Efficiency, Price, And Performance Value
We’ve already seen how overclocking hurts power consumption more than it helps performance, but by how much? We divided the numbers from our Relative Performance chart by those of our Relative Power chart to find out.
MSI actually beats the standard-frequency card in efficiency, while the rest of the pack falls in relation to heat and frequency. MSI credits its voltage regulator for the improvement, though we’re not certain whether this is a result of a better-than-average sample of the card or moderate overclocking at modest voltage levels.
MSI also has the second cheapest card in the roundup, which is an impressive feature since it’s tied for third in shipping clock speed. Let’s see how these stand up when we compare relative value to relative price, using the slowest and cheapest card as our baseline.
Asus’ 14% performance improvement makes its 17% higher price appear reasonable for performance fanatics, this being the fastest card in the roundup. Yet there is something funny going on with the Zotac card, so let us explain.
Zotac was only available at two U.S. sites by the end of September, and one of those sites operated on the pre-order model. That is, the cheapest site appears to pool buyers, waiting until it has enough orders to qualify for a bulk shipment before it even orders the cards. Nobody wants to wait weeks for cards, and the other site charges exhorbitant amounts for nearly everything it sells. We split the difference and checked European sources to find out what these cards should actually cost.
The answer is $144. US buyers can’t find the ZT-40502-10L for $140-145 yet, but that’s the price they should expect to pay as soon as these show up at big sellers like Newegg, TigerDirect, and ZipZoomFly. For now, UK buyers seeking a lifetime warranty win.