NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB Review 341

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 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.
NVIDIA's new thermal solution promises better performance and acoustics than previous versions, but looking at the results, I'm not so convinced.

In idle, the card is very quiet, but it lacks the idle-fan-off feature nearly every board vendor has been using for their GeForce 900 cards.

During gaming, the fan ramps up noticeably, and it is definitely audible, but not in an annoying way. In terms of noise, it is comparable to previous NVIDIA reference designs. In the past, we've seen much better noise levels that go as low as 30 dBA from custom board vendors. When looking at the GTX 980 reference design, the new GTX 1080 cooler is noisier even though both cards produce the same amount of heat since power consumption is nearly identical.

Temperatures are not amazing either, with the card reaching over 80°C during gaming, so overall, I'd say the cooler is the weakest point of the GTX 1080.

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