|MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Wednesday, 11 August 2010|
Page 17 of 19
VGA Power Consumption
Life is not as affordable as it used to be, and items such as gasoline, natural gas, and electricity all top the list of resources which have exploded in price over the past few years. Add to this the limit of non-renewable resources compared to current demands, and you can see that the prices are only going to get worse. Planet Earth is needs our help, and needs it badly. With forests becoming barren of vegetation and snow capped poles quickly turning brown, the technology industry has a new attitude towards turning "green". I'll spare you the powerful marketing hype that gets sent from various manufacturers every day, and get right to the point: your computer hasn't been doing much to help save energy... at least up until now. Take a look at the idle clock rates NVIDIA programmed into the BIOS for this GPU. Yes, that's two digits for core and memory clocks, right out of the box; no special power-saving software utilities required.
To measure isolated video card power consumption, I used the Kill-A-Watt EZ (model P4460) power meter made by P3 International. A baseline test is taken without a video card installed inside our computer system, which is allowed to boot into Windows and rest idle at the login screen before power consumption is recorded. Once the baseline reading has been taken, the graphics card is installed and the system is again booted into Windows and left idle at the login screen. Our final loaded power consumption reading is taken with the video card running a stress test using FurMark. Below is a chart with the isolated video card power consumption (not system total) displayed in Watts for each specified test product:
* Results are accurate to within +/- 5W.
The MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC pulled just 18 (140-122) watts at idle and 180 (304-122) watts when running full out, using the test method outlined above. So, there's good news for those who were frightened off by the GF100 power consumption. The GF104 is much more frugal, especially in idle, where the device driver runs the clocks WAY down, without any apparent ill effects. Built on 40nm technology, those two billion transistors could be pulling a lot more power and generating a lot more heat with older chip technology, exactly like the GT200 cards built with 55nm chips did. Next, I'll offer you some final thoughts, and my conclusions. On to the next page...