Power Consumption and Noise
We'd like to cover a few final data points before bringing this article to a close. Throughout all of our benchmarking adn testing, we monitored how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter and also took some notes regarding its noise output. 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 at the outlet here, not just the power being drawn by the video cards alone.
In a single-card configuration, the GeForce 8800 Ultra consumed only slightly more power than the GeForce 8800 GTX while idling and while under a heavly load. When we installed the second card, however, and enabled SLI-mode, the delta separating the two GeForce 8800 configurations became much more pronounced. The idle scores between the two SLI configurations weren't all that different, but under load the Ultra consumed 38 more watts. It seems the increased heat associated with the running a pair of high-end cards like these in a single system caused a larger than expected increase in power consumption.
Lastly, we have some comments regarding the noise generated by the new cooler used on the GeForce 8800 Ultra. Throughout our testing, the fans on both cards spun up after only a few minutes of gaming. The noise output wasn't relatively low, however. We couldn't register a solid result on our aging sound level meter, but we can say that the 8800 Ultra is as quiet or quieter than the GTX and clearly quieter than the Radeon X1950 XTX. 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, even with a pair of card installed.