Temperature & Acoustical Testing / Power Consumption
For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8Ē away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22įC (+/- 0.5įC). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23įC 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.
The GTX 680 is a relatively cool running card which never got above the 80 degree mark even though we were struggling to keep the heat and humidity down in our testing room (summer-like weather in spring can be a bitch without air conditioning).
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 12Ē away from the GPUís 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.
It looks like NVIDIA sacrificed a bit on the temperature front in order to keep the GTX 680ís acoustical footprint to a minimum. Interestingly enough, these numbers arenít quite as good as those posted by the near-mute GTX 580 but they are still enough to give the HD 7970 a thorough trouncing.
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.
Hold on a second while we allow you to pick yourself off the floor. No, these numbers arenít an error since we ran them a half dozen times just to ensure they had some foundation in reality. NVIDIA has taken an absolute quantum leap forward in terms of performance per watt and soundly beats the HD 7970 on the power consumption front. While the GTX 680 may not have AMDís ZeroCore Power, there really isnít anything to fault here considering how little time these cards should end up idling in gamersí systems.
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