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Power Consumption: Gaming

GeForce GTX 750 Ti Review: Maxwell Adds Performance Using Less Power
By , Don Woligroski, And Igor Wallossek

Benchmark System And Procedure

We collaborated with HAMEG (Rohde & Schwarz) to upgrade our power consumption measurement system. It’s now one step away from being complete and will be continuously refined.

We record all channels and the corresponding oscilloscope value/curves for our measurements. The very precise and (more important) fast current clamps yield 100 mV/A, making it easy to calculate power based on the voltage. We also record the supply voltage to multiply its value with the recorded amperage. Depending on the resolution we choose, this procedure yields a very detailed power consumption history. We generally set this to 1 ms, allowing us to capture all fluctuations attributable to AMD’s PowerTune or Nvidia’s GPU Boost technology.

Measurement Procedure:Non-Contact Direct Current Measurement at the PCIe Slot
Non-Contact Direct Current Measurement at the External PCIe Power Supply
Direct Voltage Measurement 3.3 V / 12 V
Measurement Apparatus:

Oscilloscope:
HAMEG HMO1024 Four-Channel Digital Oscilloscope with Memory and Ethernet Remote Control

Power Clamp:
HAMEG HZO50 (1 mA-30 A, 100 kHz DC, Resolution 1 mA)

Voltage Divider Probe:
HAMEG HZ154 (1:1, 1:10), Assorted Adapters

Digital Multimeter:
HAMEG HMC8012
Bench Table:Microcool Banchetto 101
Test Hardware:Intel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge), Overclocked to 4.5 GHz
Corsair H100i Compact Water Cooling Solution
16 GB (2 x 8 GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866
Gigabyte G1 Sniper 3 + Modified PCIe Adapter with Current Loops
Power Supply:Corsair AX860i with Modified Plugs (Pickups)

Power Consumption: Gaming

We're particularly interested to learn how Nvidia improved the efficiency of its architecture. In terms of total power consumption, the card averages (in a warmed-up condition, after applying full load) just a little bit over the GPU's TDP. This measures the whole card though, including memory. Thus, Nvidia keeps its word and clearly sets a new standard for performance per watt.

For the first time ever, the average power figure isn't centered between minimum and maximum values, but rather closer to the bottom of the chart. Peaks are clearly rarer, but they're also more extreme. This is important because the card is driven by the motherboard's PCI Express slot, making the platform's quality more important than it might otherwise be.

Because the 170-second run is hard to display at the resolution we used, here's a 10-second break-out for additional detail:

The snippet illustrates how important fast measurements are to the average power consumption value. Of course, we can get even more precise, so this next graph represents just one second. Fluctuations in draw effectively demonstrate what your power supply has to be capable of handling.

But how does consumption change when you take into account more use cases?

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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    Sangeet Khatri , February 18, 2014 6:21 AM
    Well.. there is not a lot of performance in it, but I love it for a reason that it is a 60W card. I mean for 60W Nvidia has seriously nailed it. The only competition is way behind, the 7750 performs a lot less for similar wattage.Let's see how AMD replies to this because after the launch of 750Ti, the 7750 is no longer the best card for upgrading for people who have a 350W PSU.I don't generally say this, but Nvidia well done! Take a bow.
  • 12 Hide
    meluvcookies , February 18, 2014 6:08 AM
    on performance, I'll take the extra frames of the 265, but damn, for 60w, I'm totally impressed by this card. both the 750Ti and the R7 265 would be decent upgrades from my aging GTX460.
  • 11 Hide
    cangelini , February 18, 2014 6:18 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    But without the big cooler, GTX 750 Ti is daintier than a lot of sound cards we've tested.
    I'm pretty sure you meant to type "video cards" on page one there. Cheers.
    Actually meant sound card :)  It's definitely smaller than a small video card, but I even have sound cards here that are larger.
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    meluvcookies , February 18, 2014 6:08 AM
    on performance, I'll take the extra frames of the 265, but damn, for 60w, I'm totally impressed by this card. both the 750Ti and the R7 265 would be decent upgrades from my aging GTX460.
  • -5 Hide
    s3anister , February 18, 2014 6:11 AM
    Quote:
    But without the big cooler, GTX 750 Ti is daintier than a lot of sound cards we've tested.


    I'm pretty sure you meant to type "video cards" on page one there. Cheers.
  • 0 Hide
    Bloob , February 18, 2014 6:17 AM
    Ah, I just love some healthy competition.
  • 0 Hide
    Bloob , February 18, 2014 6:18 AM
    Also
    Quote:
    It’s difficult to make this story all about frame rates when we’re comparing a 60 W GPU to a 150 W processor
    Is a bit confusing.
  • 11 Hide
    cangelini , February 18, 2014 6:18 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    But without the big cooler, GTX 750 Ti is daintier than a lot of sound cards we've tested.
    I'm pretty sure you meant to type "video cards" on page one there. Cheers.
    Actually meant sound card :)  It's definitely smaller than a small video card, but I even have sound cards here that are larger.
  • 17 Hide
    Sangeet Khatri , February 18, 2014 6:21 AM
    Well.. there is not a lot of performance in it, but I love it for a reason that it is a 60W card. I mean for 60W Nvidia has seriously nailed it. The only competition is way behind, the 7750 performs a lot less for similar wattage.Let's see how AMD replies to this because after the launch of 750Ti, the 7750 is no longer the best card for upgrading for people who have a 350W PSU.I don't generally say this, but Nvidia well done! Take a bow.
  • 0 Hide
    houldendub , February 18, 2014 6:30 AM
    Nice little card, awesome! I feel like this would be an absolutely awesome test bed for a dual chip version, great performance with minimal power usage.
  • 0 Hide
    Randy David , February 18, 2014 6:32 AM
    Anybody else notice the lesser shaders and TMUs on the Zotac card in GPU-Z?
  • 4 Hide
    thdarkshadow , February 18, 2014 6:34 AM
    The whole time I was reading the review I was like it isn't beating the 650ti boost... :(  but then I remembered it uses less than half the power lol. I am impressed nvidia. While I make purchases more on performance than power consumption I can still appreciate what nvidia is doing
  • 0 Hide
    houldendub , February 18, 2014 6:42 AM
    Quote:
    Anybody else notice the lesser shaders and TMUs on the Zotac card in GPU-Z?


    Don't take this as fact, but the drivers look newer for the Zotac card than the others, possibly just a bug with the older drivers? The cards are advertised as having 640 shaders anyway.

    Also weird, the GPU-Z screenshot is taken with Windows 8, whereas the Gigabyte and MSI cards are on Windows 7. The mystery continues...
  • 1 Hide
    jeraldtapz , February 18, 2014 6:45 AM
    As an AMD Fan, I'm impressed. Currently thinking in buying one.
  • 1 Hide
    logainofhades , February 18, 2014 6:49 AM
    I wonder how well these little guys fold? With such crazy low power consumption, these might just work for my file server. It can fold at night and game well enough, since that system doesn't play anything other than WoW most of the time. Wouldn't mind them as an upgrade for my HD 5850's and 4870's in my extra rigs. Less heat and power but still plenty capable is a win win. The first Nv card I have seriously considered in quite some time. :D 
  • 1 Hide
    09mlb86 , February 18, 2014 6:52 AM
    Why does GPU-Z report 960 Stream Processors for MSI and Gigabyte?
  • 6 Hide
    DryCreamer , February 18, 2014 6:55 AM
    who would have thought? 1080p gaming with a 300 watt power supply? I can't wait to see what laptops will do with Maxwell... shame they will only sell with 768p screens :/ Dry
  • 0 Hide
    Gman450 , February 18, 2014 6:57 AM
    I'm impressed. Nvidia doesn't usually pull it off with most of their mid range cards, but this is just amazing performance for that wattage. Well done!
  • 0 Hide
    GAMER4000 , February 18, 2014 6:59 AM
    How can this be practically as fast as a R7 265 when it is 25% faster in BF4??
  • 3 Hide
    GAMER4000 , February 18, 2014 7:04 AM
    Also,the reviewer goes on about the R7 265 being a 150W GPU and the GTX750TI being a 60W one??However,it seems he has not read his own article:http://media.bestofmicro.com/3/3/422607/original/06-Power-Consumption-Gaming.pngThe R9 270X and HD7870 are consuming under 130W,and the R7 265 is likely to consume less power if the HD7850 is anything to go by.Yes,the GTX750TI has decent performance for a bus powered card,but the reviewer seems to be overstating the power consumption of the R7 265 and understating its performance at the same time. Why??
  • 8 Hide
    keyrock , February 18, 2014 7:07 AM
    That's thoroughly impressive performance for just 60W. This makes me quite excited to both see what Maxwell will bring to the laptop market, where power consumption is a much bigger issue than on desktops, and what a 200W Maxwell card will bring to the high-end gaming market.
  • 0 Hide
    farky84 , February 18, 2014 7:07 AM
    Maybe I have missed something but why don't we see the GTX 760 in the comparison?
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , February 18, 2014 7:07 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Anybody else notice the lesser shaders and TMUs on the Zotac card in GPU-Z?
    Don't take this as fact, but the drivers look newer for the Zotac card than the others, possibly just a bug with the older drivers? The cards are advertised as having 640 shaders anyway.Also weird, the GPU-Z screenshot is taken with Windows 8, whereas the Gigabyte and MSI cards are on Windows 7. The mystery continues...
    Igor took his screenshots using an older driver. They're now updated with the correct driver installed!
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