iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Zotac GeForce GT 430 ZONE, GTS 450 AMP!, GTX 460 AMP!, GTX 580

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Zotac ZONE GeForce GT 430 1GB 128-bit

This Zone Edition card features a passive cooler — a finned heatsink that covers the card almost entirely.

Zotac AMP! GeForce GTS 450 1GB 128-bit

The core is cooled down by a massive heatsink with a large, slow fan in the middle. Memory chips are not cooled. The plastic cover is entirely decorative. Thanks to the quality fan, the cooler is almost noiseless.

Zotac AMP! GeForce GTX 460 1GB 256-bit

This one resembles the previous, but is boosted significantly. There's also a heatsink with a similar fan, but it all on a copper base plate and has a 'tail' that goes along the cover. The latter, aside from design purposes, supports the 'tail'. This cooler is nearly noiseless as well.

Zotac GeForce GTX 580 1536MB 384-bit

Although this cooler resembles that of GeForce GTX 480, there are no heatpipes, and the cooler is actually quite different. First of all, it bases on a vaporizing chamber encased in a narrow copper compartment adjoining the GPU. Above the chamber are heatsink fins through which air is driven by the fan located on the end of the card.

According to tests, this cooler is more efficient that the older one based on heatpipes. Liquid inside the vaporizing chamber transfers heat from the bottom to the top plate almost instantly. But even more important is that fan speed is adjusted smoothly depending on temperature. Aside from providing better cooling efficiency, this makes the cooler almost noiseless (especially under low load), unlike that of GeForce GTX 480.

Traditionally, we monitored temperatures using EVGA Precision (based on RivaTuner).

Zotac ZONE GeForce GT 430 1GB 128-bit

Zotac AMP! GeForce GTS 450 1GB 128-bit

Zotac AMP! GeForce GTX 460 1GB 256-bit

Zotac GeForce GTX 580 1536MB 384-bit

As you can see, the very efficient coolers of the GeForce GTS 450/GTX 460 yield excellent results, temperature not exceeding 73°C despite considerable overclocking.

Since the GeForce GTX 580 copies the reference design, the conclusions are the same as those provided in the baseline review. Such temperature is all right for the fastest single-GPU solution. Why, it's even lower than those of older products.

As for the GeForce GT 430, it's not a surprise that passive coolers result in higher core temperatures. But 100°C is still far from optimal. The card itself will be fine, it can withstand temperatures up to 120°C. But what about the rest of parts inside PC enclosure? Such heat won't do them any good.

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