How much power does your video card use?

We do some tests to determine how green your video cards are.

With everything going green, it was only a matter of time before we added more power consumption testing in the labs. With all the advancements in graphic cards--multiple GPUs, multiple power connections, Crossfire, and SLI--they're now one of the biggest energy hogs in your rig. Our goal is to look at GPU power consumption and measure power vs. performance vs.cost.

The test bed is Intel-based, with a Core i7 965 processor at 3.20GHz and 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz. The meter used to measure the system's power is a Watts up? Pro ES. Watts up? is a "plug load" meter that measures the amount of electricity used by whatever is plugged into it.

Testing is done in two states, first the idle test; this is where we simulate an end-user environment, by opening Internet Explorer, iTunes, and Windows Mail. We then let the system idle for about 5 minutes, export the results from the Watts up?, and use the average of the total idle watts for our score.

The next phase is a 3D high-end test, where we have Crysis running multiple runs at 1,600x1,200 resolution and, like the idle test, we export and average the data.

For a detailed look at the actual testing process, check out the gallery below for photos of our GPU power testing setup. To see the actual results of our power consumption testing, check out these recent graphics card reviews.

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About the author

    When not juggling the dual demands of parenthood and playing basketball, Joseph is a life-long Manhattanite who can be found testing the latest tech in the CNET Labs and developing new benchmarks and testing methodologies.

     

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