Cooling, Noise, and Power

My last batch of tests touches on all of the other areas of performance. These are also typically areas that the card manufacturers have more say in as well. The cooler design controls both the noise and cooling performance and overclocks effect the total power draw. Because of that, this is a great way to compare cards with similar performance or just cards with the same GPU. To start off the tests I tested the Aorus GTX 1060 9Gbps in 3DMark on loop while documenting the wattage pulled with a Kill-A-Watt. Here the card did extremely well. The stock-clocked reference GTX 1060 was the only card to come in lower. The overclock did add 23 more watts, but this wasn’t enough to even put the card in the same league as the power draw of the RX 480 and RX 580’s with the Sapphire card pulling 84 more watts.

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The next tests were focused on the overall noise of the card. Most cards, including the Aorus, turn their fans off during low load so in those situations the card makes no noise at all. So I turned the fan speed to 50% and 100% to get an idea of the range of noise the card is capable of. As you can see in the graph below, the Aorus with the fans at 100% was still down nearly at the bottom compared to everything else tested. The fans both max out at 2606 RPM so that helped but even at 50% the card ran quietly.

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For the last tests, I focused on cooling performance. We already took a look at Gigabytes 3 heatpipe design with the large copper plate that covers the GPU and vRAM so I was really curious to see how it would perform. I did two tests here, one with the stock fan settings to see what the out of the box performance would look like. Then I tested again with the fans cranked up to 100% to find out what the cards max cooling capacity would be. At the stock fan speeds, the Aorus came in at the bottom of our charts with am impressive 57 degrees while looping Valley Benchmark. This was lower than all of the GTX 1060’s previously tested as well as the RX 480’s and RX 580’s. Cranking the fans up dropped things down another 17 degrees and kept the card at the bottom of the charts. The GTX 1060 as a whole isn’t really a hot card and as we saw before the power draw was low, but the cooling from Gigabyte was also impressive and should leave room for more overclocking.

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