Power Consumption & Temperatures
By far the biggest criticism towards the GeForce GTX 480 has been power consumption and as expected we see that a single card uses 25% more power than the Radeon HD 5870 when under load and up to 58% more at idle.
Adding a second Radeon HD 5870 saw the Crossfire setup consume 39% more power than a single GeForce GTX 480 taking the entire system power consumption level to a staggering 591 watts. Despite the hefty load results the Radeon HD 5870 Crossfire setup only used 17% more power at idle when compared to the single GPU configuration.
The GeForce GTX 480 SLI setup on the other hand sucked down 348 watts at idle which is more power than the same system consumed with a single Radeon HD 5870 under full load. That is a disappointing statistic, though even more unbelievable is the load result which almost reached 800 watts! With a load result of 787 watts the GeForce GTX 480 SLI cards consumed 33% more power than the Radeon HD 5870 Crossfire combination, almost a 200 watt increase in power.
Temperatures were high across the board with the Radeon HD 5870 setup reaching temperatures in the high 80s. The single GeForce GTX 480 was around 10 degrees hotter, while the SLI setup added another 8 degrees to the temperature readings when under load. No surprises at idle where the GeForce GTX 480 cards remained hot and the SLI setup got no cooler than 70 degrees.