|XFX Radeon R7950 Black Edition Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 30 January 2012|
Page 14 of 18
XFX 7950 DD 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 headroom. 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.
At the start of the test, I measure the idle temperature of the card with the card sitting at the Windows desktop, using the GPU-Z utility. Next, I start FurMark's stress test and let it run until the temperature curve flattens and the temperature has not varied more than 1 degree in the last five minutes.
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.
Equipped with a very energy-efficient 28nm GPU and an enhanced vapor chamber cooler, the R7950 Black Edition Double Dissipation returns temperatures a good 30 degrees lower under stress than I've seen from an NVIDIA GTX 580 card...and that's when the card is overclocked beyond its already overclocked specs!
It's interesting to note that the overclocked load temperatures are only a single degree higher than the standard load temperatures. The XFX R7950 video card seems to have a different, and more aggressive, fan profile than the XFX R7970 I reviewed. Under load, that R7970's fans only reached 49% of their maximum speed, while the R7950's fans hit 66% of their maximum speed. The R7950 is noticeably noisier than its big brother under load, but the payoff is very low temperatures.
Note: After we completed testing on this card, XFX notified us that retail cards will have a new BIOS with a less aggressive fan profile, although the BIOS we tested will be available as a download for users who want the lowest possible temperatures. With the new BIOS the temperatures and noise should be closer to those we recorded with the XFX R7970.