ASUS GTX 780 Strix 6 GB Review 28

ASUS GTX 780 Strix 6 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 the fan noise a card emits, we use a Bruel & Kjaer 2236 sound-level meter (~$4,000). It has the measurement range and the 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, as a 3 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.
Now for the ASUS STRIX's unique feature. As long as temperatures are below 60°C, the fans will not engage, so there is no noise, which is awesome if you work all day and only game rarely. There is no fan noise to distract you as you work. Once you fire up a game and temperatures climb, the fans will engage once the GPU reaches around 65°C. So the fans might not even engage if you play light games.

Once the GPU exceeds 70°C, the fans ramp up very quickly, though, and end up relatively noisy during gaming. I'm not sure why ASUS chose such an aggressive fan profile, but it seems to run the fans a bit too fast in active mode. This may be a limitation of the STRIX technology.

I'm not sure if the noise difference is worth it compared to a quiet GTX 780 unless you are a low-noise freak. The quietest GTX 780 we ever tested is MSI's GTX 780 Gaming 3 GB (the 6 GB version is noisier). In idle, MSI's card obviously spins its fans, but it is also so quiet that you will not hear a subjective noise difference to the ASUS STRIX with its fans at a full stop.

With just 30 dBA, which is just a fraction of the noise the ASUS STRIX produces, the MSI is also very quiet during gaming.

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