With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).
There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.
When we test a dual GPU card we just grab the hottest GPU to give you an idea of worst case. Compared to the reference HD 5970 the card runs a whole lot cooler and it seems those three fans aren't just there to make the card look mean. This really is a fantastic temperature for the dual GPU beast. Even with the three fans we thought it would run hotter than this because of the massive clocks.
Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.
After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).
This cooling does come at the cost of some extra noise. In saying that, though, it's quieter than both NVIDIA offerings at load and compared to the HD 5870 reference cooler which is the loudest of the ATI cards, it's only 2dB more.