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Review: CoolIT OMNI A.L.C. meets NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480

by Parm Mann on 23 April 2010, 14:04

Tags: GeForce GTX 480, Omni ALC, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), CoolIT

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Power consumption, temperatures and noise

At idle, the card draws about the same amount of power as NVIDIA's reference design.

Put it under load and GTX 480 is expectedly power hungry. With the 16 per cent overclock in place, the OMNI-cooled card requires around an extra 30 watts.

Idle temperatures are seemingly identical for the liquid-cooled and air-cooled GTX 480s, but readers should note that the liquid-cooled card was tested on a slightly warmer day. In a temperature-controlled environment, we reckon the OMNI-cooled GTX 480 would come out a degree or two cooler.

Under load, CoolIT's liquid cooler is able to keep the overclocked card at 87°C after a lengthy spell of the GPU-intensive FurMark stress test. Considering the 16 per cent overclock and the slightly higher ambient temperature (3.9°C higher, to be exact), the OMNI A.L.C's cooling ability is very good.

At reference clocks, we found the Omni A.L.C. was able to lower load temperature to 82°C - significantly lower than NVIDIA's reference air cooler.

A real-world assessment

Examining the whole noise/heat/power issue in more detail and taking a real-world game into account, we played through Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and noted where system-wide power-draw was highest. The game works the CPU's cores and gives the GPU(s) a good going over. We then left the card rendering the high power-draw scene for 10 minutes and logged the maximum temperature, fan-speed, and power-draw.

The observations were noted with the card(s) installed inside a Corsair Obsidian 800D chassis with side panels on. The table below highlights our findings and provides a subjective analysis of the fan noise.

GPU Power-draw (maximum) Temperature
Quietness /10
(higher is better) 
CoolIT GTX 480 OC 1.5GB 410W 73°C 7
GeForce GTX 480 1.5GB 419W 94°C 4/2
GeForce GTX 470 1.2GB 354W 94°C 5/3
Radeon HD 5970 TOXIC 4GB 488W 64°C 6.5
Radeon HD 5970 2GB 366W 77°C 5
Radeon HD 5870 TOXIC 2GB 324W 66°C 7
Radeon HD 5870 1GB 288W 76°C 6
Radeon HD 5850 1GB 260W 63°C 7

Let's explain the table. The noise perception is a subjective rating out of ten for the quietness of the card when under gaming load. Simple rpm doesn't always tell the full story.

During our session of Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the temperature of our OMNI-cooled GTX 480 rose to 73°C - a massive 20°C less than NVIDIA's reference design.

Furthermore, the cooler remains remarkably quiet. With the radiator fan spinning at a moderate speed, it is barely audible and quieter than most of the comparison air-cooled cards.