NoiseTo observe noise levels, we put the cards in a Cooler Master RC-690 II Advanced casing and measured noise at idle and in load. We used an SSD and all the fans in the casing, as well as the CPU fan, were turned off for the reading. The sonometer was placed 60 cm from the closed casing and ambient noise was measured at +/- 21 dBA.
As expected, with lower energy consumption and the same cooling system, this Radeon HD 7950 isn’t as noisy in load as the reference Radeon HD 7970.
With the GPU voltage reduced to 0.9V, noise levels dropped considerably and the temperatures were also down as you can see below.
Still in the same casing, we took a temperature reading of the GPU using internal sensors:
The cooling system on the reference Radeon HD 7900s is calibrated to maintain the GPU at a lower temperature than usual. This may be a choice made by AMD to prioritise temperature management over noise, but it’s also possible that 28nm GPUs aren’t as co-operative at higher temperatures.