Power Consumption of Modern Graphics Cards

By on February 3, 2006, 12:21 PM
When reading the reviews of the new ATI X1900 series of cards I was looking for power consumption charts, some sites had more than questionable results, no word on what exactly they where measuring or how. Today X-Bit Labs comes to the rescue, revealing how the current highend, midrange and lowend cards stack up on a performance per watt scale.

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djleyo said:
yeah its to bad if you really want high end graphics you have to sacrifice power from the psu not to mention if you have a SLI or crossfire setup and not only graphics cards are power hogs many other devices are doing that like motherboards and processorswe need more capable power supplies but if they makethem more capable then we have to sacrifice space in our cases :(
JMMD said:
Interesting article, I would swear that the other articles I've read (from other sites) have shown much higher results. Those aren't bad at all. I tend to spend a good amount on the PSU since they last a long time.
Need_a_Dell said:
I remember back in the day, all you needed to do was plug the card into the mobo, and BAM!, you were ready to play your new games. But now-a-days, you have to make sure that your supply is able to handle the new card, and then plug the card in. This isn't really a big problem, I'm just making it seem like one. (I'm not that lazy! I mean, FOR THE LOVE OF GAMING!) Hopefully technology in the future will figure out a way to lower the power consumption of new GPUs.
gamingmage said:
Graphics cards today and tomorrow will use more power. At least until they find a more power efficient way to make graphics cards faster. These days it seems as though going from intergrated graphics or a really low end pci-e graphics card to something like a SLI 7800gt or gtx situation is like adding hundreds of dollars to your electricity bill (I don't know if it's that much but I bet it's a lot).
nathanskywalker said:
Wow, i honestly did not know that, that is absolutely insane!!! 120 watts, that is crazy!!![quote]While the problem of power consumption for desktop computers is hardly as significant as some companies would like people to think, the consequences of high power requirements are growing dissipation of heat, complexity of cooling solutions and noise of fans. Modern gaming computers should feature at least four fans: one on the CPU, another on the graphics card, one to suck fresh air from outside while cooling-down the hard disk drive and one to throw the hot air out of the computer case. Contemporary high-end gaming systems such as Alienware ALX that include two graphics cards, also use more fans causing enormous noise.[/quote]Definently, at least four. Especially if you don't have an "uber good " heat sink, or water cooling. Besides the intial heat, heat is energy, and if it is not let out, it will build up(duh), and of course, after a long period of time, that is not necessarily good for the machine, especially in the long run. Not to mention the immediate effects, such as a shaky screen, glitches, random shut downs, etc...etc...wow, i'd say ATi takes a little more powers....[url]http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i
2238&p=4[/url]Well, anyway, i'm impressed, but i was hoping not to have to worry about the electric bill when i get a new system.
Race said:
Faster, more powerful computer components are increasingly power hungry, and I don't see that changing in the near term.This was never more evident than when I saw the ad for the new PC Power & Cooling 1 KW PSU.......1000 watts continuous and 1100 watts peak, with 66 amps on the 12v rails (70 amps peak)[url]http://www.pcpowercooling.com/products/viewproduct
vigilante said:
Lol, and to think, these video cards take more power then a whole system needed 10 years ago.If the industry keeps going forward at the same rate, that means in another 10 years, a 2000w PS will be pretty normal for a mid/high end home PC.But that can't be, that's just to much electricity! It will be interesting to see where technology goes to handle power consumption, it can't get to much worse now before it has to get better. We'll see.
Canadian said:
I want to know, how much longer until faster, more efficient, less consuming parts.
Vaulden said:
If this trend continues some people will have to ration their computer time just to keep from running their utilities bill up. Hopefully the companies will see this and move towards more power efficient cards in the future. Though this may raise the cost of the cards as they will try to do more with less.
cyrax said:
I was wondering when someone was going to take issue with this. The power requirements are a bit excessive. I might have to buy a 480 watt next week, and believe me, i'm NOT looking foward to it.
Mictlantecuhtli said:
Eh, is someone forcing you (people) to buy more and more power-hungry devices?
Kaleid said:
Older cards:[url]http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/at
Nic said:
Power consumption will never get to 1kw simply because the amount of cooling required would be impractical. Imagine having a 1kw electric fire inside your PC case...how easy would that be to cool? How hot would your room get in summer? Currently, I'd be surprised if many high-end overclocked system use more than 400w and things aren't likely to get much worse than this. Only exotic cooling systems (or very large RAID arrays) would result in higher power consumption being required. As technology advances transistor size is getting smaller and hence CPUs/GPUs cooler, though multicores will counter that to some extent. You can't put 1kw through something smaller than a fingernail as it will melt.
sjps220 said:
Great article. I thought I was being on the safe side buying a 420 Watt enermax but now I read about cards that recommend 450 watt supplies. I don't really think there's a market for cards that don't need as much power yet. The graphics card market is still driven by performance. Maybe once energy costs are higher and power consumption of video cards gets a bit higher (even just to the level of the most power hungry cards now) people will start to look more at performance per watt.
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