|MSI GTX N650Ti Power Edition Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Tuesday, 09 October 2012|
Page 11 of 13
MSI N650Ti PE Temperatures
We're at the start of a transition: for years the PC industry has produced faster and more powerful CPUs and GPUs, which always came with ever-higher power draws. But as the industry moves to smaller and smaller fabrication processes, we're seeing power draws drop, and clever designs save even more power. Users benefit from GPUs that disable large portions of their circuitry when idle, leading to dramatically lower power draws and very cool idle temperatures. At the other end of the scale, reduced power at the higher end means smaller coolers, quieter fans, and less heat to worry about dissipating.
At the start of this test, I measure the idle temperature of the card with the card sitting at the Windows desktop, using the GPU-Z utility. Next, I start FurMark's stress test and let it run until the temperature curve flattens and the temperature has not varied more than 1 degree in the last five minutes.
FurMark does two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor higher than applications of video games realistically could, and it does so with consistency every time. FurMark works great for testing the stability of a GPU as the temperature rises to the highest possible output. The temperatures discussed below are absolute maximum values, and not representative of real-world performance.
Keep in mind that my testbench is open to the air, and that affects the results by a lot. Still, the Cyclone II thermal design seems to do an outstanding job of keeping the N650 Ti Power Edition very cool.
VGA Power Consumption
The new generation of video cards-- AMD's Southern Islands and NVIDIA's Kepler-- are certainly fast, but their new power saving features are almost as impressive. The move to a smaller process has helped, but both products benefit from a variety of power-saving techniques, including aggressively underclocking and undervolting themselves in low demand scenarios, as well as turning off unused portions of the card. Both companies also use other, proprietary methods to keep power usage low.
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. Another power reading is taken when the display sleeps, and then I measure the power under a heavy gaming load. Our final loaded power consumption reading is taken with the video card running a stress test using FurMark.
Below is a chart with the system totals displayed in watts for each specified test product:
Based on the login situation, it looks like idle power consumption for the GTX N650Ti Power Edition video card is extremely low, around 8 watts. The card has a TDP of 75 watts, but I'd think that under extreme circumstances like FurMark Load, it probably gets up higher than that. The fact that the 650Ti needs a 6-pin PCI-E power input tells me it might need above that 75 watts at some point, as it can get a full 75 watts off the PCI-E slot itself.