Page 12 - Power Usage, Temperature, Noise
Using a wall power measurement device, I noted down the total system power consumption with the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 970 4GB installed. Do keep in mind this includes every component of the system -- including power supply efficiency loss -- and not just the graphics card only. Also, the load conditions cannot be directly compared against this base value, since the entire system is under load, and as such the CPU will also contribute to the increased power usage to some extent. With that in mind, the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 970 4GB's power consumption reached a maximum of 314W load from 74W idle -- a difference of 240W. Gigabyte likes to promote their lower RDS(on) MOSFETs, quality solid capacitors, 2oz copper PCB, and low power loss ferrite core design. In the past, I have seen a difference in power consumption as much as 10W against reference cards with regular components. The above results were obtained when running 3DMark's Fire Strike Extreme test, and your graphics card is not likely to see any higher loads, especially under normal usage. To be honest, you are not going to get anywhere near this under intense gaming sessions, so really -- this is just for interest's sake, haha.
For the purpose of this review, I left the fan on default settings, so its speed is allowed to vary accordingly with temperature. I also wanted to see what the card is capable of doing inside my low airflow chassis configuration. Most people should get better results in real life than our hot running test bench environment. With that in mind, I left the stock paste intact for testing before taking it apart for the photo session on Page 3. Its thermal interface material was applied properly from the factory, which we have seen during disassembly. Even under our intense Furmark load tests, the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 970 4GB peaked out at only 58c; a figure that is simply amazing, thanks to the 600W WindForce 3X cooler and the GM204's low TDP. It is important to point out this is the worst case scenario -- you will not hit this temperature under normal gaming sessions. Most cases should have better airflow than my configuration anyway.
As far as noise is concerned, while this is very subjective, I am quite a picky person on noise, and the loudest component in my entire system is probably my Noctua ultra low noise fans -- and they are not loud at all. In my opinion, there is no objective measurement of noise, as measuring sound pressure level is often impractical, because human ears are more sensitive to some frequencies than others. On a scale from 0-10 where 0 is silent and 10 is the loudest, I would rate the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 970 4GB to be at 3.0/10 at 34% fan speed. 34% is the default fan speed during idle, and this is also the lowest you can set it to. It does not produce a significant amount of noise until it goes above 50%, but it will be nice if it can be tuned to around 20-25% to appeal to silent PC enthusiasts. The fan will kick up to at full load, unless set otherwise. On a scale from 0-10, where 0 is silent and 10 is the loudest, I would rate the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 970 4GB to be at 7.0/10 at 100% fan speed. Seriously, it is pretty loud at that speed -- but at least the fan runs smoothly. If you want your card to be appropriate in a quiet PC configuration, keep the fan running at minimum. Once you bump it past that magic mark, you are going to hear it quite clearly. That said, as with all Gigabyte WindForce cards I have used in the past, when you are not gaming, it is pretty darn quiet. The G1 Gaming GTX 970 is a little louder than the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 2GB at idle, but I am just being picky here.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Architecture
3. A Closer Look, Installation, Test System
4. Benchmark: 3DMark
5. Benchmark: Battlefield 4
6. Benchmark: BioShock Infinite
7. Benchmark: Crysis 3
8. Benchmark: GRID 2
9. Benchmark: Metro: Last Light
10. Benchmark: Thief
11. Benchmark: Unigine: Heaven 4.0
12. Power Usage, Temperature, Noise
13. Overclocking and Conclusion