Cooling, Noise, and Power
Along with new game benchmarks we also changed how we handle cooling and noise testing and added power usage testing as well. For cooling testing we switched to the Heaven 4.0 benchmark and we let it run for a half hour under the same “extreme” preset that we do on the Heaven 4.0 benchmark. This will warm the card up in a similar way to what you should expect to see in the average game. In this case we have tested the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition up against the reference design. Considering the MSI card is overclocked it really has a disadvantage when it comes to heat generation. Even with that, the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition came in at 20 degrees less than the reference design. This is much like what we saw with the GTX 660 and is still just as impressive this time around. The Twin Frozr design does a great job of keeping things cool.
For noise testing we changed things up as well to a less subjective test using a decibel meter. We hold the meter three inches away from the fan side of the card on an open test bench. Your experience in a closed case should be lower. We do the test at an idle state as well as with the fan turned up to 100%. This is basically a minimum and maximum situation, your in-game noise levels will fall in between depending on how much load the game puts on the card itself. The twin fan design of the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition came in handy for Idle noise when compared to the reference design coming in at 61.8 decibels compared to 63 on the reference card. At full load the two fans did hurt things with it putting out 74.3 decibels compared to 69.8. My personal experience was that the MSI was quieter in game generally because it kept the card cooler without having to spool the fans up, but if you do need to turn them up you better cover your ears!
Our new power consumption testing uses the same Heaven 4.0 benchmark to put a load on the card while watching for peak power draw using a Kill-a-watt hooked to our test bench. The total power usage is going to include the power needed to run our motherboard, 3960X CPU, hard drive, SSD, and water cooling on top of the video card itself. Idle loads are done the same way but out of game in windows at idle.
You would expect the power draw from the two GTX 650 Ti Boost cards to be very close, but with the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition sporting an overclock and a two fan cooler design I wasn’t surprised when its power usage was higher. Under load (red) we saw 344 at the power plug for our test bench compared to the 319 of the reference design. Idle loads (blue) were also similar with the MSI pulling 213 and the reference card pulling 201.