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Do graphics cards require less power over time?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 2, 2013 12:41:35 PM

I've got a 550 W PSU, and high-end GPUs such as the GTX Titan suggest a minimum of 600 W. Let's say in two years, a $200 GPU has the same FPS as the GTX Titan does today, then would it still require a minimum of 600 W, or would it most likely require less power because the GPU has become more power-efficient over time? Or is that not necessarily a trend?
a b U Graphics card
October 2, 2013 12:45:24 PM

A new card that matches Titan performance in two years will require a lot less power.
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a b U Graphics card
October 2, 2013 12:48:15 PM

While there is a trend towards increased efficiency, there is also a trend towards increased power/performance. This often means that a newer card will be more powerful, but use the same (or sometimes more) wattage. Also, remember that PSUs degrade over time, effectively reducing their peak power.

If you are interested in a card in the Titan class, I would recommend buying a better PSU first, just to avoid the risk of damaging the card.
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October 2, 2013 12:58:14 PM

Thanks, I'm just trying to future-proof (yeah I know, a naughty term). I'm running a GTX 660 right now, but realistically, in two years perhaps, I'd like to upgrade to whatever I can get for $250 or so, which surely would be quite powerful in today's standards.

I had a 630 W PSU, but that died so while it's submitted for an RMA, I purchased a 550 W PSU. I'm wondering if the 550 W PSU is enough power for a few years, or if I should return that and keep the 630 W one. Although, the wattage difference between 630 and 550 isn't really much, anyway?

Or, if I'm getting a new GPU in a few years, should I just get a PSU at the time, too? Especially since PSUs are most efficient when between 50 to 80% load, from what I've heard?
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a c 362 U Graphics card
October 2, 2013 2:26:49 PM

The graphics card does not become more power efficient over time. Instead one can argue the opposite. As hardware ages it consumes more power because the overall condition of the electronics deteriorates over time.
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October 2, 2013 2:31:51 PM

jaguarskx said:
The graphics card does not become more power efficient over time. Instead one can argue the opposite. As hardware ages it consumes more power because the overall condition of the electronics deteriorates over time.


Yes, but I'm referring to NEW graphics card models, not one that I've heard for years. Of course a graphics card will become less efficient over time. But surely a newly released graphics card in a few years will use power more efficiently because of new technologies. Otherwise we might end up with GPUs using 2,000 W at some point or something...?
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a b U Graphics card
October 2, 2013 2:35:21 PM

Pretty good example is 480 to 780, the two have near identical power draw, but the 780 is 3x as fast.
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a b U Graphics card
October 2, 2013 2:43:36 PM

The power consumption for new models isn't going to increase exponentially, the single-GPU flagship draws 225-275w at any given time.
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October 2, 2013 2:46:42 PM

Okay thanks, I figured it would be something like that. I don't necessarily expect power consumption to decrease, otherwise we'd end up with a GPU of 10 W one day. I imagined that they would stay about the same, but just that they could draw more FPS in a game, etc.
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a c 362 U Graphics card
October 2, 2013 5:15:06 PM

gary king said:


Yes, but I'm referring to NEW graphics card models, not one that I've heard for years. Of course a graphics card will become less efficient over time...


Sorry, I read your question too quickly. As others have stated for similar performance of a current generation card, future generation cards will generally consume less power and still provide the same level of performance.

A very recent example is the Radeon HD 7750 and HD 5770. Both cards basically provide the same level of performance. However, while the newer HD 7750 only needs 43w of power, the HD 5770 needed 85w of power to provide that same level of performance.

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October 2, 2013 6:50:39 PM

Excellent thanks. That all makes sense. The primary thing I was wondering about was just how much more efficient future cards would be, and it seems like they will continue to be pretty efficient indeed. I guess I shouldn't expect to buy a 10,000 W PSU in the next few years!
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a c 362 U Graphics card
October 2, 2013 6:56:11 PM

Oh don't worry.... Over the next few years all gamers may be required to own their own nuclear powerplant to provide enough juice to their PCs in order to play games like Battlefield 5 and GTA 6...
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