Relative Performance, Heat, And Power
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 inflated our average performance levels to such a degree that per-resolution averages would only serve to confuse, but a chart of the average performance differences of each model could still be useful.
Asus takes a significant 14% lead over the baseline card, yet we never saw an instance where that extra 14% made the difference between playable and unplayable frame rates. We noticed that 1920x1080 is usually playable with AA disabled, while 1600x900 is usually playable at 4xAA using the highest detail levels, regardless of clock rates.
ECS and Sparkle might have used the same sink, but a slightly different heat-pipe configuration put the GTS 450 Black Edition in the lead for temperature control. Lacking the empty space that ECS’s cooler had beneath its sink, Gigabyte’s otherwise similar design falls to fourth place. Zotac fares worst with a basic aluminum sink and single fan, yet its temperatures are still far below thermal limits even with a huge factory overclock.
Overclocking hurts power consumption, but we don’t expect anyone to get out their calculators to see how this chart compares to the performance difference. Excel made the calculation for us.
A 26% power increase that accompanies its 14% performance improvement is certain to hurt Asus’ efficiency numbers, which we’ll examine on the next page.