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Gaming Power Consumption

Partner Cards: Two Radeon R9 290s And Five 290Xs, Updated
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Benchmark System And Procedure

We collaborated with HAMEG (Rohde & Schwarz) to upgrade our power consumption measurement system.

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 the 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.

Tom's Hardware Power Measurement - 1 Loop Metro Last Light - 1ms Power Draw

Measurement ProcedureNon-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 TableMicrocool Banchetto 101
Test Hardware

AMD FX-8350 (Piledriver), Overclocked to 4.5 GHz

Corsair H100i Compact Water Cooling Solution

16 GB (2 x 8) Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866

Asus 990FX Sabertooth + Modified PCIe Adapter with Current Loops
Power SupplyCorsair AX860i with Modified Plugs (Pickup)

Power Consumption While Running A Gaming Loop

"How much power does a graphics card draw during gaming?" and "How much heat does it generate under load?" are the most commonly asked questions once we wrap up our analysis of 3D performance. Our testing is made as real-world as possible by measuring cards that have already been warmed up.

This high-resolution measurement shows why power supplies can be overwhelmed unless they have ample output headroom. Even if a PSU's specs suggest it should be able to handle a given card, some very brief (often less than 10 ms), but very high peaks can cause a power supply's protection circuitry to engage.

Power Consumption: Radeon R9 290

Power Consumption: Radeon R9 290X

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