AMD Radeon HD 6870 & 6850 Graphics Cards Debut

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Total System Power Consumption

Before bringing this article to a close, we'd like to cover a few final data points--namely power consumption and noise. 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.

Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet

The new Radeon HD 6800 series cards fared very well in terms of power consumption. While idling at the Windows desktop, they had the lowest power consumption of the bunch. And while under load (running the Unigine Heaven Benchmark) the Radeon Hd 6870's power consumption hovered around 256 watts, which was right in-line with the lower performing Radeon HD 5850, while the 6850 came in at right around the 237 watt mark, which was the lowest of all of the cards we tested.

With relatively low power consumption characteristics, it should come as no surprise that heat and noise were non-issues with these cards. The Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 reference cards both idled at approximately 46'C - 48'C and under load they peaked at around the 80'C mark. And at idle, both cards were barely audible. Under load, the 6870 was audible but remained quiet and unobtrusive, while the 6850 was as well, although the 6850's fan produced a more "pitchy" whine.

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