|Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 SOC GV-N480SO-15I|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Wednesday, 22 December 2010|
Page 19 of 21
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 that NVIDIA programmed into the BIOS for this GPU; no special power-saving software utilities are required. With the GPU core running at 50.6 MHz, and the memory at 67.5 MHz, not a lot of power is required to keep things percolating. This is miles ahead of what the industry was doing 1-2 years ago, in terms of speed throttling to save energy.
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 Gigabyte GV-N480SO-15I GeForce GTX 480 Super Overclock Video Card pulled 49 (171-122) watts at idle and 308 (430-122) watts when running full out, using the test method outlined above. The GTX 480 Super Over Clock is more frugal than the first generation of full-sized Fermi cards, and within the same range as later cards from major board partners. Part of the increased efficiency comes from running cooler than most GTX 480 cards. I've consistently seen power usage climb right along with temps while stress testing a variety of graphics cards.
We've all become used to the low power ways of the newest processors, and there's no turning back. BTW, just because you asked... GPU-Z reported a GPU voltage of 0.962V at idle, 1.037V in 2D mode, and 1.037V in full 3D mode.
Next, I'll offer you some final thoughts, and my conclusions. On to the next page...