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 3060 AMP White Edition pulled 339 watts during the 3DMark test which was less than the Gaming X Trio. Then I switched to AIDA64 to get a GPU-focused workload to take the CPU down nearly to idle and it pulled 268 watts which is 6 watts below the Trio again. I’m surprised the 3060 AMP White Edition is coming in lower than the MSI given the higher overclock and overall better performance. I also slipped in a look at the peak power draw for the GPU chip in GPUz as well which you can see the difference between the Eagle and the 3060 AMP White Edition with it pulling 29.3 more watts.
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 3060 AMP White Edition was relatively quiet at 100% fan speed, sitting in the bottom 1/3 of our charts. It’s 50% fan speed results were also close to the quietest out of all of the cards tested (bottom 3). The under load test is the most important in my opinion though and here it was running at 35.5 dB, the 3060 Trio was quieter here but the other 3060’s were louder, sometimes by a large amount like with the Eagle. The fan RPM charts do help show why the 3060 AMP White Edition is so quiet. Both fans are below 3000 RPM and near the bottom of the chart. They also have the two different sized fans running at two different speeds, with the right fan running at a lower RPM.
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 3060 AMP White Edition leveled out at 57 degrees which was much better than I would have expected given the performance, overclock, and how quiet the card was as well. Cranking the fans up to 100% it did run even cooler at 46 degrees, but here it moved up in the chart due to the lower fan RPMs at 100% fan speed. This is also the best I’ve seen a horizontal heatsink layout perform as well, typically that orientation ends up meaning bad cooling but Zotac did a great job here making it work and work well. The 100% fan speed performance ended up putting a delta between the two results of 11 degrees which is a little lower than average but given how quiet the card is compared to other cards at 100% fan speed I think they did a great job of finding the sweet spot between cooling potential and noise.
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. The 3060 AMP White Edition ran cool in my other testing and you can see that on the fan side with a majority of the card running cool. The hottest spot was on the bottom half of the left fan which is closer to the GPU. The top of the card is cool as well with the air not being pushed out that direction, same with the motherboard area below the card. Then around on the back, we can see the hottest spot is in the center at the bottom, this is where the heatpipes are on the front of the card. There is also more heat near the backplate vents and on the end at the vents as well to a lesser extent where the air is being blown out.