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Are dual fan GPU Coolers actually quiet? Or are they just not turned up all the way?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
MSI
GTX 680 Lightning 36dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_680_Lightning/27.html
HD7970 Lightning 52dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/HD_7970_Lightning/27.html
GTX 670 Power Edition 37dB:http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_670_Power_Edition/27.html
GTX 660 ti Power Edition 29dB http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_660_Ti_Power_Edition/27.html
GTX 660 HAWK, 27dB : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_660_HAWK/27.html
HD7870 HAWK 48dB http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/HD_7870_HAWK/27.html
HD 7850 Power Edition, 39dB http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/HD_7850_Power_Edition/27.html
GTX 650 Ti Power Edition 24dB http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_650_Ti_Power_Edition/27.html

HD 6970 Lightning (TF cooler), 33dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/HD_6970_Lightning/22.html
GTX 580 Lightning (TF cooler), 44dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_580_Lightning/22.html
HD 6870 HAWK (TF cooler), 31-35dB:http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/HD_6870_HAWK/22.html
GTX 680 TF 39dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_680_Twin_Frozr_III/27.html
GTX 660 TF, 28dB : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_660_Twin_Frozr_III/26.html
HD 7870 TF 45dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/HD_7870_Twin_Frozr/25.html
HD7950 TF 36db : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/HD_7950_Twin_Frozr_III/25.html
HD 7770 38dB : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/HD_7770_OC/25.html
GTX 560Ti 448, 38-44dB:http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_560_Ti_448_Cores_Twin_Frozr_III/26.html
HD 6950 TF, 38dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/HD_6950_Twin_Frozr_III/22.html

Asus
GTX 680, 35dB : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_680_Direct_Cu_II/27.html
GTX 670,25dB : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_670_Direct_Cu_II/27.html
GTX 660 ti 25dB : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_660_Ti_Direct_Cu_II/27.html
Asus GTX 660 26dB : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_660_Direct_Cu_II/26.html
HD 7870 45dB :http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/HD_7870_Direct_Cu_II/25.html
GTX 650 Ti , 25dB : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_650_Ti_Direct_Cu_II/27.html
GTX 560ti 448 core , 34dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GTX_560_Ti_448_Cores_DirectCU_II/26.html
GTX 560 , 31dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_560_TOP_Direct_Cu_II/26.html
GTX 570, 31dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_570_Direct_Cu_II/22.html
GXT 580, 30db: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_580_Direct_Cu_II/23.html

Gigabyte Windforce x3 :
GTX670 32dB http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/GeForce_GTX_670_Windforce/27.html
GTX 660 37dB : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/GTX_660_OC/26.html

Sapphire
HD7950 39dB (has vapor chamber though): http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/HD_7950_Flex/27.html
HD7870 33dB : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/HD_7870_Flex/27.html
HD7950 Vapor-X 34dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/HD_7950_Vapor-X/27.html
HD7770 Vapor-X 25dB: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/HD_7770_Vapor-X/27.html

XFX
HD 7770 Black Ed. 27dB : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/XFX/HD_7770_Black_Edition_Super_Overclock/25.html

Or just bad testing methods?

For reference, Arctic cooling's 3 fan cooler is supposedly 24dB at 12V (http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1103-page5.html) or 28dB according to Kitguru http://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/arctic-accelero-xtreme-iii-review-w-asus-gtx680-directcu-ii-top/4/
Edited by AlphaC - 12/13/12 at 5:56pm
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post #2 of 15
Usually you'll find that fans on GPUs do not rev all the way to 100%. That is why most use something like MSI Afterburner (especially if you OC) to set fans to ramp up to 100% as the card gets hotter.
 
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post #3 of 15
Quote:
Are dual fan GPU Coolers actually quiet? Or are they just not turned up all the way?

All else being equal, more fans means more noise.

HOWEVER, all else is NOT equal.

Some cards are set in firmware to be more (or less) aggressive with the fan profile. Also, some fans are inherently noisier than others. For instance smaller fans that need to spin faster are louder than bigger fans that don't need to spin as fast. Sometimes fans are set to spin faster to make up for smaller heatsinks.

The biggest thing with high end cards in particular is usually a single fan is a blower style (AKA "squirrel cage" or centrifugal), while a card with multiple fans use axial style fans. Axial fans are the ones that look like case fans and have an odd number of large blades that move the air (usually no more than 11, but commonly 7) . You'll see a resemblance on graphics cards with multiple fans (and sometimes single fans in the center of the heatsink). The blower fans have a much higher number of smaller blades, and look like this.



High end graphics cards with a single fan at one end (near the power connectors) usually use this type of fan, and are usually noisier. If they are noisier, then why use them? The answer lies in what the fans do to the air that it moves.

Axial fans move air from one side of the fan to the other side, straight through. They move a lot of air due to the large blades. However, they aren't good at forcing air through (low static pressure).

Blowers move air from one side of the fan, and out perpendicularly to the fan. That is, the air makes a 90° turn. It also is very good at generating high static pressure, but not very good at moving large amounts of air due to the small blades. Thus, they have to spin faster to move a given amount of air versus an axial fan.

The benefit of axial fans are that they are cheap, plentiful and not as noisy.

The benefit of blowers are that they are very good at moving air through a long heatsink such as those found on higher end cards with only rear exhaust.
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post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
I know the blower OEM styles are noisier, that's for sure. However, it seems odd to me that the GPUs with the same cooler type would be 4x louder (+10dB is about 2x loud).

It's heavily skewed in favor of Nvidia in terms of noise for some reason, even when the TDP is the same (heat generated).

The HD 7870 and GTX 660Ti and GTX 660 are roughly the same TDP yet the HD7870 is pushing 40dB+ on the same cooler...given the bigger card it would seem it dissipates heat better.
GTX670 = 170W TDP
GTX 660 ti=150W
GTX 660 = 140W
HD 7870 = 160W

10W isn't that much so how are Asus and MSI HD7870 offerings so ridiculously loud? It can't be afterburner because it happens with ASUS too.

It has a few degree difference from GTX 660Ti on stock cooler, it shouldn't be that huge a difference using aftermarket ones:
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6159/49227.png
Edited by AlphaC - 12/14/12 at 2:23pm
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post #5 of 15
My MSI 660Ti PE is SUPER loud at 100% fan speed, but it NEVER gets that high, The most I have seen it at is 48% with the stock fan profile and temps stay around 65C.
post #6 of 15
I've got a blower fan on my Asus 5870 (it's their aftermarket one) and my card gets to around 75c when gaming (OC at 950/1300 1.24v or was it 1.3v) and the fan speed is only 33% at full load.
Not too "loud" imo for a gpu, well compared to my 4850 sure but this is just too different :d
Just imagine how it sounds at 100%, it's like a vacuum cleaner lol.
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post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by naikee View Post

I've got a blower fan on my Asus 5870
...
Just imagine how it sounds at 100%, it's like a vacuum cleaner lol.

Funny you should compare your blower fan on your graphics card to a vacuum cleaner. Do an image search for "vacuum cleaner fan" and you'll find... blowers! biggrin.gif
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post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaC View Post

I know the blower OEM styles are noisier, that's for sure. However, it seems odd to me that the GPUs with the same cooler type would be 4x louder (+10dB is about 2x loud).

SPR theorizes that, in some cases, heatpipe contact makes a huge difference.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1325-page4.html (at the bottom)
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mavere View Post

SPR theorizes that, in some cases, heatpipe contact makes a huge difference.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1325-page4.html (at the bottom)

That's a good find, and I think a valid theory. thumb.gif For the smaller core, a cooler with only two heatpipes would probably have worked better if both heatpipes got really good coverage of the core, instead of what that last picture shows with only one heatpipe out of three getting decent coverage and able to transfer heat.
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post #10 of 15
DOH! No "edit" feature.

My other thought is that this is a drawback of the "direct touch" heatpipe style of heatsink. The same triple heatpipe as in the last picture in that link would probably work much better if it wasn't direct touch. While potentially not as effective when there is good coverage, in cases with small cores and bad coverage a big block of copper which the heatpipes cool from the other side would probably work more consistently in more models.
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