We have built a system inside a Lian Li chassis with no case fans and have used a fanless cooler on our CPU. The motherboard is also passively cooled. This gives us a build with almost completely passive cooling and it means we can measure noise of just the graphics card inside the system when we run looped 3dMark tests.
We measure from a distance of around 1 meter from the closed chassis and 4 foot from the ground to mirror a real world situation. Ambient noise in the room measures close to the limits of our sound meter at 28dBa. Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on only the video card. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.
As I mentioned in our Asus RX 480 Strix Gaming OC review a short while ago, these RX 480 reviews were delayed a little as we experienced some issues with the target temperature settings in AMD’s WattMan. From time to time on specific reboots the target temperature would switch from 65c to 75c and then vice versa. Sapphire confirmed an issue has been flagged with AMD regarding this.
All our testing was done with both 4GB and 8GB cards running at the 75c target temperature setting. Sometimes this required multiple reboots, or a fresh driver install. Sapphire confirmed their Nitro+ OC cards should be tested with the target temperature at the 75c threshold.
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
As mentioned above, we had some random issues with target temperature settings – we tested with the target temperature set at 75c via the driver. The noise level of both cards was very low, however if AMD’s Wattman set up a 75c target temperature setting, then the fans would spin much louder.
At idle, or under low load the fans disable, always a welcomed feature.