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NVIDIA is touting that this card has more firepower than any other consumer card on the market, while simultaneously consuming less power than its predecessor, the 6800 Ultra. To test out their claims, we hooked up the test system to a simple power meter to get some readings. The efficiency of the power supply is not factored into the test; what we report is the total power used by the system. As we have stated in the past, "you have to pay for the all of the electricity you use, regardless of whether it lost to PSU inefficiency or actually used by the computer's components." So in essence, it doesn't matter what the efficiency is for the purpose of these tests.
As with our previous tests, we are going to test the power draw in watts for the WHOLE system and not the video cards alone. Also, to ensure that components such as optical drives and hard disks don't factor into the final result due to activity, we measured the power consumption during periods of activity during the boot process, as well as during inactivity after Windows had finished loading. The meter measured the results in real time, and for our next set of tests, perhaps R520, we hope to be able to graph the consumption throughout the entire boot or benchmark.
As you can see, the boot-up and at an idle state, the power draw of the GeForce 7800 GTX is lower than the 6800 Ultra. However, both are higher than the ATI Radeon X850XT PE.