Since video card temperatures and the heat generated by next-generation cards have become an area of concern among enthusiasts and gamers, we want to take a closer look at how the graphics cards do at idle and under a full load.
AMD Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card Idle Temperature:
AMD Radeon HD 6970 2GB Video Card Idle Temperature:
As you can see from the screen shot above, the idle state of the Radeon HD 6900 series drops the GPU core clock frequency down to 250MHz and the memory clock down to 150MHz to help conserve power and lower temperatures. At idle on an open test bench the Radeon HD 6950 video card temperature was observed at 44C and the Radeon HD 6970 was at 46C. The fan speeds on the cards were both at 24%, but we noticed that both cards had different RPMs on the fan. On the Radeon HD 6950 the fan spun at ~1,080 RPM at idle and with our sound meter we were seeing 52dB from about six inches away. The Radeon HD 6970 at idle had the fan spinning at 1220RPM and we noticed that the card was slightly louder at 53dB.
We fired up FurMark and ran the stability at 640×480, which was
enough to put the GPU core at 100% load in order to get the highest
temperature possible. This application also charts the temperature
results so you can see how the temperature rises and levels off, which
is very nice. The fans on the video cards were
left on auto during temperature testing. When we hit the space bar to stop the rendering the
AMD Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card Load Temperature:
AMD Radeon HD 6970 2GB Video Card Load Temperature:
The GPU fan got up to 2629RPM during temperature testing on the AMD Radeon HD 6970 when the card hit 92C and at 67dB it was definitely audible over the CPU coolers fan. The AMD Radeon HD 6950 peaked at 83C and the Radeon HD 6870 peaked at 92C. It should be noted that AMD PowerTune is kicking on and limiting these cards from getting any hotter.
You can see the throttling taking place in Furmark if you leave GPU-Z open and look at the GPU Core Clock. You can see that the core clock is jumping all over the place when Furmark is running.
What happens if you run a game? When we played Just Cause 2 we were able to get the AMD Radeon HD 6970 very hot and extremely loud. In this shot you can see what happened when we fired up GPU-Z after playing Just Cause 2, sat on the menu and then we closed the game again. We hit 97C and the fan went up to 3942RPM or 57% while the game was running. None of the other games got this hot or loud, but when in CrossFire we saw the Radeon HD 6950 hit 95C as well. We felt that this was something that was worth pointing out to our readers.