|ZOTAC GeForce GTX 260 AMP! Edition|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Miles Cheatham|
|Tuesday, 21 October 2008|
Page 12 of 15
To measure power we used our Seasonic Power Angel a nifty little tool that measures a variety of electrical values. We used a high-end UPS as our power source to eliminate any power spikes and to condition the current being supplied to the test systems. The Seasonic Power Angel was placed in line between the UPS and the test system to measure the power utilization in Watts. We measured the idle load after 15 minutes of totally idle activity on the desktop with no processes running that mandated additional power demand. Load was measured taking extended peak power measurements from the entirety of our benchmarking process.
Given the power utilization of the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition at load, we don't think it will be a number one seller amongst energy conservationists, but then again how many gaming enthusiasts fit in that category. When in 2D mode or low performance 3D mode the power consumption is very reasonable. When you switch to 3D high performance mode (games) the card exhibits a very healthy appetite for power. A number of members on other forums have also commented about their love-hate relationship with the GTX 200 series when Folding. Those that are involved with Folding at Home are seeing the highest point outputs ever by utilizing the GPU in lieu of the CPU to perform their folding tasks. The hate comes in when they receive their monthly power bill. Depending on the number of computers and GPUs involved we have heard of monthly increases ranging from $10.00 to over $100.00. Let us not forget it's summer and very hot so the exact cost attributed to Folding at Home may in fact be exaggerated.
The temperatures of the cards tested were measured using Riva Tuner v. 2.09 to assure consistency and remove any bias that might be interjected with the respective card's utilities. The temperature measurements used the same process for measuring "idle" and "load" capabilities as we did with the power consumption measurements.
Using Forceware 178.13 drivers caused an average temperature increase of 5 - 6° Celsius at both idle and load for both the for all of the NVIDIA based cards we tested. ZOTAC sets the fan on their GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition to operate at 40% of its maximum capacity to both maintain reasonably quiet operation of their cooling fan and establish a reasonable thermal environment. Manually changing the fan's operation threshold to 60 - 65% will not increase the fan noise to an objectionable level and will also serve to decrease both idle and load temperatures 3-5° Celsius. The temperatures we show on the above captioned graph are with the fan at its stock setting and we also need to remember that the thermal threshold for these cards is 105° Celsius. Many gaming enthusiasts however prefer to keep their precious GPU's temperature below the 80° Celsius mark.