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. It isn’t a real world situation to be measuring with a case panel off only a few centimeters away from a video card. Our noise figures may therefore be lower than other publications who record at closer distances, or without a fully closed case muting the noise.
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.
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 we mentioned earlier in the review, AMD didn’t opt to use a 240 mm radiator with dual fans, instead using a single fan on a 120mm radiator. Under extended load the water temperature heats up and the fan has to work harder. After 1 hour of gaming, the noise levels rated at 37dBa. This is clearly noticeable and far from quiet.
We do think AMD should have opted for a larger radiator to cool the dual cores. The single 120mm radiator does seem to struggle under extended load situations.