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Power Consumption And Battery Life

AVADirect’s X7200: The GeForce GTX 485M SLI Mobile Graphics Giant
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AVADirect’s build appears to have lower idle power consumption than any of its competitor’s configurations. Though we have serious doubts about the GeForce GTX 485M’s ability to run 17 W lower at idle than the GeForce GTX 470M, improved GPU power-savings techniques could account for at least part of this improvement. Other system optimizations, such as an improved BIOS from Clevo, an improved CPU stepping from Intel, or even a “luck of the draw” CPU with lower gate leakage could account for the remaining idle power differences.

The GeForce GTX 485M uses far more power than either the GTX 470M or HD 6970M at full load, but appears slightly more miserly at low load. Battery Eater Pro is a great application for applying a low load, and could help us to reveal more about the single 485M’s power behavior.

The single 485M’s big lead in idle power use is seen as a noticeable improvement in battery life. The 485M SLI’s smaller power advantage over the 470M SLI is seen as a far smaller improvement in battery life. That is to say, the battery life chart proves the usefulness of the power consumption chart, at least at idle.

Jumping back up to the top, we also see that FurMark pushes the 485M SLI system to 336W at the wall while using only one CPU thread. Previous tests have shown that a 420W draw trips the power supply’s 15A protection circuit, and that continuous loads of 400 W activate heat protection after several minutes. The possibility that some users will attempt to push both CPU and GPU power limits simultaneously explains why AVADirect supplied this unit with two power bricks. The more-miserly (at full load) Radeon HD 6970M CrossFire configuration gets by (barely) with only one.

Because the Chicony PA09-022A 300 W power brick is roughly twice as big and far less efficient than SilverStone’s 450 W SFX unit, we’re going to make the unprecedented recommendation that Clevo should either design or contract a specialized, 350 W power unit for its next workstation-class notebook using the highest-efficiency components it can find. While high heat in a sealed power supply normally decreases efficiency, a custom design could use an extruded-aluminum, finned housing to cool its components. People who pay thousands of dollars for the “best” hardware would likely tolerate an extra $20-50 added to the notebook’s price in exchange for the added portability of a single power unit.

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  • 2 Hide
    tacoslave , April 1, 2011 4:07 AM
    these thing are ridiculously expensive. Besides it seems dual gpu's(at least in the mobile sector) scale HORRIBLY in most scenerios.
  • 0 Hide
    alikum , April 1, 2011 4:22 AM
    wonder who buy these things
  • 1 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , April 1, 2011 4:43 AM
    Those who really, really need the power, or just have lots of money to blow on stuff like this.

    Those who need to process large data sets on the go would likely see lots of use from a machine like this.
    Also, those who develop software and need a mobile machine to showcase their new products (especially if that software happens to be a game).

    Diminishing returns? Maybe with personal laptops < 1000 dollars. Not with this class of machine.
  • 3 Hide
    Crashman , April 1, 2011 5:29 AM
    tacoslavethese thing are ridiculously expensive. Besides it seems dual gpu's(at least in the mobile sector) scale HORRIBLY in most scenerios.
    If you look at the 1920x1080 highest detail results, it's somewhere around 60-80%. I wouldn't call that horrible. You do want to game at the panel's native resolution, no?
  • 0 Hide
    Maziar , April 1, 2011 6:11 AM
    Great review as always Crashman :) 
    Judging from the specs,1 GTX 485M performance falls between a desktop GTX 460 and GTX 560Ti right ?
  • 2 Hide
    Crashman , April 1, 2011 6:38 AM
    MaziarGreat review as always Crashman Judging from the specs,1 GTX 485M performance falls between a desktop GTX 460 and GTX 560Ti right ?
    It looks that way on paper...I'm sure there's an X7200 review with a desktop card that you could use to make the conversions.
  • 0 Hide
    Maziar , April 1, 2011 7:42 AM
    Yep,right.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/malibal-lotus-p150hm-geforce-gtx-485m-core-i7-2920xm,2855.html
    But I liked to see a desktop system in the comparison charts.
  • 1 Hide
    silverblue , April 1, 2011 9:36 AM
    Crysis 1280x720 is a bit of an abberation for the 6970 in Crossfire. Had it not misbehaved there, the result would have been closer, however now AMD have to drop their prices as NVIDIA have brought out a very good solution.
  • 2 Hide
    americanbrian , April 1, 2011 1:28 PM
    I kind of object to using all of the low resolution results on a configuration like this. It seems like all that it does is skew the results in favour of Nvidia, where in actual fact at the highest details and resolutions (i.e. the targeted area for a gaming laptop) the radeons conclusively win in performance.

    I understand that the value proposition is not very good still, but your conclusion is misleading in my opinion. People splashing out to be able to play the most modern games at highest res simply do not care how many excessive frames are pushed at the low end.
  • 1 Hide
    Pointdexter , April 1, 2011 1:31 PM
    Ok there's something I don't understand : on Eurocom's website an HD6970M costs 475$ LESS than an GTX 485M ... in fact the 6970M costs the same as an GTX 470M

    so how can an SLI'd GTX 485 could be cheaper than an Xfire'd GTX 485M ?
  • 0 Hide
    Pointdexter , April 1, 2011 1:32 PM
    correction : Xfire'd HD 6970M
  • 1 Hide
    Pointdexter , April 1, 2011 2:20 PM
    OK that's the best one !!!

    On AVAdirect's website : choosing the X7200 : choosing Xfire's HD 6970M solution costs 757$ LESS than choosing SLI'd GTX 485M

    this review DO appear fake ...

    please Crashman provide some more info on all this ...
  • 1 Hide
    thom293 , April 1, 2011 3:16 PM
    I agree with above poster. Comparing the Eurocom price to that AVADirect price is misleading. For some reason, Eurocom is silly expensive. If you compare two identical AVADirect builds with the only difference being the type of GPU, the dual 6970 build is more than 700 cheaper. Same thing on the Eurocom website. Not that I am a fanboi of either graphics card - I own both makes, but you should compare apples to apples. As written, it appears that 485s are cheaper than 6970s when they are not. In fact, the 6970s are about half as much. Please update review.
  • 0 Hide
    scook9 , April 1, 2011 3:52 PM
    Eurocomm marks there stuff up to the moon...compare configs on xoticPC to get a more realistic scenario. Or on sager themselves....(which every one resells). I believe both offer both the 6970m's AND the GTX 485m's

    That being said, the stock drivers for the GTX 485m suck miserably. On Notebook Review Forums I have modded 267.76 to include GTX 485m and the reported gains are AMAZING there compared to the original drivers. You are really not doing these cards justice with this review :( 

    The GTX 485m are easily the better performing cards but cost more to reflect this
  • 0 Hide
    Pointdexter , April 1, 2011 4:30 PM
    Ok guys I got it !!!

    nVidia's mobile GPUs cost less than AMD's one ...

    APRIL'S FOOL EVERYONE !!!
  • 0 Hide
    carlhenry , April 1, 2011 4:32 PM
    mr. soderstorm needs some explaining to do
  • 0 Hide
    Pointdexter , April 1, 2011 4:33 PM
    sorry for theses 2 extra posts, we really need edit function ... :-(
  • 0 Hide
    srgess , April 1, 2011 5:55 PM
    April fool ?
  • -1 Hide
    kkiddu , April 1, 2011 6:14 PM
    I've wanted to say this for quite a long time.

    Toms compare laptops. We appreciate it. Love it. But please have a look at the last five or so configurations you have tested. They are insanely overbudget top-of-the-line builds that make little sense to most because:-

    1. Of the lack of money in most cases,
    2. Of the lack of real portability (weight and battery life) in many of the cases where people have the required dough.

    Performance does not scale well with price as we move from "low high-end" to "high high-end" (Small increments in clock rate cost hundreds of dollars from i7 2630QM to 2920XM, alright, some increase in cache as well, but you get the point, also upgrading from 460M to 485M costs $500 at the cheapest).

    So you see where I'm going ? Far more people go for a 460M/2630QM combo or a 460M/2720QM combo than for a "985M-Super-SLI+i9 HyperExtreme Edition 8 GHz Turbo Boost" [Sorry, couldn't help that ;)  ]. Starting at $1172 (Sager NP8130), it covers quite a broad spectrum(pricewise) and sells more thanks to its better battery life and portability than its "i9+985M" counterparts. The attention you've given to that isn't commensurate with the number of units that configuration sells or the number of models it sells in (Asus G53, G73, Sager NP8130/50/70, Toshiba Qosmio, Alienware M15X/M17X, MSI GT660R + all the boutique options).

    As good as this stuff is, to drool upon, it's configurations like that that would make sense to more of us.

    Of course, if it's only the highest end the manufacturers want to be reviewed and showed off, then you really don't have a choice.
  • 0 Hide
    kkiddu , April 1, 2011 6:18 PM
    Err...just noticed that this was a more of a battle of the best, but I still maintain what I said that you need to start reviewing "low high-end" as well.
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