|ASUS Radeon EAH5870 V2 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Sunday, 13 June 2010|
Page 17 of 20
ASUS EAH5870 V2 Temperature
It's hard to know exactly when the first video card got overclocked, and by whom. What we do know is that it's hard to imagine a computer enthusiast or gamer today that doesn't overclock their hardware. Of course, not every video card has the head room. Some products run so hot that they can't suffer any higher temperatures than they generate straight from the factory. This is why we measure the operating temperature of the video card products we test.
To begin testing, I use GPU-Z to measure the temperature at idle as reported by the GPU. Next I use FurMark 1.7.0 to generate maximum thermal load and record GPU temperatures at high-power 3D mode. The ambient room temperature remained stable at a very high 30C throughout testing. I know this is much higher than the average American household, but we had a heat wave before I got the central A/C cranked up this year... Besides, I know some of you are not living in iceboxes and would be interested in how well the new cooler would handle high ambient temps.
The ASUS EAH5870 V2 video card recorded 40C in idle 2D mode, and increased to 80C after 20 minutes of stability testing in full 3D mode, at 1920x1200 resolution, and the maximum MSAA setting of 8X. With the fan set on Automatic, the speed rose from 21% (1025 RPM) at idle to 40% (2550 RPM) under full load. I then set the fan speed manually, using Catalyst Control Center, to 100% (4330 RPM) and ran the load test again, and the GPU only reached a maximum temperature of 66C.
80C is a good result for temperature stress testing, especially with such a powerful GPU, stock fan settings, a high ambient of 30C, and fan speeds controlled by the card. It's higher than I like to run my cards, but I'm used to seeing video card manufacturers keeping the fan speeds low and letting GPU temps get into this region. I rarely do my benchmarking tests with fans set on Automatic, preferring to give the GPU or CPU the best shot at surviving the day intact. With an integrated temperature controller in play though, I want to show how the manufacturer programmed the system, and ASUS kept the fan speed low. 66C is obviously a better result, and running the fan on Manual at 100% is not unusual or unwarranted when running such a punishing benchmark as FurMark.
Load temps never got higher than 58C when running continuous gaming benchmarks at 75% fan speed, so the cooling system definitely does the job, and there is a lot of temperature headroom left for the GPU. The noise at 100% speed was pretty excessive, and had the typical sound characteristic for a squirrel cage blower wheel. For me, this type of fan noise is more irritating than what an axial fan produces, but I'm willing to accept it as long as it's a necessary part of a design that pushes all the heated air out the back of the case. It was quieter than the reference design, and had a lower pitch, which is good, but I wouldn't like leaving it there while gaming unless I was wearing closed headphones. For normal usage patterns, I'd leave the fan settings on Auto. For gaming, I would invest some time creating a more aggressive, custom fan profile in SmartDoctor.
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 an 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 or video game, and it does so with consistency every time. While FurMark is not a true benchmark tool for comparing different video cards, it still works well to compare one product against itself using different drivers or clock speeds, or 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.
In our next section, we discuss electrical power consumption and learn how well (or poorly) each video card will impact your utility bill...