AMD Issues Statement On Fury X Noise; Takes Swipe At Reviewer's Open Test Benches

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅08.07.2015 17:31:29
OPINION



AMD's Radeon R9 Fury X launched with a bang last week, putting the red team back in the high-performance gaming limelight. In the Fiji XT they finally have a GPU which can battle it out with NVIDIA's flagship competition in a swath of tests, all while bringing innovation to the market in the form of High Bandwidth Memory. Almost inevitably there had to be a twist in the tale.

Sadly, there was. And yet again, AMD's reference cooler is the focus.

Some launch reviewers, and later early bird consumers who picked up their own Fury X, reported a frustrating noise seemingly emanating from the pump of the Fury X's integrated water cooler. Bear in mind that reviewers and enthusiasts are no strangers to coil whine; many view it as being a price to be paid for high-performance graphics (although proper component selection minimises the risk of it cropping up) but what they (and we) discovered was something else entirely.



It seems that the quality of the noise differs on a card by card basis - ours exhibited a high-pitched whine, others reported an almost grating sound; regardless it appeared to be continuous and oppressive. Loud and consistent high-pitched noise is among the most unpleasant to live with on a day-to-day basis even when unconsciously 'tuned out', increasing stress levels and making the act of using your PC far from a leisure activity. Persistent whine, even when not under load, will make you want to hate using your computer.

It has been with some relief to know that AMD quietly issued a retail modification to the pump indicated by a chromed/holographic sticker on the pump, but it was curious that they were reticent in making a clear statement on the problem, given how widespread reports had become. Now, at least, we have that statement.

"We have received feedback that during open bench testing a small number of Fury X cards emit a sound from the high speed liquid cooling pump that, while not loud, is bothersome to some users. While the vast majority of initial Fury X owners report remarkably quiet operation, we take this feedback seriously[.]"

They go on to say: "AMD Radeon R9 Fury X customers demand and deserve the best, so adjustments in the sound baffling adhesive compound were applied in the assembly of the high speed cooling pump to address the specific sound a few end users experienced as problematic. This improved the acoustic profile of the pump, and repeat testing shows the specific pitch/sound in question was largely reduced through adjustments to the sound-baffling adhesive compound in the pump.".



Frankly, hard not to take issue with this statement, and here's why. AMD's inference is clear: testing the Fury X on a test bench, pretty much standard procedure for review sites the world over, is apparently incorrect. The wording of the statement also improperly implies that open bench testing itself caused Fury X to emit the loud, consistent and unpleasant noise. We have to disagree; being easier to hear on an open bench doesn't negate the fact that their own cooler is the central cause.

In our own testing we found the sound generated by the Fury X retail card (both in pitch and amplitude) to be nauseating for short periods, and intolerable for extended sessions. The volume of the noise meant that, although diminished, the sound levels when installed in a chassis were still unacceptable. This is all the more critical when you consider the Fury X's much vaunted small form factor should make it ideal for desk-bound mini-ITX builds, where they'll typically be sat next to a monitor and hence much closer to the user. To describe the noise as merely 'bothersome' is, well, bothersome itself.

The statement, which subtly lays blame at the door of over-sensitive reviewers, comes at a time when AMD have increasing been at loggerheads with sites over perceived 'negative content', especially in light of the wholesale rebadging of the 200-series as 300-series SKUs. It does little for working relationships with those reviewers, the sites they work for and the consumers they represent.

We're pleased to hear that AMD are taking steps to address flaws in the pump, despite apparently only hearing a small number of complaints of minor noise. Hopefully the second wave of stock, due with retailers later this week, won't exhibit similar flaws.

The full text of AMD's statement can be found below:

We have received feedback that during open bench testing a small number of Fury X cards emit a sound from the high speed liquid cooling pump that, while not loud, is bothersome to some users. While the vast majority of initial Fury X owners report remarkably quiet operation, we take this feedback seriously, as AMD’s mission is to always deliver the best possible experience to our Radeon customers.

AMD Radeon R9 Fury X customers demand and deserve the best, so adjustments in the sound baffling adhesive compound were applied in the assembly of the high speed cooling pump to address the specific sound a few end users experienced as problematic. This improved the acoustic profile of the pump, and repeat testing shows the specific pitch/sound in question was largely reduced through adjustments to the sound-baffling adhesive compound in the pump.

AMD will work with its graphic card partners to ensure the satisfaction of the small number of initial customers who observed this specific sound and experienced it as bothersome. AMD is confident that on-going production of Radeon R9 Fury X product reduces the specific sound in question, but this is also a highly subjective matter with wide differences in PC case builds and room acoustics.

The AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury X radiator fan is near silent, and this makes any sound from the high-speed pump more noticeable to some end users, especially during open bench testing. Thus although the overall sound levels are remarkably low for an enthusiast product, AMD has worked to reduce the specific sound that some customers report as bothersome.


SOURCE: TechReport

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