|Sapphire 100315L Radeon HD 6850 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 25 October 2010|
Page 14 of 15
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.
For power consumption tests, Benchmark Reviews utilizes the 80-PLUS GOLD certified OCZ Z-Series Gold 850W PSU, model OCZZ850. This power supply unit has been tested to provide over 90% typical efficiency by Chroma System Solutions. To measure isolated video card power consumption, Benchmark Reviews uses 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 test computer system, which is allowed to boot into Windows-7 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 Radeon HD 6850 requires only a single six-pin PCI-E power connection for proper operation. Resting at idle, the Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 consumed 21W by our measure. Compensating for a small margin of error, this falls roughly in-line with AMD's 19W expected power draw. Once 3D-applications begin to demand power from the GPU, electrical power consumption climbed to full-throttle. Measured with 3D 'torture' load using FurMark, the Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 required 146W. This is slightly more than the reference product consumed, and falls between the ATI Radeon HD 5830 and Radeon HD 5850 - or between the GeForce GTS 450 and GTX 460 on NVIDIA's side.