Power, Temperature, & Noise

As always, last but not least is our look at power, temperature, and noise. Next to price and performance of course, these are some of the most important aspects of a GPU, due in large part to the impact of noise. All things considered, a loud card is undesirable unless there’s a sufficiently good reason – or sufficiently good performance – to ignore the noise.

Radeon R9 270 Series Voltages
AMD R7 270 Boost Voltage Sapphire R7 265 Boost Voltage Asus R7 260 Boost Voltage
1.188v 1.175v 1.225v

Neither the R7 260 nor the R7 265 are remarkable as far as voltages are concerned. Both of these are right in the range of common voltages for lower clocked Pitcairn and Bonaire products respectively. Though this does reinforce the fact that R7 265 won’t see any significant power savings compared to R9 270.

Radeon R9 270 Series Average Clockspeeds (Reported)
  Sapphire R7 265 Asus R7 260
Boost Clock 925MHz 1000MHz
Metro: LL
Battlefield 4
Crysis 3
Crysis: Warhead
TW: Rome 2

Looking briefly at average clockspeeds, despite the fact that these cards implement different power control mechanisms – PowerTune Boost 1.0 and PowerTune Boost 2.0 respectively – the end results are the same. Neither card has difficulty maintaining its top clockspeed for their entire runs, this owing in large part due to the fact that they’re not under any significant thermal load that would require pulling back.

Idle Power Consumption

Starting as always with idle power consumption, we can see that all of our low-end cards are tightly clustered. With idle power consumption as good as it is for both AMD and NVIDIA, further improvements are relatively marginal by desktop standards and are essentially drowned out by the large PSU in our GPU testbed.

Load Power Consumption - Crysis 3

Power consumption under Crysis 3 closely mirrors relative performance, at least for our current-generation 28nm cards. The R7 260 for its part draws 196W at the wall, 15W-23W more than the R7 250X and GTX 650 cards it clearly outclasses, and 5W more than the GTX 650 Ti that it still manages to consistently beat. More interesting is that it’s drawing 26W at the wall less than the R7 260X, showcasing that AMD’s power numbers for these cards were in fact almost spot on, especially after accounting for the change in CPU power consumption.

Otherwise for the R7 265, we can see that power consumption slots in above the 7850 and R7 260X, and below the R9 270 by 9W, the kind of very limited change we were expecting. At the same time we can see just how close the R7 265 and GTX 660 are – separated by just 4W – which goes hand-in-hand with their similar performance.

Load Power Consumption - FurMark

Under FurMark we do see some shifts in relative power consumption, though not relative rankings. At 189W the R7 260 is virtually tied with the less powerful 250X, underscoring Bonaire’s greater efficiency and improved power throttling mechanisms, while the 235W R7 265 once again slots in between the R7 260X and R9 270 by several watts in each direction.

Idle GPU Temperature

Moving on to temperatures, our idle temperatures are unremarkable. At 29C for the R7 265 and 31C for the R7 260 both cards do well enough, but they can’t touch the near room temperature operating temperatures of some of the NVIDIA 650 cards.

Load GPU Temperature - Crysis 3

With both of today’s cards being low power open air cooled dual fan cards, there’s little concern for temperatures. Both cards are easily below 70C, with the more powerful R7 265 easily dropping to 55C due to its larger cooler. The R7 260 hits 66C despite its relatively low power, though Asus has clearly been targeting a balance between noise and temperatures as opposed to just maximum cooling in their more recent designs.

Load GPU Temperature - FurMark

Of our two cards, the R7 265 gets the worse of FurMark relatively speaking, thanks in part to its coarser power throttling mechanisms. Regardless even when presented with a maximum load, both cards do well for themselves here, having no trouble staying below 70C.

Idle Noise Levels

Last but not least we have our noise testing. Both the R7 260 and R7 265 do very well for themselves at idle, taking the #1 and #2 spots respectively. Both of these cards are functionally near-silent at idle, and this proves that both Asus and Sapphire did their homework by being able to hit these noise levels with a dual fan configuration, something not every vendor has had a ton of luck with over the years.

Load Noise Levels - Crysis 3

Once again both of today’s cards do very well here. Though the R7 260 is admittedly among the lowest powered cards here, and hence has the easiest time, it nevertheless takes the top spot at 38dB. This being quieter than both the GTX 650 and GTX 650 Ti, the two cards it’s closest to in power consumption and heat generation.

Meanwhile at 40.4dB is the R7 265, where Sapphire has managed to stay cool and quiet despite the nearly 150W the card can pull. At this point it’s still marginally quieter than the slower 260X and over 6dB quieter than the performance-competitive GTX 660 (though it should be noted that the GTX 660 is a blower).

Load Noise Levels - FurMark

FurMark once again changes the picture, but only slightly slow. Even under this extreme workload Asus’s R7 260 comes away smiling, topping out at 38.5dB, 2.5dB less than the GTX 650 Ti. Otherwise we have the Sapphire R7 265 at 43.6dB, which gives up some of its edge from earlier but not much, easily besting the GTX 660 and R7 260X, but falling a bit short of the GTX 650 Ti.

Taken in altogether, both Asus and Sapphire have done good jobs with their R7 260 and R7 265 respectively. As we’ve seen both are able to hit low noise levels even for their relative classes, all the while easily maintaining low operating temperatures.

Otherwise from a power perspective as neither card is based on a new GPU, there are admittedly no real surprises to be had. Power roughly scales with performance, with the R7 265 as a 3rd tier part seeing a lesser benefit, and thereby falling a bit behind the efficiency curve as set by the higher tier Pitcairn parts.


Compute Final Words


View All Comments

  • just4U - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    While you may be right... AMD/Ati does like throwing popular configurations into the mix.. The 265 reminds me a lot of the 4830 and while that card was fairly short lived it was a hot seller for them as it straddled two performance areas but came in at a nicer price point. Reply
  • jabber - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    Indeed I swapped from being a longtime Nvidia user to AMD back in 2009 as I got fed up with Nvidia regurgitating the old 8800 chips three times in a row for the mid level.

    Stuff doesn't have to change radically performance wise but its nice to know new features are added and other things get revised and tweaked. A simple name change isn't enough really.
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    I'm actually happy they're finally making use of that last digit in their 3-number scheme. From my point of view they could have ditched the X altogether and make the R9-270X an R9-275 (or whatever is appropriate). And speaking of R9: they could have given the R7 265 the rating R9 265 to more closely connect it with R9 270. Or just drop that prefix as well, if the numbers don't overlap anyway and the R9/7/3 is not related to features either!

    Speaking about the cards:
    - boost clocks additional 25 MHz again? I have no idea why these are there. Make it 100+ MHz of leave it.
    - 1.175 V for a mere 925 MHz? The chip should be able to do 1.0 GHz at ~1.0 V, maybe 1.10 V for guaranteed clocks
    - same for R7 260 - that voltage is ridiculously high

    Anyway, the cards themselves are fine (just like the 7000 series) and the coolers really fit them.
  • silverblue - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    The single GPU frame latency issue has been fixed for more than six months. I doubt it's going to become a problem again like with AMD's handling of 2D a while back.

    There are remarks concerning the availability of the R9 270 series and the inability for these parts to keep to their RRP, both of which may not be present if this was some sort of fanboy review.
  • Spuke - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    Has it been 6 months? I thought they recently fixed that problem. Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    It was fixed in Cat 13.8 Beta 1, dated 1st August. Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    My bad - that's when CrossFire had its first fix. Apparently, single-GPU was fixed beforehand, though I can't find which driver version it was. Reply
  • Solid State Brain - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    Anandtech: it would be interesting if you tested idle power consumption in multi monitor scenarios. I think you will find out some surprises. Reply
  • creed3020 - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    Excellent point!

    I had a friend with a 6950 and he was furious that his video card would never idle down in gpu/memory frequencies when he had a second monitor connected.

    I personally have a 6850 and two 20" LCDs connected over DVI. I have not looked for the same behaviour but would not be surprised if it were the same.

    Power efficiencies are out the window once the user chooses to go multi-monitor to be more productive.e
  • Solid State Brain - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    I have the same issue with my HD7770 to a lesser extent and my workaround for that is connecting my two secondary displays on the integrated Intel GPU. This saves a significant amount of power. Reply

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