Power Consumption And Temperatures
At idle, only AMD’s Radeon HD 4850 stands out for its higher power use. That’s not particularly surprising, since the 4000-series cards didn’t scale down to low-power states as well as the newer 5000-series boards do.
Under load, it’s the GeForce GTS 250 and much more capable GeForce GTX 460 using the most power. Nvidia’s new GeForce GTS 450 actually shows quite well here, ducking in just under the Radeon HD 5770.
It’s worth noting that we’re still using FurMark to tax each of these cards. Both Nvidia and AMD actually frown on FurMark as a representation of real power use. To that end, we’ve toned down the load FurMark applies here, leaving the Xtreme Burning Mode disabled.
At first glance, the GPU temperatures might not make very much sense. After all, the GeForce GTX 460 is running cooler than the GTS 450. Remember, though, that AMD and Nvidia achieve these numbers using fan profiles unique to each model. The GTX 460 employs a 44% fan duty cycle to hit its 67 degree Celsius load temp. The GTS 450 spins at 30% to hit 73 degrees.
All of the mainstream cards are remarkably quiet—enough so that the Intel DHX-B reference heat sink makes more noise than any of them. The exception is AMD’s Radeon HD 4850, which employs a small blower-style cooler to make a single-slot form factor possible. Under load, it’s quite loud.