|ZOTAC GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 30 June 2008|
Page 16 of 19
ZOTAC GTX 280 AMP! Temperatures
This section is probably the most popular for me, not so much as a reviewer but more for my enthusiast side. Benchmark tests are always nice, so long as you care about comparing one product to another. But when you're an overclocker, or merely a hardware enthusiast who likes to tweak things on occasion, there's no substitute for good information.
Benchmark Reviews has a very popular guide written on How To Overclock the NVIDIA GeForce Series video card, but it was published shortly after the 8th generation of GeForce products was launched. Currently we are preparing for a more updated article, with additional information on shader overclocking and temperature control as the newest GeForce products are made available. Once published you can expect more detailed information than what is shown below, as for now the temperatures depicted are GPU core temperatures at idle and under load.
To begin my testing, I used FurMark v1.4.0 record GPU temperatures at idle and again at high-power 3D mode. The ambient room temperature was a comfortable 22.0°C and the inner-case temperature hovered around 34°C. The ZOTAC ZT-X28E3LA-FCP GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition video card recorded 45°C in idle 2D mode, and increased to 86°C in full 3D mode.
FurMark is an OpenGL benchmark that heavily stresses and overheats the graphics card with fur rendering. The benchmark offers several options allowing the user to tweak the rendering: fullscreen / windowed mode, MSAA selection, window size, duration. The benchmark also includes a GPU Burner mode (stability test). FurMark requires an OpenGL 2.0 compliant graphics card with lot of GPU power! As a oZone3D.net partner, Benchmark Reviews offers a free download of FurMark to our visitors.
FurMark does do two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor higher than any other application of video game, and it does so with consistency every time. While I have proved that Furmark is not a true benchmark tool for comparing video cards, it would still work very well to compare one product against itself at different stages. FurMark would be very useful for comparing the same GPU against itself using different drivers or clock speeds, of testing the stability of a GPU as it raises the temperatures higher than any program. But in the end, it's a rather limited tool.
I must admit that 86°C is not the coolest-running GeForce product I have ever tested. Since the metal underplate acts to dissipate heat, you don't really want to touch it after loaded use. Keeping in mind that GT200 is an entirely new graphics processor, you can relate this product launch back to the day G80 processors launched in the GeForce 8800 series. What this means is that the graphics processor will undergo a some level of fabrication refinement over time, and new GPU will be binned for faster products, similar to how the GeForce 8800 Ultra was one year ago. Adding to the improvements that refinement will undoubtedly bring, you can expect cooling to become improved with more efficient die processes.
The most favored feature of past upper-level GeForce designs has been the focused exhaust design. Heated air recirculating around inside the computer case is could reduce stability for your sensitively overclocked computer system. While 86°C is considerably hot under full load, and more than ten degrees hotter than the 9800 GTX which means that there's some room for improvement in the cooling department. But here's a little fact you probably didn't know: the GT200 GPU is designed operate safely up to its 105°C thermal threshold. What happens after that? Believe it or not, if the GPU exceeds this temperature the clock speed will automatically be dialed down to avoid damage.