MSI Radeon HD 5770 Hawk Review 35

MSI Radeon HD 5770 Hawk Review

Performance Summary »

Fan Noise

In 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.

MSI's Twin Frozr cooler is extremely quiet, yet cools well. Under load the fan output signal ramps up very slightly in speed, but not enough to actually change the fan RPMs. I did check that adjust fan speed is possible, so both fans are indeed controlled be the GPU's fan control circuitry.
At such low noise levels the cooler can be barely heard in a quiet room on an open bench, so inside a media PC it will be inaudible.

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