Cooling, Noise, and Power
For the last batch of testing, I focus on all of the areas that are more specific to the card and company than just on the GPU type and clock speed. These typically end up being the main things to help pick our what specific card you want once you know what GPU you plan on getting. To start off my testing I pulled out our Kill a Watt and tested the GTS’s power usage. Well officially this is the total power draw of our entire test system, but you get the idea. I was really worried about power with AMD giving the base RX580 a big overclock over the RX480 and the Sapphire really pulled a lot so it was nice to see that the GTS, while not great, still pulled 11 watts less than the Nitro+. I would still consider this to be a lot of power, especially when the GTX 1080 is still 9 watts lower, but there you go.
Next, I take a look at fan noise. Now keep in mind these results aren’t really what you will experience day to day, these are specific results with the fan set to 50% and 100% to test the overall noise range of the card. The GTS like every other card turns its fans off at low usage so it will be silent at times but I want to see what the noise will be like if the fans end up having to turn up. The end result was even when the fans are running at 100% it is in the bottom half of the charts. The 50% numbers were even better than that. I went ahead and also included fan speeds as well just for comparison.
Then for the last test, I wanted to check out cooling performance. The problem is, with fan profiles it's not just cooling performance, they also have noise in mind. So I tested the stock fan profile to see where it would get in temps and then tested again with the fans cranked all the way up to get an idea of overall cooling capacity. The delta between the two is how much extra room the cooler has for overclocking. So at stock fan settings, the XFX ran much cooler than the Sapphire 580 did at 66 degrees. With things turned up to 100% though they both came in tied at 53 degrees. With the Sapphire card, I complained about the fan profile but I think XFX hit the nail right on the head.