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MSI GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z 11GB Review

Our acoustic measurements are less precise on this mid-range test system, the noise floor of the totally quiet testing room is 34 dBA as measured with a Benetech GM1351 Digital Sound Level Meter.

We take our measurements with the decibel meter on the top and middle section of the case, overhanging the side panel (PSU side, not Motherboard tray side) by exactly 1 inch to avoid any airflow pressure coming from the exhausting H100i V2.

The underlying noise level of the system, emitted by all the non-GPU hardware combined, is 35 dBa thus anything above this level can be attributed to the graphics cards. The PSU is passive for the entire power output range we tested all graphics cards in and all CPU and System fans have a fixed fan speed completely isolating them from any changes in temperature across the system.

Noise levels were measured after 5 minutes of load under three scenario: Furmark, Unigine Heaven and desktop idle in sequential order with 2 minutes downtime in between each test.

It’s not the quietest graphics card on test but it is among the quietest GTX 1080 Tis available. The MSI Lightning Z is only marginally louder than the Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Ti, to the tune of 1 dBA, and is roughly as noisy as the Palit Super JetStream and MSI Gaming X GTX 1080 Tis.

For reference the load fan speed percentage was between 50 to 55% and the RPM read-out at approximately 1400RPM.

Our only gripe is that within about 2 minutes of going under load the fan spins up really fast (approximately 2200RPM) for 2 or 3 seconds before ramping back down to normal levels. We’re not sure why and it seems like a vBIOS glitch that ought to be ironed out at a later date.

EDIT: MSI replied to our fan speed concern above on the 10th July 2017 and they said this was implemented on purpose.

  1. The function helps remove the dust on the fan blade and fins of thermal module.
  2. It also helps warm up the bearing of fan and make it smooth while rotating.

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