The noise levels produced by a graphics card is an increasingly important consideration for PC users and Gamers these days. While fan noise is unlikely to ruin the gaming experience, no one likes a noisy graphics card and no one will argue with the fact that quieter is better. Many users are willing to sacrifice temperatures to gain a silence advantage, but with better cooling solutions being developed it is increasingly common to be able to get both better cooling and better acoustic performance than a reference solution on most custom cooled graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD partners. That said both AMD and Nvidia have stepped up their game too with regards to acoustics on their reference coolers. Ultimately, acoustics will always be a big deciding factor when there is often very little differentiation between graphics cards using the same GPUs. To acquire the noise levels of graphics cards in our benchmarks we run three different load scenarios for 5 minutes and take an acoustic reading using our decibel meter at the end of those load scenarios. The measurement is taken approximately 30cm horizontally away from the graphics card and the CPU fan is disabled and other background noise minimised to reduce interference. The three load scenarios are desktop idle, Furmark load and Unigine Heaven load. The reading in Unigine Heaven is always taken in the first scene of the sequence after one loop is completed.
I was a little bit confused by the results here, surely two cards going full speed would result in more noise from the fans? Obviously not, our testing method barely put any strain on the cards and so they didn’t need to increase their fan speeds.