Fan NoiseIn the past years users would accept everything just to get more performance. Nowadays this has changed with people being more aware of the fan noise and power consumption of their graphic cards.
In order to properly test the fan noise a card emits we are using a Bruel & Kjaer 2236 sound level meter (~$4,000) which has the measurement range and accuracy we are looking for.
The tested graphics card is installed in a system that is completely passively cooled. That is passive PSU, passive CPU cooler, passive cooling on the motherboard and Solid-State HDD.
This setup allows us to eliminate secondary noise sources and test only the video card. To be more compliant with standards like DIN 45635 (we are not claiming to be fully DIN 45635 certified) the measurement is conducted at 100 cm distance and 160 cm over the floor. The ambient background noise level in the room is well below 20 dbA for all measurements. Please note that the dbA scale is not linear, it is logarithmic. 40 dbA is not twice as loud as 20 dbA. A 3 dbA increase results in double the sound pressure. The human hearing is a bit different and it is generally accepted that a 10 dbA increase doubles the perceived sound level.
Fan noise on this card can only be described as epic fail. This card, which has the lowest power output of all cards in this chart, is the noisiest of them all - in idle. Under load the other cards ramp up their fan speed to handle the heat and become noisier, so the picture looks a bit more balanced under load. Inno3D has decided to put a fixed speed fan on their card, which means that no matter which temperature the card is running at the fan will always spin at the same speed, being quite noisy.
However, as we will see in the temperature section of this review it is possible to run this card with the fan disconnected for Media PC use.