AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB Review 450

AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB Review

Performance Summary »

Fan Noise

In past years, gamers would accept everything for a little bit more performance. Nowadays, users are more aware of their graphics card's fan noise and power consumption.

In order to properly test how much noise a card's fan emits, we use a Bruel & Kjaer 2236 sound-level meter (~$4,000). It has the measurement range and accuracy we are looking for.


The tested graphics card is installed in a system that does not emit any noise on its own, using a passive PSU, passive CPU cooler, passive cooling on the motherboard, and a solid state drive. Noise results of other cards on this page are measurements of the respective reference design.

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 a distance of 100 cm and 160 cm off the floor. Ambient background noise inside the room was well below 20 dBA for all measurements. Please note that the dBA scale is not linear but logarithmic. 40 dBA is not twice as loud as 20 dBA since a 6 dBA increase results in double the sound pressure. The human hearing perception is a bit different, and it is generally accepted that a 10 dBA increase doubles the perceived sound level. 3D load noise levels are tested with a stressful game, not with Furmark.
In idle, the card is quiet, but it lacks the idle-fan-off feature we like so much to provide perfect silence during browsing, desktop work, and light gaming.

Quoting from the AMD reviewer's guide, "a lot of work has gone into reducing noise levels for the Radeon™ RX 480." Sorry, but no, gaming noise levels are bad. The reference card is noisier than every single card released in recent times, and it runs at well above 80°C too. We confirmed the temperature and noise levels with other reviewers, so it's not only our sample.

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