|PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 01 September 2010|
Page 17 of 21
PNY GTX 460 XLR8 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, while the inner-case temperature hovered around 34°C.
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 are absolute maximum values, and not representative of real-world performance.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB Video Card Temperatures
Beginning with the stock-speed NVIDIA reference design, the 1GB GeForce GTX 460 kept to a cool 26°C at idle and produced no audible fan noise. After a lengthy FurMark stress test warmed the GF104 GPU to a mere 65°C, fan noise was still silent and nearly inaudible. Compared to other Fermi products, the GeForce GTX 460 is a chilly alternative. NVIDIA-supplied product specifications state that the GeForce GTX 460 has a maximum GPU thermal threshold of 104°C. We've noted that this new GF104 threshold is one degree less than GF100 Fermi products.
In a room with 20°C ambient temperature, the PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC produced a near-ambient 27°C at idle a mere 68°C under load. Overclockers should keep in mind that the PNY XLR8 is an external-exhausting video card, which means that heated air is discharged outside of the computer case and improves system component stability.
PNY GTX 460 XLR8 Black Box Temperatures
Most new graphics cards from NVIDIA and ATI will expel heated air out 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. 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 PNY GTX 460 XLR8 video card to determine the 'best-case' scenario.
Sitting idle at the Windows 7 desktop with a 20°C ambient room temperature, the GeForce GTX 460 rested at 28°C, which was actually one degree higher than measured in a regular computer case. Pushed to abnormally high levels using the FurMark torture test, the PNY GeForce GTX460-OC operated at 70°C with a very quiet cooling fan. 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, this wasn't the case with the XLR8 model... not that it matters at this low of a temperature.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Thermal Cooling Solution Heatsink
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 reference PNY GTX 460 XLR8 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.