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Thermals were one area where the MSI should have had the advantage based on its greater size and weight, and indeed the smaller, lighter cooler on the PULSE produced load temps that were higher than the GAMING X. Under load in a 25 – 26 C room (a simple test involving 10x successive iterations of the Metro Exodus benchmark at 1080/high) the SAPPHIRE PULSE hit a max GPU temp of 71 C with a 89 C hot spot, while the MSI GAMING X card topped out at 65 C / 86 C hot spot. Not a huge difference, and I appreciate the horizontal heatsink fins on the PULSE, as case airflow should offer a bit of help during extended gaming sessions with some of the warm air being pushed out the back I/O panel vents.

I’d love to cover noise but did not get that far, as testing was performed on the dining room table with a noisy child in the next room, AC going constantly, and various other hazards. At some point I’ll reboot noise testing, but for now I can say that it was mostly inaudible over the AiO cooler’s fans (CORSAIR H115i ELITE CAPELLIX, Extreme preset).

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