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

Base Configuration And Tested Video Cards

High Performance

The largest power consumer is the GeForce GTX 580 from Gigabyte. We used this model to determine the maximum values and explore the upper limits. In its defense, we have to say that the idle power consumption of this card is rather moderate.

Obviously, a very powerful graphics card requires a suitable PSU. We will explore the effects of continuous operation in some extreme cases in detail a bit later.

Base Configuration

We deliberately decided against using an onboard graphics solution, since we wanted to be able to get measurements from games, even if it meant having to use the lowest graphics settings and resolutions. We chose the Gigabyte Radeon HD 5450, a card that is sufficient to at least launch the games mentioned in our list on the previous page, and still produce very low power consumption numbers. We do not want to comment on the gaming experience, but we assume you know it wasn't very good.

Tested High End and Upper Middle Class Graphics Cards

ManufacturerModel
AMDRadeon HD 6970Radeon HD 6950Radeon HD 6870Radeon HD 6850Radeon HD 5870 Radeon HD 5850
NvidiaGeForce GTX 580GeForce GTX 570GeForce GTX 480GeForce GTX 470GeForce GTX 465GeForce GTX 460

For the new Radeon HD 6950 and 6970 cards, we also used the PowerTune options (+/- 20%) in order to determine whether and to what extent this feature has any effect on daily use.

  • 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