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What Do High-End Graphics Cards Cost In Terms Of Electricity?

Test System And Measured Applications

Our Test System

We're using a platform based on AMD's Phenom II X6 1090T. We measure the energy consumption for this base configuration later in the article.

ComponentesDetails
CPUAMD Phenom II X6 1090T (Thuban) @ 4.0 GHz
CoolingProlimatech Megahalems + Noiseblocker Multiframe M12-PS
RAM4 x 4 GB Kingston HyperX 1600 CL9
MotherboardMSI 870A Fuzion Power Edition
HDD128 GB Kingston V100
PSUAntec HCG 900
OSWindows 7 Ultimate x64

 

Selection of Games and Applications

Type of ApplicationTitle
Games(depending on the profile)Counter-Strike (1.6)Half Life 2Just Cause 2Crysis WarheadCryostasisDragon Age OriginsSims 3TronMafia IILost Planet 2NFS: Hot Pursuit 2010NFS: Most WantedFallout: New Vegas (DirectX 9)CoD: Black OpsMetro 2033World of WarcraftA selection of browser games (windowed)
Applications(depending on the profile)Adobe Photoshop (D3D)Adobe Acrobat (GDI, GDI+)Corel Draw (GDI, GDI+)AutoCAD (OpenGL)Google Earth (D3D, OpenGL)Microsoft Office 2010 (D2D)Mozilla Firefox (Youtube HD videos)Windows Mediaplayer Classic (Decoding)Windows Media Player (Decoding, D2D visualizations)CyberLink Power DVD 10 (Decoding)

Our selection of three different users isn’t fully and unequivocally transferable to every PC enthusiast out there. And we did not consider all of the various applications the three users run that do not produce any measurable increase in GPU load. But at least the hardware demands and GPU loads of the applications listed above are, in our opinion, balanced enough that a relatively general assertion can be made. Especially considering that each interested reader is free to make his or her own measurements based on our approach.

  • alikum
    Nvidia cards consume power like crazy
    Reply
  • damric
    I don't get it. Are they saying that a GTX 480 will cost a hard core gamer $90/year in electricity? Seems like a drop in the bucket considering my power bills are over $90/month in the winter and over $250/month in the summer. Just think of all the money the hard core gamer saves from not having a girlfriend :D
    Reply
  • scook9
    They are also neglecting the positive side effects like not needing a space heater in the winter....you recoup alot of energy right there :D
    Reply
  • porksmuggler
    ^Tell me about it, warmest room in the house right here. Turn the thermostat down, and boot the rig up.

    Typo on the enthusiast graph. calculations are correct, but it should be 13ct/kWh, not 22ct/kWh.
    Reply
  • jimslaid2
    Glad I bought the 6870 over the gtx 460 1g
    Reply
  • aznshinobi
    The fact that you mentioned a porsche. no matter what the context. I love that you mentioned it :D
    Reply
  • AMW1011
    So at worst, my GTX 480 is costing me $90 a year? Sorry if I'm not alarmed...

    Also I can't imagine having 8 hours of gaming time every day. 5 hours even seems extreme. Sometimes, you just can't game AT ALL in a day, or a week.

    Some people do have lives...
    Reply
  • nebun
    alikumNvidia cards consume power like crazywho cares....if you have the money to buy them you can pay for the electricity...it's just like SUVs, you have the money to buy them you can keep them running
    Reply
  • nebun
    AMW1011So at worst, my GTX 480 is costing me $90 a year? Sorry if I'm not alarmed...Also I can't imagine having 8 hours of gaming time every day. 5 hours even seems extreme. Sometimes, you just can't game AT ALL in a day, or a week.Some people do have lives...i run my 480 sli rig to fold almost 24/7...do i care about my bill...HELL NO
    Reply
  • Darkerson
    Very nice article! Keep it up!
    Reply