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Gaming Power Consumption Results

AMD Radeon R9 285 Review: Tonga and GCN Update 3.0
By , Igor Wallossek

Power Consumption: Gaming Loop

For the gaming lop measurements we firstwarm up the graphics card for 20 minutes until a stable GPU temperature of 64 degrees Celsius has been reached. At this point we proceed to measure the card’s power consumption again. Our gaming loop is relatively challenging for the GPU, so we’re confident that the average 176 W we measured is a good representation of today’s demanding game engines. less demanding titles should draw between 165 to 170 Watts depending on the particular title, of course.

Once again, lets focus on just one minute of the smoothed curve. This shows us that the way the load is distributed between the PCIe and the motherboard power connectors conforms to the applicable norms.

The control exercised at the motherboard slot is reassuring. There’s never a sustained load that exceeds the slot’s maximum 75 Watt rating.

Let’s take a look at how the 176 W of power consumption while gaming are split in the table.

 MinimumMaximumAverage
PCIe 12V
33 W 209 W 124 W 
Motherboard 3.3V3 W 7 W 5 W 
Motherboard 12V9 W 93 W 47 W 
Graphics Card Total47 W 290 W 176 W 

List of All Individual Values per Supply Line

Again, we’ve put together all power consumption values for each supply line in a handy gallery.

Voltages

The average voltage is exactly 12 V, just like it was at idle. However, the fluctuations are present and accounted for as well.

The Gigabyte R9 285 WindForce OC and its 176 W for gaming comes in almost 40 W lower than a moderately overclocked AMD Radeon R9 280 reference graphics card, which also provides slightly lower performance on average. When we referenced the Gigabyte R9 285 WindForce OC’s efficiency on the graphics cards in our 2014 VGA charts, it looks like it’s comparable to Nvidia’s older Kepler-based GeForce GTX 760. If winning the efficiency war was the goal, then it most certainly hasn’t been reached, but at least AMD was able to catch up. This probably won’t be enough to compete with Maxwell, though.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    m32 , September 2, 2014 5:34 AM
    I wanted to see the GPU die and OCing results. :( 
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    m32 , September 2, 2014 5:34 AM
    I wanted to see the GPU die and OCing results. :( 
  • 0 Hide
    JeanLuc , September 2, 2014 5:35 AM
    The idle power consumption numbers are odd, the previous generation cards use less then at idle didn't they? Not that 15 watts is going to break anyone's bank account but its strange nether the less.

    Good to see AMD have tackled the noise and temperature issues that have plagued it's previous 28nm cards as well but it's a bit late in the day given that 20nm shouldn't be to far off now.
  • 6 Hide
    chaospower , September 2, 2014 5:35 AM
    TL;DR Pay more to get the same performance in a more power efficient form.
  • 1 Hide
    gear999 , September 2, 2014 5:35 AM
    Really nice article guys. I'm impressed by how the 285 actually was able to keep up with the 280. And I'm shocked by the fact that The $250 Nvidia card loses to a $170 AMD card. Thank god I bought a GTX 770 :p 

    Also, on the last page, you guys wrote R7 270X instead of R9, and in the chart it says "Relative to Radeon HD 7950 Boost". Oh, and in the Pros section, it says the 285 has R9 260 like performance?

    [EDIT by Cleeve]
    Thanks for the proofread, fixing it now! :) 
    [/edit]
  • -2 Hide
    tomfreak , September 2, 2014 5:38 AM
    Had the tonga 285 come with a 6GHz/7Ghz GDDR5 & 4GB VRAM, the result will be a lot different. Whats with AMD putting on a 5500 memory? facepalm.jpg
  • 0 Hide
    srap , September 2, 2014 5:41 AM
    While this is really a third GCN iteration, showing it as a version number of 3.0 (as in: "Tonga and GCN Update 3.0") makes no sense for me.
  • -3 Hide
    Amdlova , September 2, 2014 5:41 AM
    some one write this with a .45 acp on the head. I see some error on numbers models etc...
    I prefer get a r9 280 and downclock get same results. I can't see the point of this heat on graphics. maybe drivers. OR THIS IS HAWAII XT! Too much Heat!
  • -2 Hide
    Amdlova , September 2, 2014 5:44 AM
    Quote:
    I wanted to see the GPU die and OCing results. :( 

    I think the guys see if they hit the OC the room Will burn! maybe a problem with drivers.
    Last time i see that Heat 290x tests. lol!
  • 7 Hide
    Gillerer , September 2, 2014 6:02 AM
    On the first page, it says "Improvements are always welcome but with the memory interface cut in half compared to the Radeon R9 280,...".

    But in fact, the memory interface was cut by a third (384 bit -> 256 bit), not half.

    [Edit by Cleeve]
    Good point, fixed! Thx.
    [/edit]
  • 2 Hide
    mister g , September 2, 2014 6:10 AM
    You guys might want to update the first chart of this review; the one comparing the specifications of the 280, 285, and the 280X. The 280X is a Tahiti chip not Tonga.

    [Edit by Cleeve]
    Good catch, fixed but might take a while to populate. :) 
    [/Edit]
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , September 2, 2014 6:16 AM
    Quote:
    Had the tonga 285 come with a 6GHz/7Ghz GDDR5 & 4GB VRAM, the result will be a lot different.

    Faster memory would have helped but more would not have made much of a difference: most of the extra memory on GPUs with more memory channels gets filled with extra copies of resources to improve availability. Without those extra channels, filling more RAM with extra copies would make little difference.
  • 0 Hide
    west7 , September 2, 2014 6:30 AM
    I'd like to see this lossless color compression in 4k gaming cards
  • 4 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , September 2, 2014 6:50 AM
    That's really dumb numbering...

    The R7 265 is faster than the R7 260X, yet the R9 285 is slower than the R9 280X?
  • 0 Hide
    MrstimX , September 2, 2014 7:42 AM
    probably AMD's hand was forced due to gsynch, so they had to quickly phase out all non freesynch cards before dec..might expect a r9 285x by end oct
  • 5 Hide
    logainofhades , September 2, 2014 7:42 AM
    Quote:
    That's really dumb numbering...

    The R7 265 is faster than the R7 260X, yet the R9 285 is slower than the R9 280X?


    Yea this should have been named 275 or 275x.
  • 0 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , September 2, 2014 7:49 AM
    No, because that would imply that it's slower than the 280.

    The 280X probably should have been the 285, and this card should have been released as the 280X. Or it could be next-gen; call it the 380 or 375.
  • 4 Hide
    logainofhades , September 2, 2014 7:55 AM
    It kinda is slower than the 280. It trades blows with it, but still is not equal. I would say 275x would be fitting as the 280/280x are 384bit/3gb cards, where as the 270/270x are 256bit/2gb cards.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , September 2, 2014 8:13 AM
    Quote:
    It kinda is slower than the 280. It trades blows with it, but still is not equal. I would say 275x would be fitting as the 280/280x are 384bit/3gb cards, where as the 270/270x are 256bit/2gb cards.

    The 270/280 are just rehashes of HD7xxx designs while the 285 is a cut-down 290... and the 285 does beat the 280 enough times to earn its place in the 28x range.

    Give the 285 a 6GT/s memory interface and it would slot in more solidly between the 280 and 280X.
  • 4 Hide
    Cryio , September 2, 2014 8:26 AM
    Quote:
    That's really dumb numbering...

    The R7 265 is faster than the R7 260X, yet the R9 285 is slower than the R9 280X?


    Indeed, naming schemes are always kind of bogus.

    260< 260X < 265

    280<=285< 280X

    That's just the way it is.
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