Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB OC Edition Video Card Review

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Temperature & Noise Testing

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.

Video Card Temps

We recorded temperatures during several scenarios on each of the cards we tested today and the benchmark results are shown above. The Sapphire HD 7950 3GB OC Edition had an idle temperature of 29 degrees, which is mighty impressive for being such a high-end enthusiast graphics card. The Dual-X GPU Cooler that SAPPHIRE is using with this card appears to be doing the job nicely. Firing up Furmark the card heated up to 63 and after running a few loops of the H.A.W.X. 2 benchmark the card peaked at just 53C. The GPU cooler on this card is simply amazing. It keeps the card nice and cool with the factory overclock and can easily handle a massive overclock. You’ll see more on the overclock in that section, which is the next page.

When we were testing the XFX and Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 video cards we noticed that they sounded completely different, so we used a sound meter to see what the difference was.

Video Card Noise Levels

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. We will be comparing the XFX and SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7950 models for this review.

Video Card Noise Levels

The SAPPHIRE HD 7950 Overclocked Edition video card performed excellent in audio testing.  We knew the card sounded quieter, but with the sound meter data we can see a huge difference. At idle the SAPPHIRE HD 7950 OC Edition came in at 41.9dB, which is 4.3dB quieter than the XFX R7950 Black Edition Double Dissipation card. At full load in Furmark, the SAPPHIRE card was 8.4dB quieter! Fan speed was obviously the culprit. The Sapphire branded card had the fans at 1200 RPM at idle and 1765 RPM at full load.  The XFX cards fans were running much faster, 1480 RPM at idle and 2175 RPM at full load.

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