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, during gaming and finally under a full load.
The AMD Radeon HD 7850 topped out at just 67C in Furmark, which was much cooler than the Radeon HD 7870 as it topped out at 73C. The Radeon HD 6970 hit 82C in Furmark, so you can see that AMD has greatly improved cooling performance on the Radeon HD 7800 series. These cards run cooler and quieter than previous generation cards.
We recently upgraded our sound meter to an Extech sound level meter with ±1.5dB accuracy that meets Type 2 standards. This meter ranges from 35dB to 90dB on the low measurement range, which is perfect for us as our test room usually averages around 38dB. We measure the sound level two inches above the corner of the motherboard with ‘A’ frequency weighting. The microphone wind cover is used to make sure no wind is blowing across the microphone, which would seriously throw off the data.
The AMD Radeon HD 7800 series had respectable noise levels and were on par with what we expected. The AMD Radeon HD 7870 was 4 dBA louder than the Radeon HD 7850 in Furmark as it ran hotter and the fan needed to spin faster. The observed fan speeds are shown below.
|Radeon HD 7870||Radeon HD 7850|
|Idle||1000 RPM||975 RPM|
|Furmark||1925 RPM||1590 RPM|
|HAWX II||1440 RPM||1260 RPM|