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.
MSI did a good job with noise. The MSI GTX 760 Mini-ITX GAMING is almost whisper quiet in idle, which should make it quiet enough to be inaudible inside a case next to your living room TV (at a realistic TV-watching distance).
The fan ramps up during gaming, but stays pretty quiet for a card targeting small form factor systems. Noise levels also depend on your case's airflow, which is usually more limited in a mini-ITX case than a fully sized desktop.