Page 10 - Noise Factor and Conclusion
In our temperature tests, we've simulated the mark in a standard working environment to reflect upon real life temperatures. This is based on the heat dissipation and airflow distribution of the Zalman VF-830 heatsink/fan on the Gigabyte GeForce 8800GT TurboForce 512MB graphics card.
The Zalman cooler installed on the Gigabyte 8800GT TurboForce does quite a decent job. Even in our 1.2V overclocking as we've completed in the previous page demonstrated adequate cooling. At factory clocks, the Gigabyte 8800GT TurboForce doesn't run particularly hot at all; from its low power consumption to the Zalman aluminum heatsink/fan with copper heatpipes, the thermal design of this card is generally very good. The flower-shaped cooler brings air directly over the G92 core with a relatively larger fin surface area than a cramped slot cooler. The way it is designed also spreads out the air to bring airflow over the memory and VRMs, although those components, mentioning once more, does not have any heatsinks over it for direct cooling. The memory temperature is kept to a decent 38c idling, however.
With the Zalman VF-830 heatsink/fan installed on the Gigabyte 8800GT TurboForce, I actually expected the fan to be fairly quiet -- because it doesn't really need high RPMs for effective heat dissipation. However, it seems that out of the box, the fan control is not done very well. From an acoustic and subjective scale from 0-10 where 0 is silent and 10 being the loudest, I would rate the Gigabyte 8800GT TurboForce's cooler to be at 6.0/10 under idle conditions. It's much louder than NVIDIA's stock cooler in idle conditions -- noise from the fan's motor at high RPMs can clear be heard. The fan doesn't spin up under load; even if it does the change is not quite evident at a distance as there's no automatic fan control as far as I know. Under maximum load, I would rate the stock cooler to be also 6.0/10 -- almost as loud acoustically as a stock NVIDIA cooler under load on a 8800GT. The bottom line is, the board lacks the circuitry for automatic fan control, so even editing the BIOS on the card won't make a difference.
We've said it once, and now we want to say it again. NVIDIA's G92 based 8800GT is nothing but a total success; and this trend has not changed for the last few months since its initial release. With its competitiveness against the G92 8800GTS, and to some extent even the new G92 based 9800GTX (Evidence shows that it's not much more than a simple overclocked 8800GTS G92, however) -- these cards create a new definition for price to performance. But we can say that with any reference NVIDIA 8800GT cards from any manufacturer. Gigabyte's 8800GT TurboForce adds a big twist to the whole story. With an improved, non-reference shortened printed circuit board, excellent quality components, as well as the addition of features beyond NVIDIA specifications such as its four phase power design -- the Gigabyte 8800GT TurboForce is certainly a card you will grow to appreciate. And if you want to go for some hardcore overclocking, go right ahead -- Gigabyte's included software with voltage adjustment unleashes some insane overclocking potential. I would like to complain about a few things though. The fan is simply too loud -- you'll have to find your own way to hard-mod it to run at lower RPMs. There should also be cooling for memory -- and it would also be nice if Gigabyte clocked the memory on this card at Samsung's 1000MHz rather than downclocked to 920MHz at BIOS level. Regardless, while the Gigabyte GeForce 8800GT TurboForce is not necessarily the fastest 8800GT out of the box in the market today, you can easily overclock this card enough to make it heck of a performance monster.
Special thanks to Angela over at Gigabyte for making this review possible.
Starting from April 30, 2007, Number Ratings has been dropped for motherboards, RAM, and graphics cards. This is to ensure the most appropriate ratings reflected without the limits of using numbers. Everything else will continue using the Number Rating System.
More information in our Review Focus.
We've seen many reference 8800GT cards in the past -- but the Gigabyte 8800GT TurboForce is certainly a unique package -- not to mention absolutely insane overclocking. Just slow down the fan on the Zalman VF-830 with some implementation of fan control -- it's simply way too loud.
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1. Introduction, Specifications, Bundle
2. NVIDIA 8800GT Architecture
3. A Closer Look, Test System
4. Benchmark: FEAR
5. Benchmark: Prey
6. Benchmark: Half Life 2: Lost Coast
7. Benchmark: CS:Source HDR
8. Benchmark: 3DMark06
9. Power Usage, Overclocking
10. Noise Factor and Conclusion