Nvidia is pleased with reference air cooling and so are we. In short, it’s better than any high end dual-GPU reference cooling solution we’ve tried. At the same time, the cooler doesn’t get too loud, not even when the card works full throttle, which is always a plus, especially for a card of this caliber.
The fans won’t get loud in AUTO mode, as their RPM does not exceed 2300. Only when you go beyond 2600RPM will you be able to hear it good from inside your rig. The card remains almost inaudible when idle. To put things in perspective – the GTX 690 is about as quiet as a single GTX 680, but definitely quieter than two GTX 680s in SLI.
We didn’t have to speed up the fans manually for our overclocking, but we did it anyway to see how much will the temperature drop. Running at 1170MHz in AUTO fan mode, the GPU went up to 84°C. We noticed that the fans weren’t significantly faster than at reference clocks, which explained the higher GPU temperature.
Once we maxed out the fans, we measured 77°C. Note that the maximum allowed RPM, which is 2900, made the fans quite loud, but not what we’d call unbearable.
Consumption is significantly lower and as much has 90W lower than what a GTX 680 SLI would draw.