The tests were performed in a controlled air conditioned room with temperatures maintained at a constant 24c – a comfortable environment for the majority of people reading this. These results are taken with the system built inside the Cooler Master CM 690 II which offers great airflow.
Idle temperatures were measured after sitting at the desktop for 30 minutes. Load measurements were acquired by playing Crysis Warhead for 30 minutes and measuring the peak temperature. We also have included Furmark results, recording maximum temperatures throughout a 30 minute stress test.
Both cards peak under 80c which is a solid figure to achieve. The GTX460 FTW runs between 3c and 7c degrees cooler than the reference HD5870 board, even in its massively overclocked state.
Return to ambient is a feature we have recently added to our reviews … we measure the time it takes for a solution to return to idle temperatures, immediately after full load. The faster the time (less), the better the cooler – for example a Noctua NH D14 cooler will return an Intel processor to idle temperatures much faster than a reference cooler. This is a good indication of how quickly a heatsink can dissipate heat.
The copper heatpipe cooler design helps to ensure the card returns to under 50c in 8 seconds, which is reasonably quick considering the drop from 76c initially. It takes a further 9 seconds to return to the idle state. A total of 17 seconds is not bad especially considering the massive overclocks on the card.