Power Consumption And Temperatures
In a best effort to replicate real-world conditions, we enable power-saving features on all of the machines we test. I also didn't override any of the automatic fan controls as I tested the stock configurations. In effect, I was sacrificing thermal performance and tolerating higher hardware temperatures in the interest of quieter fan operation.
AMD's Pitcairn GPU certainly can't deliver the performance of its Tahiti silicon, but it certainly draws less power and generates less heat.
The $650 build’s mild graphics overclock increases performance without hammering power. Tuning the graphics fan profile allows the overclocked GPU to run cooler than PowerColor's stock settings, at the expense of more noise under load.