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Now let’s talk about how well this card actually performed in our benchmarks and what you can expect from this card’s design. XFX have put a lot of effort and development into this card and it shows. This is one of the most striking and attractive cards that we’ve seen.
This card uses a new thermal design that is supposed to reduce temperatures and remain relatively quiet. In our testing this wasn’t quite the case. One thing to keep in mind though is that this card was tested on an open-air test bench. If this card were in a well-ventilated case with plenty of airflow it would probably perform much better and quieter. We noticed that it was about 2 to 3 degrees warmer than our reference card and it also made a slight humming noise when we stressed it. Under idle conditions the card was nearly silent and remained fairly cool.
We attribute this humming noise to the flexible shroud that covers the card. Most cards use a rigid shroud that doesn’t vibrate like this one did in our testing. We also found that when we increased the fans to maximum the card did drop by about 7 to 8 degrees Celsius and this put it well under our temperature results from the reference card. One drawback to this is that the noise level did increase significantly but still remained quieter than the reference card. All things being equal this card was a mixed bag in terms of its proprietary cooling solution. It did remain cooler when the fans were maxed out but it also got considerably louder. This increased noise though was still quieter than the reference card. If you install this in an enclosed case with adequate airflow, you should get better performance than we experienced.
From our benchmark scores you can see that this card did perform incredibly well. It literally bit at the heels of the GTX 590 in a number of our benchmark scores particularly in the average frame rates. This is amazing considering that the 590 costs considerably more. AMD and XFX have produced an incredible product with this video card and I’m sure it’s going to be a huge hit with the enthusiast market. One thing that I’ve got to make note of though is that the 590 ran dead silent through all of our benchmarks and maxed out at 84 degrees Celsius. NVidia’s highest end offering runs quieter but also produces quite a bit more heat than this new card from XFX. We ran the 590 on the exact same test bench and hardware as the new XFX card and also used the latest beta drivers.