Gaming Power Consumption
Our readings start to get interesting as a result of higher clock rates and the elevated voltages that enable them. Let’s take a look if and where AMD went with the nuclear option.
MSI R9 390X Gaming 8G
We again start with the highest-end model in AMD’s rebranded 300 series. Its 294W measurement is almost 50W more than what we measured for the Radeon R9 290X topped with a hybrid cooler, which offers practically the same performance! These results are more than just worlds apart.
|PCI-E Total:||48.80 W||452.40 W||252.47 W|
|Mainboard 3.3V:||2.31 W||3.96 W||3.00 W|
|Mainboard 12V:||26.84 W||49.40 W||38.08 W|
|VGA Card Total:||83.16 W||492.10 W||293.55 W|
Next, we’re comparing voltages between the different Hawaii XT and Grenada XT graphics cards. The first observation we make is that voltages rise along with clock rate. What’s really astonishing is that both the MSI R9 390X and older HIS R9 290X IceQ WaterCooled have a virtually identical curve! This means that the voltages are generally identical, almost assuring us that there weren’t any improvements made from Hawaii XT to Grenada XT.
Apart from the fact that the voltages increase to make sure AMD’s GPU can hit 1100MHz reliably, the leakage currents due to the R9 390X Gaming 8G’s temperatures at higher power levels play their part as well.
MSI R9 380X Gaming 2G
Registering almost 185W, the MSI R9 380 Gaming 2G comes in approximately 10W higher than its comparison card. This is alright, given the small performance increase attributed to its higher frequencies. Nothing has changed regarding the direct comparison to Nvidia’s graphics cards, though.
|PCI-E Total:||9.76 W||229.36 W||131.29 W|
|Mainboard 3.3V:||0.00 W||1.32 W||0.63 W|
|Mainboard 12V:||31.72 W||75.40 W||52.77 W|
|VGA Card Total:||47.02 W||291.86 W||184.68 W|
MSI R7 370 Gaming 2G
This graphics card has the lowest power consumption again. Taking into account that its GPU is three years old and operates approximately 14 percent slower (on average) than an overclocked GeForce GTX 960 at the same power consumption, the only possible conclusion is that Pitcairn is an impressive piece of silicon. The oldest card in today’s field by far really doesn’t have to hide from the competition, especially since its price speaks volumes as well.
One possible caveat is that we might just have gotten a really good sample. Then again, maybe the production process is so mature by now that this is truly representative of retail hardware.
|PCI-E Total:||14.64 W||85.68 W||51.16 W|
|Mainboard 3.3V:||2.64 W||4.29 W||3.52 W|
|Mainboard 12V:||17.08 W||88.40 W||52.72 W|
|VGA Card Total:||35.02 W||172.14 W||107.41 W|