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. The single fan design of the Gigabyte HD 7790 1Gb OC didn’t outperform the dual fan XFX card that we tested yesterday but the difference between the two was only two degrees, that isn’t too bad and is still less than the GTX 650 Ti Boost reference card.
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. Idle loads are done the same way but out of game in windows at idle. At idle the Gigabyte HD 7790 1 GB OC is the second quietest card tested at 61.7 decibels, you would think with a single large fan that it would outperform the dual fan XFX design. Where it did excel at was the total noise output at 100% with an impressive 66.3 decibels. This isn’t the best we have seen but is considerably better than what we saw from the GTX 650 Ti Boost’s and the XFX R7790 as well.
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. Our results for the Gigabyte HD 7790 1 GB OC were interesting. We came in 8 watts higher at idle and 11 watts higher under load when compared to the HD 7790 based XFX card. Considering this card has the same core clock and even a single fan cooling design you would think it would come in below. This just goes to show you that there still is a little bit of variance in all of the cards that we see. We still are seeing less power consumption than both of the GTX 650 Ti Boost’s that we tested.