AMD Radeon HD 7870 and 7850 GPU Previews

Article Index

Power Consumption, Noise, Temps

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 acoustics and tracked how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you 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 drawn by the graphics cards alone.

Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet

The new Radeon HD 7800 series cards proved to be fairly power friendly. While idling, they were among the lowest offenders, and the same held true while under load. Despite offering much better performance than the Radeon HD 6870, the Radeon HD 7850 consumed less power under load. And the Radeon HD 7870 consumed significantly less power than the GeForce GTX 570 or Radeon HD 6970, while offering similar or better performance.

With their manageable power consumption characteristics, temperatures and noise were non-issues with the Radeon HD 7800 series cards. We saw some weirdness where the GPU fans on the cards would spin up while powering-up or rebooting our testing system, but once the drivers initialized in Windows, the cards were mostly silent. While idling temperatures on both cards remained in the mid-to-upper 30 degree celcius range, with fans spinning at, or around, 20%. Under load while gaming, we saw a peak temperature on the higher-clocked 7870 of only about 69'C, with a fan speed that hovered in the 30%-33% range, which was audible, but quiet in our opinion.

Related content