Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX Review

Power Consumption And Temperature

Power Consumption

As usual, we measured the power supply's consumption for these cards (which means that the consumption of the entire configuration is measured). We also gauged the power-supply losses, which are approximately 18% in the range we're concerned with.

While it requires an additional six-pin power connector, the 9800 GTX' consumption is actually very close to that of the 8800 GTS 512 MB, which is not surprisingly. The figures were comparable in idle state and just slightly higher under load (running Test Drive Unlimited), as its specifications indicated. Officially, Nvidia specifies 156 W for the 9800 GTX as opposed to "< 150 W" for the 8800 GTS 512 MB, and our results confirmed that.

What that means is that a brand-name 350 W power-supply will be enough to feed a system based on this card. We should mention that despite the reduction in memory quantity and the change in engraving depth, the drop in power consumption compared to the previous generation is nothing to write home about - it works out to only 21 W once you correct for the power-supply losses. On the other hand, the performance/watt yield is obviously much higher (by 52%) compared to the Radeon HD 3870 X2, whose consumption we measured with Unreal Tournament III because it was just too underused with Test Drive Unlimited (We measured 235 W, which was actually less than the 8800 GT).


Despite a limit that's traditionally set at 105°C (the temperature at which the frequencies drop in order to protect the GPU), the rotation speed of the 9800 GTX' fan has clearly been set fairly high in order to stay as far as possible from that temperature. We registered no temperature above 71°C during our tests - only a few degrees more than the temperature at idle. You won't have to worry about this card overheating.

  • BPT747
    Interesting results, I have found several card makers (Palit, Asus, Evga, and Zotac) that make a 1GB 8800GT(S). Since you were speaking of the memory limitations of the 9800GTX, I am curious how these cards would preform with the 8800 driver optimizations you mentioned.
  • Spectere
    I purchased a GF9800GTX not long after it came out and the only time I recall hearing the fan spin up to high (which is fairly loud) is when the card first initialized itself when I turn my system on. I've logged many hours of game time on this rig and haven't heard it spin up at all. I'm using the ForceWare 174.74 drivers and an XFX branded card (if that would make any difference at all...probably not).
  • teamjawbox
    Would an Intel Core 2 Duo Dual Core E6600 (2.4ghz) 1066FSB processor bottleneck the 9800GTX? Trying to decide whether to get one or not and dont want to get it and not see an increase in performance due to my processor. Thanks!
  • ziegemon
    Processor bottleneck goes up to about 3.2 Ghz on my Q9450
  • TiberiumSoldier
    i am going to buy an intel Core 2 Duo E8500 with ASUS or XFX or eVGA 9800gtx and 2gb Corsair Dominator ram.. is this a good option??? or i should buy an AMD Phenom 9600?