AMD’s Radeon HD 5570: Low Profile, Higher Performanceby Ryan Smith on February 9, 2010 12:00 AM EST
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Power, Temperature, & Noise
As a note here, since NVIDIA does not offer a reference GT 240, we’re using our Asus 512MB GDDR5 GT 240 as our reference 240.
With a 42W TDP and 9.7W idle power rating, it should come as no surprise that the 5570 comes in between the 5450 and 5670 at both power measurements. The GT 240 is the biggest winner here, beating even the 5570. However this is likely due to differences in how AMD and NVIDIA throttle their cards under FurMark.
In terms of performance per watt, the 5570 falls in the same general range as the 4670 and the GT 240. This also gives us an idea of where the cut-off is for what can be done with a low-profile card – at 15W more under load, the 5670 basically marks the start of a whole new class of cards.
One thing you give up in moving to a smaller cooler for a low-profile card is the nice temperatures a full-profile card can attain. The 5570 ends up being several degrees warmer when idling when compared to the 5670, sharing company with our passive cards and some mid-range cards. Interestingly the Sapphire card does better here, coming in 3 degrees cooler at 40C.
Under load we have a different story. The 5570 marks a clear gap between passively cooled cards and actively cooled cards, but it enjoys the status of being our coolest actively cooled card. The Sapphire card on the other hand doesn’t do so well here, coming in at nearly 10C hotter. We believe that this is due to a combination of the difference in their fans and the use of a copper heatsink in the AMD reference card versus an aluminum heatsink in the Sapphire card. Unfortuantely we can’t tell which one has the bigger impact, since switching out a heatsink can improve the cooling performance without having an acoustic impact like switching out a fan does.
On a more speculative note, based particularly on the AMD card’s temperatures, the 5570 looks like a good candidate to get the passive treatment. It would likely need to be a full-sized card, but certainly it’s cool enough that someone should be able to build a passive Redwood card here.
Despite the number of cards with small fans in our collection, the AMD 5570 stands out as having one of the loudest. Not only is it loud enough to do a bit worse at idle than a number of other cards (all of which tend to hug the noise floor), but it has just the right pitch to sound loud. We can easily tell it apart from all the other fans in our Spedo case, something that isn’t the case with several of these other cards. The fan on the Sapphire card on the other hand is as quiet as anything else we have tested when it comes to idling.
Under load the AMD card continues to be at a disadvantage. The more power-hungry cards end up being louder, but it’s still louder than the 4670 and even the 5670 (the latter of which is a surprisingly quiet card). The Sapphire on the other hand bests the 5670, but remember that the cost of this is that the Sapphire card hits nearly 80C under load. Sapphire’s card is clearly tuned for acoustics over thermals.