Power Consumption & Temperatures
Power consumption figures for the GeForce GTX 480 are truly terrifying. With a total system consumption of 506 watts under load, it was 22% more power hungry than the Radeon HD 5870. Despite being a single GPU graphics card it used slightly more power than the dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970 at both idle and load, and was comparable to a pair of Radeon HD 5870 graphics cards in Crossfire mode.
All that power makes for one seriously hot graphics card as well. The 97 degree load temperature was the maximum temperate that we recorded during our tests, and had the fan spinning so fast things started sliding across my desk towards the test system. The GeForce GTX 480 was truly deafening when running at full load.
Letting the card sit at the Windows 7 desktop for 20 minutes saw the temperature drop only to 65 degrees. When it came time to remove the GTX 480 from our test system, I had to wear a pair of gloves to avoid any possible burns or dropping the extremely hot graphics card. The PCI Express power cables were amazingly soft from all the heat that had been thrown at them.
In short, the GeForce GTX 480 is around 11% hotter than the Radeon HD 5870 under load and a whopping 71% or 27 degrees hotter at idle.