Cooling Noise and Power
For my last few tests, rather than focusing on in game performance, I like to check out other aspects of performance. These are also the most important ways to differentiate the performance between cards that have the same GPU. To start things off I took a look at power usage. For this, I use our Kill-A-Watt hooked up to the test bench to record the total wattage of the system. I ran two tests with the first using 3DMark Fire Strike to put the system under a load similar to normal in game performance. Here our test system with the RX 6700 XT Gaming X pulled 344 watts which was right on par with the 3060 Gaming X and the RTX 2060 Gaming X. Using AIDA64 the RX 6700 XT Gaming X was higher up in the charts, pulling 339 total watts. Just for future reference, I did also check on the software tracking of GPU chip power draw because I do have another 6700 XT to take a look at and I want to see how different the overclocked cards have their power settings set. The RX 6700 XT Gaming X peaked at 203 watts when running 3DMark Fire Strike.
My next round of tests were looking at noise levels. These are especially important to me because I can’t stand to listen to my PC whirling. Especially when I’m not in game and other applications are using the GPU. For my testing, though I first tested with the fan cranked up to 100% to get an idea of how loud it can get, then again at 50% to get an idea of its range. The RX 6700 XT Gaming X at 100% fan speed did surprisingly well coming in on the bottom half of the chart. At 37.2 decibels its performance when under a heavy load for over a half hour was similarly right in the middle of the cards tested. Overall it isn’t the quietest card, but it isn’t loud either.
To finish up my testing I of course had to check out the cooling performance. To do this I ran two different tests. I used AIDA64’s Stress Test run for a half-hour each to warm things up. Then I documented what temperature the GPU leveled out at with the stock fan profile and then again with the fans cranked up to 100%. With the stock profile, the RX 6700 XT Gaming X leveled off at 61 degrees which is a lot cooler than I expected. With the fans cranked up it ran even lower at 49 degrees for a delta of 12 degrees.
While running the stock fan profile testing I also took the time to get a few thermal images so we could see what is going on. With the Gaming X warmed up the fan side of the card doesn’t have any significantly hot spots. The warmest area would be under the card where a portion of the air is being blown and is trapped. I wouldn’t recommend running an M.2 drive directly under this card or any card with axial cooling. The heatpipes are pulling heat out across both sides of the cooler but you can see that the top half is running the coolest due to the unblocked airflow of the top edge of the card where the bottom is restricted by the motherboard. The top edge does show hotter over on the left side near the GPU area. The same goes on the backplate which seems to be transferring heat well, you can see the back of the GPU is the hottest area. I’m impressed that the VRMs aren’t noticeable which means they are getting great cooling as well.