Power Consumption and Temps
Before bringing this article to a
close, we'd like to cover a few final data points--namely
power consumption and temps. 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.
The variance between the power consumption of the three 580's was modest but perceptible. Requiring 238W idle / 437W load, Gigabyte's card narrowly edged Zotac's Amp! Edition. Furthermore, MSI's GTX 580 consumed more power than the competition, but not enough to be a deal breaker.
To compare cooling performance, we manually adjusted each card to identical settings. With GPU core clocks at 800 MHz, memory frequency at 1050 MHz, and voltage set to 1.00V on all three cards, we fired up Furmark to measure the idle and load temps with approximately 15 minutes of burn in.
Sporting the reference design coolers, the cards from MSI and Zotac performed similarly. In comparison to the M2D15D5/OC, the Amp! Edition GTX 580 ran one degree cooler under load, but a couple of degrees warmer while idle. On the other hand, Gigabyte's custom, triple fan cooling solution lived up to the hype by demonstrating superior cooling performance by keeping the GPU core temperature in check, big time. At only 60 degrees fully loaded, the N580UD ran 20 degrees or 33% cooler than the competition.