Scenario 2 Results: Games And Power Consumption
The benefits in Grand Theft Auto IV are small because our test run was limited to 1680x1050 resolution and low quality settings. Left 4 Dead also uses this resolution, along with low quality settings. At these levels, the games run smooth enough to justify not buying a new graphics card. However, once you start cranking up quality settings, the Radeon HD 5870 graphics card outperforms the old GeForce 8800 GTS card manyfold. We also tried Left 4 Dead 2 to confirm the results. Clearly, gamers wanting maximum visual quality should pick a current-gen graphics card.
Simply replacing the older graphics card with a newer one resulted in an idle power consumption drop of 22 watts.