TemperaturesStill in the same casing, we took a temperature reading of the GPU by internal sensor:
While AMD has done a great deal to reduce the temperatures of its most recent high-end GPU, the same can’t be said of NVIDIA. There’s no surprise here, you have to deal with the watts somehow and even with a faster cooling system, temperatures are climbing. While the GeForce GTX 470 runs at a similar temperature to the GeForce GTX 285, the GeForce GTX 480 is in another category altogether.
At idle it’s not too serious in terms of the card itself. In load however it is already at a very high 107 °C. Anything above 105 °C and NVIDIA says that it starts to reduce the card’s clock. We noted a slight drop in performance (under 5%). It would seem then, that even for a single GeForce GTX 480 you need to think carefully about how you’re going to set up the cooling.
The SLI gets very hot indeed. It goes up to 110 °C for the hottest of the GPUs and this is even quite dangerous. Here however, NVIDIA reduces the clocks significantly. At the beginning of our load test, we were at 1500 fps and this was cut to 800 fps at the end! Note that the system wasn’t even stable. Obviously the Antec Sonata 3 casing isn’t designed for two such power hungry monsters. To run GeForce GTX 480s in SLI you’ll need a larger system that you can filter with cool air, or you’ll have to go for watercooling. For very advanced users then!
Note that we can’t tell when the clocks are cut as there’s no monitoring of clocks in real time in GPU-Z. It simply gives the clocks that correspond to the state of the GPU (idle, video, 3D…).
Here are our infrared thermography images (the casing is opened rapidly so we can record the image):
GeForce GTX 470 at idle
GeForce GTX 480 at idle
GeForce GTX 480 SLI at idle
GeForce GTX 470 in load
GeForce GTX 480 in load
GeForce GTX 480 SLI in load
For comparison here are the images we got with the ATI cards:
Radeon HD 5850 at idle
Radeon HD 5870 at idle
Radeon HD 5970 at idle
Radeon HD 5870 CrossFire at idle
Radeon HD 5850 in load
Radeon HD 5870 in load
Radeon HD 5970 in load
Radeon 5870 CrossFire in load
For extra details regarding the systems and cards temperatures, you can check our graphics cards and thermal characteristics report
which has been updated.