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.
The temperatures displayed by the GTX 690 are nothing short of incredible. Remember, the cooling system has to deal with 300W of output in addition to the heat produced by the memory modules, PWM stages and the PLX bridge chip. It looks like NVIDIA’s heavy investment in a high end cooling solution is paying dividends.
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.
Not only do the two cores run at cooler temperatures than the single chip on a GTX 680 but NVIDIA’s fan design and high end shroud materials are able to keep noise levels down as well. This is actually one of the quietest dual GPU cards we have tested and while the fan does spin up after a few minutes under load, it shouldn’t be noticeable under normal gaming conditions.
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 has always been a problem area for dual GPU cards but NVIDIA seems to have tackled it quite well. By using a pair of slightly downclocked GK104 cores and integrating efficient components like a 2oz copper PCB and a high end PWM design, the GTX 690 is actually the most miserly ultra high end card ever created. Even two HD 7970 cards look horribly inefficient by comparison.
If you are running a GTX 690 with an overclocked Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge processor, you shouldn’t need anything more than a good quality 700W power supply.
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