To measure the power consumption of graphics cards, we use a simple measuring device produced by Conrad Elektronik (Energy Check 3000), which measures the power draw of the entire system, including motheboard, CPU, etc. A big thank-you goes out once again to our readers who originally suggested this test. The efficiency of the power supply we used during testing (Antec True Control 550W, 69% efficiency) is not factored into the results here. After all, you have to pay for the all of the electricity you use, regardless of whether it lost to PSU inefficiency or actually used by the computer’s components.
For the sake of clarity, we would like to emphasize one thing again : The following numbers do not represent the power consumption of the graphics cards alone but that of the entire system, in this case obviously our review system.
Many modern graphics cards draw more power than the AGP port alone could supply. Therefore, you will often find auxiliary power connectors on such cards. This makes it hard to measure a card’s power requirements. Still, our simplified measuring procedure makes it very easy to get an idea of the power hunger of graphics cards with that of their competitors.
To ensure that components such as optical drives and hard disks don’t factor into the final result due to activity, we measured the power consumption while going through the options of the BIOS. As you can see, the boot-up power draw of the GeForce 6800 Ultra is below that of the Radeon 9800XT.