooler from nVidia


Really, it is. They all use the same.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:34 pm 
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Interesting read. As always, Mike spends five pages of the review on what most everyone else mentions on the bottom half of one page. :)

If it's truly the stock cooler, then $300 is a bit much. Newegg had one 260 on sale last week for $210 after a mail in rebate. Granted, I think mail in rebates are devil spawn, but it would put it well under the cheapest 4870s Newegg has.

BTW, is this is the 192 shader version, or the new 216 shader version of the 260?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:42 pm 
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ryboto wrote:
Is there a better way to measure video card power draw? The PCIE v1 slot provides 75W DC, and the rest is provided through PCIE power connectors. So, if you simply had an ammeter you could measure the current through those connectors.


Xbit labs and others do a fine job of monitoring power draw. So long as SPCR does sound right (and as far as I'm concerned they do) there is no reason to ask for more from the SPCR staff on that front.

Let me point you to a reference that I recently noticed that collects power info from XBit and other sources:

The Truth About Graphics Power Requirements V2

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:00 pm 
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dhanson865 wrote:
Xbit labs and others do a fine job of monitoring power draw. So long as SPCR does sound right (and as far as I'm concerned they do) there is no reason to ask for more from the SPCR staff on that front.

Let me point you to a reference that I recently noticed that collects power info from XBit and other sources:

The Truth About Graphics Power Requirements V2


I'm not asking for more tests, I'm just asking if there is a more accurate way. It probably wouldn't be much more accurate, I'm just curious. I'm also curious regarding what I mentioned about properly loading the video card.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:20 pm 
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I've had a Leadtek GTX260 for a week now.

It's worth mentioning that the older Rivatuner v2.09 shows fan speeds similar to those in the article from GPU-Z at 700rpm approx.

According to the newest Rivatuner v2.11 the stock fan runs at 1381rpm when idling however. That fan really doesn't sound like it's doing 700rpm.

The stock cooler noise isn't that bad, but if the rest of your PC is fairly quiet to start with it's going to be easily the loudest thing in your case still. Compared to the two 500RPM Scythe Slipstream fans in my Antec Solo case the GTX260 at idle is a lot louder. :(

Edit: Just to clarify large graphics cards like the Nvidia GTX260/ GTX280 don't fit in the Antec Solo unless you cut away part of the hard drive bay. It only takes a few minutes with tin snips. :)

Image
Nvidia GTX 260 Graphics Card in Modified Antec Solo Case


Last edited by WR304 on Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:26 pm 
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WR304 wrote:
I've had a Leadtek GTX260 for a week now....

This suggests that there are differences in acoustics between GTX260 cards even if they appear to be using the stock cooler design. There may be differences in the fan, and in the fan speed controller. Again, I must emphasize, this review's acoustic analysis applies to the sample at hand, not to GTX260 cards in general.

I encourage other GTX260 card users to post their findings here.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:32 am 
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Maybe the BIOS is different? With higher fan speed by default? I think there is every reason to believe that its fan can be slowed down by RivaTuner!

Maybe WR304 could try to lower the idle RPM setting to the same as spcr's sample and see the difference.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:31 am 
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Dunno, if it's audible in load it's to loud for my taste :P. Impressive power consumption though, lower than HD4850. Now only if AC could make a special edition of accelero s1......


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:17 am 
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I've read that the first batch of GTX 280s had serious thermal issues, mainly because the heatsink didn't make good contact with the GPU.
So the fan of such a card would run at maximum speed, but the GPU still was hot as hell and probably going to fry soon.
Since the size of the stock cooler is so large, I believe it's highly probable that the stock *mounting* of the stock cooler is a lottery.
This may apply to some GTX 260s as well. Maybe SPCR's sample just had the stock cooler properly installed, others may not.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:56 am 
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rpsgc wrote:
Maybe the BIOS is different? With higher fan speed by default? I think there is every reason to believe that its fan can be slowed down by RivaTuner!

Maybe WR304 could try to lower the idle RPM setting to the same as spcr's sample and see the difference.


At idle my GTX260 stock cooler is running at the same 40% duty cycle as the reviewed Asus card. The reason appears to be that different versions of the monitoring software report different values.:)

In the release notes for Rivatuner v2.11 they mention greater compatibility with the GT200 series cards as one of the main changes over older versions of the software.

If you look at the SPCR review they're using GPU-Z v0.2.7. A newer version of GPU-Z v0.2.8 was released on 24/09/08:

GPU-Z v0.2.8
http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/12 ... 0.2.8.html

Rivatuner v2.11
http://downloads.guru3d.com/RivaTuner-v ... l#download

Using GPU-Z v0.2.8 it now displays the fan rpm as 1382rpm also. Here's a screenshot where both versions of the program are running at the same time on my PC.

Image
GPU-Z 0.2.8 displayed fan speed for a Nvidia GTX260 card at 40% duty cycle compared to GPU-Z 0.2.7

Something else that's worth mentioning is what the temperature response curve for the stock cooler is. In Rivatuner v2.11 you can see what this is by looking at the "Low Level System Settings Tab"

For my GTX260 card the settings are:

Duty Cycle Min: 40%
Duty Cycle Max: 100%
T Min: 60
T Range: 32
T Operating: 78
T Low Limit: 65
T High Limit: 85

If you're considering the GTX280 cards their GPU temperature may go significantly over that 78c operating temperature a lot sooner. If so, the fan is going to be ramping up a lot more than the cooler GTX260 card will.

In games my stock clocked GTX260 doesn't actually seem that much louder than at idle. Playing games like Stalker Clear Sky, Grid, Spore, Mercenaries 2 etc doesn't seem to be making the fan ramp up much. My copy of Crysis Warhead seems to have got lost in the post so I haven't been able to try that yet. :?

The other thing to bear in mind is that there aren't many aftermarket cooling options for these cards. If you don't like the stock cooler there's a Thermalright HR-03 cooler coming out sometime, you can fit a waterblock and watercool it and that's about it for your options.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:56 am 
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Tzupy wrote:
I've read that the first batch of GTX 280s had serious thermal issues, mainly because the heatsink didn't make good contact with the GPU.
So the fan of such a card would run at maximum speed, but the GPU still was hot as hell and probably going to fry soon.
Since the size of the stock cooler is so large, I believe it's highly probable that the stock *mounting* of the stock cooler is a lottery.
This may apply to some GTX 260s as well. Maybe SPCR's sample just had the stock cooler properly installed, others may not.


You assume alot dont you ? First batch has been out for a while and I have not read anything about thermal issues that you are talking about. Then you go on assuming (again) that GTX 260 is affected too ? On what grounds ? The card has been tested and passed with flying colours...Some ppl just have to whine...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:30 am 
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I don't assume, I present a hypothesis. Of course I may be wrong and I'm not afraid to be proven wrong.
Do you have a better hypothesis on why some people's GTX 260s are quiet and others are noisy?
All have the same PCB and stock cooler. The stock cooler doesn't seem to be easy to affect by the case airflow.
As for the thermal issues with the first batch of GTX 280s, I'm sure I read that on Anandtech forums.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:50 am 
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Well, I guess we can always presume that at least the Asus model is quiet?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:05 am 
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In the review the card was stress tested with ATI Tool to get a load temperature. It only reached 72c approx which is still below the 78c Operating Temperature. That's when the fan speed really starts ramping up.

A good benchmark to use is Furmark v.1.4.0:

http://downloads.guru3d.com/FurMark-v1. ... l#download

The fan speed starts to increase at 70c but it isn't until you reach 78c that you can really hear the fan start to speed up. The temperature stays constant and you can see the fan speed increasing over time. Recording the graph with hardware monitoring in Rivatuner is a good way to get an idea of what's happening.

With my card running Furmark v1.4.0 it reaches 78c after 3 or four minutes.

@Redzo and Tzupy: There did seem to be some problems with the GTX280 cards. There are a few threads about it here:

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=115423

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1345951


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:09 pm 
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dhanson865 wrote:


Wow, i still cant believe how much FPS goodness you can get from a load 50w 8800gt.

While i'm sure the stock cooler on the reviewed GTX 260 is "quiet", it still doesnt beat my S1 passive.

Still waiting for a clear successor to the 8800gt.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:45 pm 
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Has anybody got the 216 shader version of the 260 yet? I'm thinking that since it's about halfway between the regular 260 and the 280, it might be noiser but more powerful. OTOH, it may still be below the threshold for quiet, which appears to be the fan ramp-up temperature of 78C. Can anybody confirm that the 216-shader 260 is quiet?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:56 am 
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Airshark wrote:
Has anybody got the 216 shader version of the 260 yet? I'm thinking that since it's about halfway between the regular 260 and the 280, it might be noiser but more powerful. OTOH, it may still be below the threshold for quiet, which appears to be the fan ramp-up temperature of 78C. Can anybody confirm that the 216-shader 260 is quiet?


I don't know about that but according to Anandtech (I know, not that accurate, better than nothing tough) the 216 version consumes about 12W more during load than the regular version.

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 Post subject: Spelling Error
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:05 pm 
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It is a great card and article, and all I have to offer is a request to fix this spelling mistake:

"For those obsessed with silent computing, adding a high-end graphics card without some kind of quiet, third party cooler, is propesterous."

I would suggest "preposterous" and a spell-checker . . . :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:38 pm 
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I've had the GTX 260 for about two weeks now. From my experience with the specific card I have (link) it's pretty much in line with the SPCR article. Upon turning on the system the fan is very noticeable however it quickly ramps down thereafter. During normal desktop use and productivity the fan stays unnoticeable in my specific setup. Of course once gaming is brought into the equation the fan ramps up quite allot. Mostly during a session of Crysis Warhead, shortly after getting into the game the fan becomes very loud, however with all the audio coming at you when playing games they tend to drown out the sound to some extent. I personally use headphones when using my computer at all times, so the fan's noise when it speeds up doesn't bug me as much, although if I listen for it specifically I can easily pin point it.

Edit: One thing I will note, due to the length of the card make sure your case can accommodate it. I made the mistake of buying it as an upgrade before thinking about it. I ended up having to cut into the hard drive cage in my Antec P150, one space is unusable now for holding a drive, but the card at least fits lol.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:59 am 
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What?! The GTX260 doesn't fit in the Solo?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:16 am 
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WR304 wrote:
Something else that's worth mentioning is what the temperature response curve for the stock cooler is. In Rivatuner v2.11 you can see what this is by looking at the "Low Level System Settings Tab"

For my GTX260 card the settings are:

Duty Cycle Min: 40%
Duty Cycle Max: 100%
T Min: 60
T Range: 32
T Operating: 78
T Low Limit: 65
T High Limit: 85



You can change the automatic fan speed settings using Rivatuner. :)

Have a look at this tutorial explaining how to do it:

http://www.vaguetech.com/index.php?page ... advcontrol

http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=270679

I've changed my card to run at 30% duty cycle whilst idling. That gets the idle fan speed down to 1000rpm approx, but it can still ramp up normally when the card is in 3D mode.

That's a lot quieter, although the idle GPU temperature has increased from 43c approx to 48c approx. I tried 25% duty cycle (800rpm) but it didn't seem enough to control the GPU temperature. :(

To fit these large cards into an Antec P150 or Antec Solo case you have to cut away part of the hard drive bay first. :)


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