|NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GF106 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 13 September 2010|
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GeForce GTS 450 Temperatures
Benchmark tests are always nice, so long as you care about comparing one product to another. But when you're an overclocker, gamer, or merely a PC 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 Overclocking Video Cards, which gives detailed instruction on how to tweak a graphics cards for better performance. Of course, not every video card has overclocking head room. Some products run so hot that they can't suffer any higher temperatures than they already do. This is why we measure the operating temperature of the video card products we test.
To begin my testing, I use GPU-Z to measure the temperature at idle as reported by the GPU. Next I use FurMark's "Torture Test" to generate maximum thermal load and record GPU temperatures at high-power 3D mode. The ambient room temperature remained at a stable 20°C throughout testing. FurMark does two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor higher than applications of video games realistically could, and it does so with consistency every time. Furmark works great for testing the stability of a GPU as the temperature rises to the highest possible output. The temperatures discussed below using FurMark are absolute maximum values, and not representative of real-world performance.
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB Video Card Temperatures
Maximum GPU thermal thresholds have varied between Fermi GPUs. The GF100 graphics processor (GTX 480/470/465) could withstand 105°C, while the GF104 was a little more sensitive at 104°C. The GF106 apparently suffers from heat intolerance, and begins to downclock the GeForce GTS 450 graphics processor at 95°C. Thankfully, our tests on two different GeForce GTS 450 products indicate that these video cards operate at stone cold temperatures in comparison. Sitting idle at the Windows 7 desktop with a 20°C ambient room temperature, the GeForce GTS 450 rested silently at 29°C. After roughly ten minutes of torture using FurMark's stress test, fan noise was minimal and temperatures plateau around 65°C.
Most new graphics cards from NVIDIA and ATI will expel heated air out externally through exhaust vents, which does not increase the internal case temperature. Our test system is an open-air chassis that allows the video card to depend on its own cooling solution for proper thermal management. Most gamers and PC hardware enthusiasts who use an aftermarket computer case with intake and exhaust fans will usually create a directional airflow current and lower internal temperatures a few degrees below the measurements we've recorded. To demonstrate this, we've built a system to illustrate the...
Traditional tower-style computer cases position internal hardware so that heat is expelled out through the back of the unit while modern video cards reduce operating temperature with active cooling solutions. This is better than nothing, but there's a fundamental problem: heat rises. Using the transverse mount design on the SilverStone Raven-2 chassis, Benchmark Reviews re-tested the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 video card to determine the 'best-case' scenario.
Positioned vertically, the GeForce GTS 450 rested at 29°C, which is identical to temperatures measured in a regular computer case. Pushed to abnormally high levels using the FurMark torture test, NVIDIA's GeForce GTS 450 operated at 66°C, one degree higher than a standard tower case. After some investigation, it seems that the reference thermal cooling solution is better suited to a horizontal orientation. Although the well-designed Raven-2 computer case offers additional cooling features and has helped to make a difference in other video cards, namely the GeForce GTX 480 and SLI sets, this wasn't the case for GTS 450... not that it matters with temperatures this low.
In the traditional (horizontal) position, the slightly angled heat-pipe rods use gravity and sintering to draw cooled liquid back down to the base. When positioned in a transverse mount case such as the SilverStone Raven-2, the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 heatsink loses optimal effective properties in the lowest heat-pipe rod, because gravity takes keeps the cool liquid in the lowest portion of the rod within the finsink.