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Graphics card ranking by noise level

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
This may be useful for anyone considering a new GPU who doesn't want to do DIY aftermarket cooling. I extracted db readings from everything reviewed in the last 2 years here... they obviously didn't review every GPU.

The highest performing GPUs (rank from here) and db reading at full load:
ASUS Mars II 3 GB Dual GTX 580 @ 55db (29db idle)
ASUS GeForce GTX 590 3 GB @ 48db (33db)
AMD Radeon HD 7970 3 GB @ 46db (29db)
PowerColor HD 6870 X2 2 GB @ 43db (38db)
PowerColor HD 7950 PCS+ 3 GB @ 28db (27db)

The quietest cards at load (with rank from here, lower is better)
PowerColor HD 6850 SCS3 1 GB @ 0db (rank 29)
ASUS Radeon HD 7770 DirectCU 1 GB @ 26db (rank 34)
XFX HD 7770 Black Edition Super Overclock 1 GB @ 27db (rank 37)
PowerColor HD 7950 PCS+ 3 GB @ 28db (rank 9)
Palit GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Light Turbo 1 GB @ 29db (rank 23)

Limiting only the rank 20 and above cards (which barely cuts out the Geforce GTX TI 1GB), the quietest are:
PowerColor HD 7950 PCS+ 3 GB @ 28db (27 idle)
PowerColor HD 6950 Vortex II 2 GB @ 30db (28 idle)
ASUS GeForce GTX 570 Direct CU II @ 31db (28 idle)
PowerColor HD 6950 PCS++ 2 GB @ 33db (33 idle)
ASUS GTX 580 Matrix Platinum 1.5 GB @ 33db (30 idle)

The quietest cards idle:
PowerColor HD 6850 SCS3 1 GB @ 0db (0db load)
MSI HD 6950 Twin Frozr II 2 GB @ 25db (34)
MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II 1 GB @ 25db (39)
ASUS Radeon HD 7770 DirectCU 1 GB @ 25 (26)
XFX HD 7770 Black Edition Super Overclock 1 GB @ 25 (27)

Quietest idle better than rank 20:
MSI HD 6950 Twin Frozr II 2 GB @ 25db (34 load)
Palit GeForce GTX 560 2 GB @ 26db (37 load)
MSI GeForce GTX 580 Lightning Xtreme Edition 3 GB @ 26db (49 load)
MSI Radeon HD 6970 Lightning 2 GB @ 26db (33 load)
PowerColor HD 7950 PCS+ 3 GB @ 27db (28 load)

Source: Techpowerup (they seemed to have the best or at least easiest to understand methodology) and GPU rankings here. Obviously some cards run warmer than others, and the reviewer noted that the PowerColor Passive 6850 needed good case ventilation. I don't think there is a single source who has tested lots of fans for db reading and temperature (which would require the same mobo/processor/case/etc for every card).
Edited by avaya - 2/29/12 at 2:35pm
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post #2 of 8
nice list
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I think anyone wanting a high end and quiet card should go with one of these three:

PowerColor HD 6850 SCS3 1 GB
MSI HD 6950 Twin Frozr II 2 GB
PowerColor HD 7950 PCS
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post #4 of 8
Nice list thumb.gif

All of the msi card with the dual fan setups are super quiet. I can't hear mine at all with the other fans running even when it kicks up to 85% fan speed.
With some of the other fan setup on cards I could hear it kick up over the fans I have running.
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post #5 of 8
OR you just add a proper after market cooler and every card is much quieter than any stock or "special stock" cooler

29022012443.jpg
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post #6 of 8
what about a sapphire 6870...
Non reference.....
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by henryy5ghz View Post

what about a sapphire 6870...
Non reference.....

PowerColor HD 6870 x2 2GB is 43db at load and 38db idle... not very good, although considering that is one of the most powerful setups they have reviewed understandable. They didn't review any of the single 6870's.

justanewguy - I agree the best option is an aftermarket cooler and low rpm aftermarket fans. But that is more expensive and not always easy (just removing the stock cooler can sometimes require breaking plastic).
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post #8 of 8
This is exactly the info I was trying to research. I'm building a gaming machine that needs to be as silent as possible.

On a side note, I didn't even know there were VGA coolers. Researching them now to see if that's the best option.....

+1 for avaya
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