Power, Temperature, & Noise

Up next, we wrap up our look at a new video card’s stock performance with a look at the physical performance attributes: power consumption, temperatures, and noise. As we quicked look at in our capsule review, the HD 7870 OE manages to hit a good balance between all 3 of these attributes, leading to it being by far the quietest 7870 without making any compromises on temperature. Now let's further break down that data.

Radeon HD 7870 Voltages
Ref 7870 Load Sapphire HD 7870 OE Load HIS IceQ Turbo 7870 Load PowerColor PCS+ HD7870 Load
1.219v 1.219v 1.219v 1.219v

Note that unlike the 7900 series, we haven't seen any of the semi-custom 7800 series cards ship at a non-reference voltage so far, which means all of these cards generate a similar level of heat and consume a similar level of power.

Idle power is consistent with our other 7870s, as we'd expect. Load power is much the same story, as the milder 50MHz core overclock on the HD 7870 OE brings up power consumption some compared to a reference 7870, but not by quite as much a more heavily overclocked 7870.

The version of the Dual-X cooler on the HD 7870 OE proves itself to be quite capable here. At 28C the idle temperature is among the lowest of any cards we have tested, but load temperatures are also quite good. 66C under Metro means that the Dual-X is 2C cooler than the reference 7870, and even OCCT can only push temps up to 70C. This does end up being louader than HIS's IceQ Turbo, but the IceQ was anything but conventional.

Finally we have our look at noise, which is without a doubt the biggest payoff for the HD 7870 OE. The load noise level during our Metro 2033 benchmark was only 43.8dB; this is not only over 3dB better than any other 7870, but it's also quieter than the otherwise much lower power (and lower performing) reference 7770. When it comes to enthusiast level cards we typically only see NVIDIA reference designs hit noise levels this low, so it's a notable accomplishment.  Though for whatever reason - possibly an agressive fan curve - Sapphire's noise lead diminishes somewhat under OCCT; it's still the quietest 7870, but only by less than 1dB and it's no longer quieter than the 7770.

Portal 2, Battlefield 3, Starcraft II, Skyrim, CivV, & Compute Overclocked Performance
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  • princehamlet - Saturday, April 28, 2012 - link

    the Sapphire HD 7870 OE Load uses 219 V under load? Fascinating!! Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Saturday, April 28, 2012 - link

    Yep, but the amperage is astoundingly low! Thanks for pointing that out; fixed. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Saturday, April 28, 2012 - link

    Best correction response ever. Jarred will need to up his game. Reply
  • axelthor - Sunday, April 29, 2012 - link

    Best response ever. I think today is the first time I actually laughed out loud reading Anandtech. Reply
  • xeizo - Saturday, April 28, 2012 - link

    As it is best in "just about every metric" as Charlie D wrote long before it's launch.

    But, it could be interesting for the uninitiated to see just how much is sacrified by chosing a cheaper solution, that's why it should have been included in this an upcoming tests.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, April 29, 2012 - link

    Yes, but they had to show only amd winning to satisfy their fanboy love.
    Just expect it here every time, right down to wording and phrasing, not just the charts.
    Anyway, if we go back to the abandoned price vs performance metric that was spewed here for years and instantly abandoned when AMD spit out their greedy failship that cost me dearly, I'd say the GTX570 is one sweet deal - and they did include that in the charts.
    Overclock it and you almost have the 580 - also in the charts.
    Here is it for $269, and it's a quad monitor, surround single card MDT overclocked out of the box. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    +
    Never mentioned is the FACT that Nvidia's newest driver 301.24 takes ALL the wonderful GTX680 special driver features and ports them all the way back to the 8 series Nvidia cards.
    +
    That's FXAA, dynamic V-sync, etc, etc -all the way back to anyone and everyone including gems like 8800GT/X, all the rebrands !
    ROFL @ amd's driver fail
    +
    Think about that - all that hatred over all those years now Nvidia is stepping up like the men amd only wished they could be and providing enormous added value for long discontinued cards - with so many owners one can only hope these review sites swallow their bias and actually report on the wonderful development.
    What this means is cards going way back for Nvidia purchasers just got new life breathed into them, the adaptive v-sync does wonders for gaming smoothness.
    +
    I've dumped the flagship amd card overboard for failure to support the end users and gamers and scalping us like crazy until they got hammered back by Nvidia, then what did they do ? Dumped support for my 4000 series amd cards.
    Good bye amd, who cares what your fps say at we won't show nvidia 680 websites, and your lousy amd no added valueless fail crash drivers.
    And that's the way it is. Good night.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, April 29, 2012 - link

    Here's the driver link
    http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/nvidia-g...
    Reply
  • snakefist - Sunday, April 29, 2012 - link

    errrr... are you sane?

    being a fanboy is one thing, but having THAT ridiculous argumentation is... well, *quite* different

    where I came from, there is absolutely NO GTX680 available, neither for love nor money... i see not much point in argument that "almost fictional graphic card seen only on reviews or as a gift on lottery" to be a necessary addition to a completely different price-range card review

    or, if we want to play make believe reviews, let me introduce brand new, revolutionary Einstein-architecture graphic card called Snakefist GTX+1699, which has recommended price of sub-300$, beats both AMD and NVIDIA flagship solutions in all benchmarks for blazing 30+%, and require no additional power...

    only catch is, this magnificent card is available only on reviews, and can't be bought in real life... but surely, this lacking review would profit greatly if a Snakefist GTX+1699 was included, therefore i protest for its malicious excluding... and this site is well known to be biased to BOTH AMD AND NVIDIA, as well as for BOTH AMD AND INTEL... and dropping out GTX+1699 only confirms this fact

    anyway, people *that* full of rage should refrain from posting... at least until they cool off a bit...

    as for me, this review includes all relevant, similarly priced and AVAILABLE cards in the price range... and as much as i would like to be able to see my make-believe card showing its shiny blue colour in, for example, budget card comparison, dominating everything else by 30-30000% margin, it's just... not necessary

    and, please, do a comment about my grammar, i'm not a native english speaker, but i surely deserved that. and lacking grammar is a sure sign of being completely wrong in all points, that is a fact well known of this site. please. just this time. it will strengthen your argumentation and make you feel superior
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, April 29, 2012 - link

    In other words everything I said is true and you decided to call names and make up fantasies for 8 paragraphs because you have no other method of dealing with the truth. Reply
  • snakefist - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    i have no problems in dealing with a truth (and no problems with typing, either - besides, i don't see mine post was longer than yours). thing is, you were raging and spilling hate because ~500$ card was missing for sub 300$ comparison. and because you presumably had a problem with a card, every review from there on has to be 680 vs 7970? if you need it in writing: "680 is better than 7970". happy? Reply

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