Before bringing this article to a close, we'd like to cover a few final data points--namely power consumption and temps. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you all an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling and while under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not just the power being drawn by the graphics cards alone.
We have good news and bad news here. The bad news should not come as a major surprise as the GTX 580 in its stock form is one power hungry video card. Our results show the overclocked EVGA HC FTW GTX 580 uses even more juice due to higher operating frequencies. But if you're considering this monster card, we can't image a few extra dollars on your electricity bill over the course of a year being a deal breaker.
The biggest advantage a water-cooled video card has over its competition is operating temperature. Of course, it commands a price premium and requires additional hardware to implement, but water cooled models will always operate at much lower temps than their air cooled siblings, when installed and setup properly. When looking at our results, keep in mind that every liquid cooling loop is different and ambient temperature is an important factor that affects operating levels of the card.
Here, we utilized Furmark to stress the cards and saw remarkable temps in both idle and load states. How so? With the exception of Gigabyte's HD 5870 SOC, the EVGA GTX 580 FTW HC2 ran cooler at full load than the rest of the cards in an idle state. In other words, the cooling performance of the Hydro Copper 2 waterblock is outstanding.