Power Consumption, Temps and Noise
We have a few final data points to cover before bringing this article to a close. Throughout all of our benchmarking, we monitored how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter, and also took some notes regarding its noise output and GPU temperatures. Our goal was to give you all an idea as to how much power each configuration used and to explain how loud the configurations were under load. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption here, not just the power being drawn by the video cards alone.
The new GeForce 8800 GTX and GeForce 8800 GTS consumed more power than any of the other cards we tested, but the results are somewhat promising. Some of you may be thinking we're a little nuts to say that, considering the GTX requires two 6-Pin PCI Express supplemental power leads, but the good news is that the increased performance offered by these new cards is not directly proportional to their power consumption. If we look at the GeForce 8800 GTX in particular, in many cases it offered nearly double the performance of the Radeon X1950 XTX, yet under load, the test system consumed "only" 33 more watts. And the GTS and X1950 XTX were roughly on par with one another under load. When compared to the 7900 GTX things don't look quite as rosy, but power consumption is not quite as insane as initial rumors regarding the G80 let on. And who knows, with a die-shrink and GDDR4 memory, the spring-refresh products - if they in fact use GDDR4 memory and get a die-shrunk GPU; we're speculating - will likely offer better performance with lower power requirements.
GeForce 8800 GTS Core Temperature Over Time
GeForce 8800 GTX Core Temperature Over Time
As you'd probably expect looking at the power consumption numbers, the GeForce 8800 GTS and GTX put off a substantial amount of heat. We monitored GPU temperatures over a 15 minute span with RTHDRIBL running at 1920x1200, as saw maximum temperature of about 80'C for the GTS and 84'C for the GTX. If you're in the market for either one of these cards, we definitely recommend good case ventilation.
Lastly, we have some comments regarding the noise generated by the coolers used on the new GeForce 8800 GTS and GTX. Throughout our testing, the fans on both cards spun up after only a few minutes of gaming. The noise output wasn't bad though. We couldn't register a solid result on our aging sound level meter, but we can say that the 8800 GTX and GTS are perhaps a bit louder than a 7900 GTX. We definitely wouldn't categorize the fans as quiet when spun-up, but we don't think the noise output will be an issue for any gamer or enthusiast.