We measure graphics card acoustic emissions in our test system while all other fans are disabled, leaving our Corsair H100i’s pump unit as the sole noise-producing component.
We measure at a distance of around 1m from the front of the test system and around 1m from the ground. The positioning of a graphics card’s AIO liquid cooler (if the card has one) will have a noticeable effect on the recorded sound level and the system’s perceived loudness.
Unfortunately the city-centre positioning of our test location creates a relatively high ambient noise level of a little over 40 dBa. This has an effect on the perceived loudness of each card at the lower end of the noise scale.
KitGuru noise guide
10dBA – Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refrigerator
50dBA – Normal Conversation
60dBA – Laughter
70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA – City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA – Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA – MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA – Orchestra
120dBA – Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA – Threshold of Pain
140dBA – Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA – Instant Perforation of eardrum
Asus’ card is noticeably quiet, even when the limitations of our testing environment are accounted for. I am glad to report that there was no significant coil whine from Asus’ R9 390X STRIX DC3 OC, so the Super Alloy Power II components are doing their job well.
Subjectively, Asus’ card is practically inaudible over the background noise at our test distance of 1m. Sitting closer to the card does allow the difference between the 0dB mode and load noise output to be heard, although it is not intrusive.
Personally, I would be happy to allow slightly higher noise output in order to reduce the GPU temperature under load. These fan speed levels were very tolerable, although they resulted in an 84C GPU temperature while gaming.