NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Review

Author: Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig
Date: March 26, 2010
Product Name: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470
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Core Temperature & Acoustics

For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8” away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22°C (+/- 0.5°C). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23°C at any time throughout the test, all benchmarking was stopped. For this test we use the 3DMark Batch Size test at it highest triangle count with 4xAA and 16xAF enabled and looped it for one hour to determine the peak load temperature as measured by GPU-Z.

For Idle tests, we let the system idle at the Vista desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.

This is one hot running card but things don’t get to the level seen by the GTX 480. Nonetheless, 92°C makes the GTX 470 one of the hottest running cards we have seen in a very long time. In our tests, thermal throttling usually set in at around 105°C on the GF100 cards while complete thermal shutdown happens around 112-125°C but temperatures never got past the 92°C mark even after hours of benchmarking.

One of the reasons for these high temperatures is the fact that NVIDIA’s fan on this card doesn’t operate at all that high RPMs. When at idle, it is blissfully silent and never increases its speed past 64% when the card is at full load which also results in relatively quiet gaming performance.

System Power Consumption

For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well.

Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.

At 215W of maximum board power, this card is anything but efficient but let’s put this into perspective. Naturally, load situations vary depending on the application and settings but in this test in particular, our GTX 470 actually consumed less power than the outgoing GTX 285. Unfortunately, when compared to the current crop of ATI cards the situations isn’t nearly as rosy.

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