Quieting A Noisy Graphics Card With An Aftermarket Cooler

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Fitment and Performance

The first challenge after mounting the Twin Turbo III onto the GTX 670 was getting it back into my mid-tower case. In addition to the fans on one side of the card, the cooler also includes a beefy back side passive metal cooler with fins for additional heat dissipation. This added considerable thickness to the card. With the old cooler, the card was 1.25-inches thick, but with the Twin Turbo III installed it was much thicker.
upgrading a gpu cooler 3
After putting it all together, the entire assembly was about 3.25-inches thick, blocking both slots on either side of the graphics card. Plus, the PCIe power leads from the PSU ended up sitting so high when sandwiched between the parts it was hard to close the case. I basically had to bend the cables at the connector with more than a little force to get the case closed.

upgrading a gpu cooler 2
With The Stock GeForce GTX 670 Installed

upgrading a gpu cooler 1
With The Modded Graphics Card Installed

All that done, I fired up the test bed PC and got to work on testing.  My testbed for this piece consisted of...
  • Intel Core i7-2600 CPU
  • Gigabyte Z77 motherboard
  • 16GB DDR3 memory
  • OCZ Agility 3 256GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Home edition
This older PC seemed an ideal test bed, because it represents the kind of system that you'd find a GeForce GTX 670 when it was originally released.

With everything installed, the system booted on the first try and seemed stable. SpeedFan reported all voltages in normal range, with an idle GPU temperature of 30'C, which was very encouraging since gaming GPUs aren't typically known for running at low temperatures.  All right, let's look at the numbers...

idle temps
load temps

Notice the huge 20'C difference in temperature under full load, which is impressive. But I'd be disappointed with anything less. This will undoubtedly give more headroom for overclocking. The Arctic Twin Turbo III has a large copper / aluminum heat sink and five pipes to wick away heat from the baseplate. The stock cooler just has a solid copper plate with fins attached. The Twin Turbo III has two 92mm fans while the stock cooler has one 60mm fan. So, it's no surprise that the card runs cooler. The deltas are quite large, though and worth pointing out.

avg noise

max noise

What a difference a heat sink makes, even if it is a monstrosity. The audio measurements were taken six inches from a closed case. Under the idle condition, I left WCG running, since that's how I'd be using the system, and for a load I left WCG running while playing WoW. This is a reproduction of what caused the most noise from the old heat sink in my personal experience.

It was most interesting to see how little variance there was in fan noise as load ramped up with the Twin Turbo III. The GTX stock cooler really spun up and got loud under load, but between idle and full load, the Twin Turbo kept the noise to a minimum. The Twin Turbo III's larger heatsink and the additional air-flow from its dual fans kept temperatures lower than the stock cooler regardless of load.
Tags:  cooling, GPU, upgrades, noise

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