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 a huge heatsink and the DirectCU pedigree behind it, the Matrix’s results here should come as no surprise. These are actually some of the best temperatures we have seen from a high end graphics card and are only beat out by MSI’s lower clocked Lightning. Considering the Lightning has a smaller dual slot heatsink, this could be considered a minor miss for ASUS but the results are still phenomenal.
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.
Once again, the HD 7970 Matrix is beaten by the Lightning but this time it was only by a hair. This is one extremely quiet card, despite its high clock speeds and genre defining 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.
The Matrix is a heavily overclocked card so it should have bottomed out in this chart….but it didn’t. This fairly positive result against lower performing competitors could due to a number of factors from cores with different leakage to the components ASUS chose. Nonetheless, we would recommend you use at least a 600W power supply for the HD 7970 Matrix.
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