Temperatures, Noise, Power, & Overclocking
We take power consumption at the wall using a Kill A Watt Power drain measurement device. We loaded Unigine Heaven and let it idle for 30 minutes and then recorded the idle temperature and power consumption, shut it down and let it cool for a half hour then repeated the test twice in this sequence. For the load, we ran Unigine Heaven looping for 30 minutes, let it cool down to the idle temps established in the previous test then looped it for 30 minutes, repeating the process a total of three times. Once completed, we take the three results from each test and average them giving us an aggregate average for each result. Killing two birds with one stone and getting power consumption and thermals all at once.
You will get higher draws on wattage if you are using a torture program like Furmark, but programs like that produce unrealistic numbers. Even when playing games, you don’t put a 100% load on the GPU all the time. There are peaks and valleys in GPU power consumption, and that represents more real-life numbers than 100% load all the time. Unless of course you are mining Bitcoins or [email protected], in which case your landlord probably pays the utilities, and power consumption isn’t really a concern.
To sum up thermals: The EVGA GTX 950 FTW has the ACX 2.0 cooler which is more than adequate. Our FTW never once got above 50C, at all, period. Not during benching, not during gaming, the FTW simply never got hot. It is important to note we use a custom fan curve and like the fans functioning well before the GPU ever gets near 60C.
For thermal readings we looped Unigine Heaven for 30 minutes then read the thermal load, allowed the machine to cool down for 30 minutes at an idle then read the idle temperatures. We repeat that same process three times, then average the three runs and report those scores. We keep an eye out for anomalous runs, and if an anomaly occurs, we shut the machine down and let it cool off, reboot and rerun the test.
At idle we get an expected temperature. but how does the FTW do under heavy load?
Completely unexpected. As stated earlier our GTX 950 FTW with ACX 2.0 and backplate is more than enough to keep it nice and frosty.
Here is a screen of EVGA Precision taken on the 26th scene of Heaven Bench after a relentless assault of benchmarks. Here you can see we like our fans on a harder curve than some, testing was done with case panels off and noise was never a problem.
Now that you’ve seen the EVGA GTX 950 running load with a fan profile here’s the GTX 950 FTW running on the factory supplies fan profile.
Now as you can see without running a fan profile the EVGA GTX 950 FTW hits 72°C. The fans on the GPU are set to spin up at 60°C so by the time the fans spin up the thermal properties of the FTX ramp up to 72 before they kick in good. We recommend setting a manual fan profile that is a little more aggressive.
We all hate noisy or whiny fans that intrude on our gaming/computing time. We run several noise level tests: Complete idle, spiking load where the graphics load fluctuates between high and low load, and high load. Labyrinth’s chassis is designed for silence, so we removed the ventilation panels, top panel and pulled the filters. Our decibel meter registers at 30 dBA. We generally record sound levels sitting next to the tower with the tower at floor shelf level. We put the decibel meter cose to where our ear would be and take measurements from there. To get a better idea of what the sound compares to, here is a scale of typical sound levels.
|Jet takeoff (200 feet)||120 dBA|
|Construction Site||110 dBA|
|Shout (5 feet)||100 dBA|
|Heavy truck (50 feet)||90 dBA|
|Urban street||80 dBA|
|Automobile interior||70 dBA|
|Normal conversation (3 feet)||60 dBA|
|Office, classroom||50 dBA|
|Living room||40 dBA|
|Bedroom at night||30 dBA|
|Broadcast studio||20 dBA|
|Rustling leaves||10 dBA|
At what we call head distance for the EVGA GTX 950 FTW the idle noise level was barely registering on the meter. Spiking the load it ranged between 30 and 37 dBA and at full load with fans set to 100%, we recorded a 45 dBA noise level. Even at 40 dBA the sound from the GPU was barely audible and in no way interfered with or intruded on the game play.
Overclocking the Maxwell series of GPU’s is different from GPU’s in the past. If you want to take a peek at our “Lets Talk Overclocking” page, we included it in this review for your convenience. We like to use a variety of tools for overclocking, however if the card’s vendor, in this case EVGA, has a provided OCing tool, we use that tool. We also use GPU-Z to verify that OC settings were applied to the GPU core, check thermal performance and core load. If need be, we will use another vendor’s tools to monitor a card’s thermal and core performance, but that’s just for confirmation.
The GTX 950 FTW sample we received did not even like to hear the word overclock mentioned. Our ultimate dream goal was to hit 1337 on the core and 100mhz+ on the memory clock to match the GTX 960, we quickly found that wasn’t going to happen, and no amount of tuning would allow it on our sample. We dialed down and dialed down and found increasing the voltage and power target didn’t help our cause. Our FTW wanted to be right around the clock it came from the factory, which is well over reference spec.
In the end after much testing we settled with +30MHz on the core and called it a day. This screen of EVGA Precision was also taken on the 26th scene of Heaven Bench after a relentless assault of benchmarks, the slight increase in clock not effecting the thermals.
To ensure the overclock was stable we used EVGA OC Scanner X, Running the Furry Donut GPU core burner the FTW with +30MHz core got through stable with no reported artifacts. Each and every GPU has a personality and you may experience different OC results.