Cooling, Noise, and Power
The last section of testing really focuses on all of the areas that companies like Sapphire have a bigger role in beyond just cranking up the clock speeds. I like to take a look at things like power usage, noise, and temperatures to get an idea of how cards with the same GPU compare. Right now the Sapphire card is the only RX580 tested, but in the near future, there will be more.
To start things off let's take a look at power usage. This is an area where the RX480 Nitro+ struggled, it pulled a lot more juice than other RX480’s. With even more of an overclock and now with two power plugs I wasn’t really surprised that this number went up a little. Now keep in mind these are the overall numbers for our entire system while in 3DMark so it includes CPU usage as well. So at 352 watts, it is high up our charts but it’s not like you are going to need a 1000 watt power supply to power things. But keep in mind it is pulling 20 more watts than even the GTX 1080 FE and only the GTX 1080 Ti is pulling more out of the cards tested.
Next, I wanted to check out overall fan noise. To do this I tested 50 and 100 percent fan speeds using our new decibel meter at a distance of 18 inches. The Nitro+ like most modern cards doesn’t run its fans most of the time so idle noise would just be our room level so I force the two fan speeds to get a range. The RX580 Nitro did extremely well at 100% but was a little loud at 50%. This was in line with the max fan speeds I saw as well with the card running nearly the lowest overall RPM when compared to the other cards tested.
The last test was to take a look at cooling temps. I like to take a look at two aspects, with the stock fan profile and then again with the fans cranked all the way up. The stock profiles are tuned to balance temperature and noise so the second test shows what the cooler is capable of if pushed. To heat things up I use Valley Benchmark for a medium load to replicate in game temps while being loopable. So with the stock fan profile, the RX580 Nitro+ fell in the middle of our chart right in the same area of the previous generation Sapphire cards. This is a little higher than I would prefer but this is also going to be a hotter running GPU as well given even higher clocks and a high power draw. When the fans were turned up though the new larger cooler design really did well running at 50 degrees under load. That’s a big drop and put it down lower than last years RX480 Nitro+ in the same test.