Fan NoiseIn 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 the Bruel & Kjaer 2236 sound-level meter (~$4,000). It has the measurement range and the accuracy we are looking for.
The tested graphics card was installed in a system that was completely cooled passively. That is, passive PSU, passive CPU cooler, and passive cooling on the motherboard and 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 was conducted at a distance of 100 cm and 160 cm off the floor. Ambient background noise in 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 were tested with a stressful game, not with Furmark.
Idle fan noise of the EVGA GTX 780 Ti Classified matches that of the NVIDIA GTX 780 Ti reference design - no improvement here despite having a better cooler installed, which is disappointing.
The card is quieter than the NVIDIA board under load, but not by a big margin. I did notice the two fans emitting a whine from time to time (depending on RPM), which appears to be due to air interference. Not much noisier, it is just of a higher frequency, which makes it noticeable. The noise has more of a whoosh-like quality to it once fan speeds change. Still, the card is so much quieter compared to AMD's recent R9 290 Series offerings.
The cooler is running good temperatures of 29°C idle and 75°C load, so making it a bit quieter shouldn't have been hard. My guess is that EVGA focused on low temperatures, which tend to impress overclockers more, because they assume that overclocking will increase their card's temperatures a lot, which is not the case.