Page 12 - Power Usage, Temperature, Noise
As a base reference, I have included a measurement for the entire system without the graphics card installed. Please note that 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. With that in mind, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 570 1280MB SOC's power consumption reached a maximum of 380W load from 79W idle -- a difference of 301W. Gigabyte likes to promote their lower RDS(on) MOSFETs, quality solid capacitors, 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 Furmark's stress test, and your graphics card is not likely to see any higher loads -- especially under normal usage. Even when we were benchmarking with Unigine: Heaven v2.5, the power consumption never exceeded 265W. This really tells you something!
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, and I have noticed little performance difference between what Gigabyte has included with the card and my Arctic Cooling MX-2 paste applied afterwards. Secondly, even under our intense Furmark load tests, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 570 1GB OC peaked out at 78c; a figure still within heat design limits. 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. On a side note, when I was playing Counter-Strike: Source, I just left the fan capped at 40% maximum, and the temperature stayed at only 70c. Now that's impressive.
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. You can see my test configuration on the third page of this review. 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 GeForce GTX 570 1280MB SOC to be at 1.5/10 at 40% fan speed. 40% is the minimum possible fan speed; some program reports that as about 2000rpm, but I question the accuracy of this figure. In my opinion, the fan can run smoother at that speed, but you can't hear anything once the case door is shut. The fan will kick up to 100% 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 GeForce GTX 570 1280MB SOC to be at 5.5/10 at 100% fan speed. It is somewhat loud, but the fans are relatively smooth running at high speed. Once you push it past the 45-50% mark, it will begin to be audible with a quiet PC configuration.
1. Introduction, Specifications, Bundle
2. NVIDIA GTX 570 Architecture
3. A Closer Look, Test System
4. Benchmark: 3DMark 11
5. Benchmark: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
6. Benchmark: Call of Duty: Black Ops
7. Benchmark: Colin McRae: DiRT 2
8. Benchmark: Far Cry 2
9. Benchmark: Just Cause 2
10. Benchmark: Metro 2033
11. Benchmark: Unigine: Heaven v2.5
12. Power Usage, Temperature, Noise
13. Overclocking and Conclusion