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GPU vs. CPU Upgrade: Extensive Tests

Power Consumption, Noise Levels and Temperatures

The power consumption in watts refers to the entire test platform. The 2D value is measured for the normal Windows interface without load (minimum value). The 3D value is measured when the graphics card and the CPU are running at maximum 3D load (maximum value).

Temperature2D degree(Vista Desktop)3D degree(BlackSite)
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB)5974
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB)4369
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB)6187
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB)6196
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB)4971
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB)6079
Power Consumption2D watts(Vista Desktop)3D watts(BlackSite)
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB) E2160@1.8122226
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB) E2160@1.893155
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB) E2160@1.8119232
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB) E2160@1.8108200
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB) E2160@1.884140
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB) E2160@1.8105151
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB) E2160@2.41121236
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB) E2160@2.4195161
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB) E2160@2.41122238
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB) E2160@2.41112209
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB) E2160@2.4188148
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB) E2160@2.41107157
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB) E6750@2.67129246
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB) E6750@2.6798170
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB) E6750@2.67121248
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB) E6750@2.67109221
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB) E6750@2.6792154
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB) E6750@2.67109165
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB) Q6600@2.4143266
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB) Q6600@2.4113190
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB) Q6600@2.4136272
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB) Q6600@2.4126242
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB) Q6600@2.4107175
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB) Q6600@2.4124182
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB) Q6600@3.2158296
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB) Q6600@3.2129222
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB) Q6600@3.2156300
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB) Q6600@3.2146272
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB) Q6600@3.2124205
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB) Q6600@3.2140211
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB) X6800EE@2.94140264
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB) X6800EE@2.94109185
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB) X6800EE@2.94134264
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB) X6800EE@2.94122233
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB) X6800EE@2.94105173
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB) X6800EE@2.94122179
Noise Level2D dB(A)3D dB(A)
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB)37.044.6-45.2
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB)37.141.1-42.3
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB)36.539.6
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB)36.840.5
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB)41.649.1
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB)42.943.2
  • DjEaZy
    will there be a AMD/ATI roundup???
    Reply
  • randomizer
    That would simply consume more time without really proving much. I think sticking with a single manufacturer is fine, because you see the generation differences of cards and the performance gains compared to geting a new processor. You will see the same thing with ATI cards. Pop in an X800 and watch it crumble in the wake of a HD3870. There is no need to inlude ATI cards for the sake of this article.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    This has been a long needed article IMO. Now we can post links instead of coming up with simple explanations :D
    Reply
  • yadge
    I didn't realize the new gpus were actually that powerful. According to Toms charts, there is no gpu that can give me double the performance over my x1950 pro. But here, the 9600gt was getting 3 times the frames as the 7950gt(which is better than mine) on Call of Duty 4.

    Maybe there's something wrong with the charts. I don't know. But this makes me even more excited for when I upgrade in the near future.
    Reply
  • This article is biased from the beginning by using a reference graphics card from 2004 (6800GT) to a reference CPU from 2007 (E2140).

    Go back and use a Pentium 4 Prescott (2004) and then the basis of these percentage values on page 3 will actually mean something.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    yadgeI didn't realize the new gpus were actually that powerful. According to Toms charts, there is no gpu that can give me double the performance over my x1950 pro. But here, the 9600gt was getting 3 times the frames as the 7950gt(which is better than mine) on Call of Duty 4. Maybe there's something wrong with the charts. I don't know. But this makes me even more excited for when I upgrade in the near future.I upgraded my X1950 pro to a 9600GT. It was a fantastic upgrade.
    Reply
  • wh3resmycar
    scyThis article is biased from the beginning by using a reference graphics card from 2004 (6800GT) to a reference CPU from 2007 (E2140).
    maybe it is. but its relevant especially with those people who are stuck with those prescotts/6800gt. this article reveals an upgrade path nonetheless
    Reply
  • randomizer
    If they had used P4s there would be o many variables in this article that there would be no direction and that would make it pointless.
    Reply
  • JAYDEEJOHN
    Great article!!! It clears up many things. It finally shows proof that the best upgrade a gamer can make is a newer card. About the P4's, just take the clock rate and cut it in half, then compare (ok add 10%) heheh
    Reply
  • justjc
    I know randomizer thinks we would get the same results, but would it be possible to see just a small article showing if the same result is true for AMD processors and ATi graphics.
    Firstly we know that ATi and nVidia graphics doesn't calculate graphics in the same way, who knows perhaps an ATi card requiers more or less processorpower to work at full load, and if you look at Can you run it? for Crysis(only one I recall using) you will see the minimum needed AMD processor is slover than the minimum needed Core2, even in processor speed.
    So any chance of a small, or full scale, article throwing some ATi and AMD power into the mix?
    Reply