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 and testing, we monitored how much power our test systems were consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling and 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 motherboards alone.
The new GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 put up some interesting power consumption numbers. Although the difference is small, the Core 216 card actually consumed slightly less power then the first-gen GTX 260 while idling. While under load though, the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 used a few more watts than its older cousin. In comparison to the Radeon HD 4870, the new GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 cards consumed significantly less power while idling and under load.
NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 cards also run measurably cooler than the Radeon HD 4870. We witnessed core GPU temperatures in the mid to upper 60's celsius while idling and around 80 to 85'C under load. The new GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 cards were also much cooler to the touch than the Radeon HD 4870, although they obviously get quite hot. We should also note that the coolers on the new GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 cards are virtually identical to the first-gen GTX 260, which is to say they are near silent at idle and audible, but not very loud, under load.