Temperatures & Acoustics / Power Consumption
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 its 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 Windows 7 desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.
With all three of these cards sporting custom heatsinks, it isn't any wonder that they post such good results. By far the best numbers come from the Gigabyte card which was pretty much expected considering the size of its cooler. MSI Twin Frozr III also puts in a good showing and goes to show that an efficient, compact heatsink design can almost match a much larger competitor.
EVGA isn't known as a widespread user of non-reference cooling solutions but they seem to have done well with the one installed on the Classified. It keeps temperatures well in check even though the card's core speeds are well above those of the MSI and Gigabyte products.
What you see below are the baseline idle dB(A) results attained for a relatively quiet open-case system (specs are in the Methodology section) sans GPU along with the attained results for each individual card in idle and load scenarios. The meter we use has been calibrated and is placed at seated ear-level exactly 12” away from the GPU’s fan. For the load scenarios, a loop of Unigine Heave 2.5 is used in order to generate a constant load on the GPU(s) over the course of 20 minutes.
What we have here is a statistical tie between all three GTX 560 Ti 448 cards. Every one of them is whisper quiet and there should be no way you'll hear any of them over the noise most case fans make. To their credit, Gigabyte's card is one of the quietest GPUs we have ever tested.
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.
Power consumption numbers pretty much run the gamut with the reference clocked Gigabyte card posting the best results in part due to its low temperatures and efficient PWM design. The EVGA card meanwhile does push the envelope but when you get into its performance territory, efficiency really should become a secondary concern.
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