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Curbing Your GPU's Power Use: Is It Worthwhile?

Test System

Test System

Test System Configuration
CPUAMD Athlon II X2 250 (Regor) 3 GHz, 2 x 1 MB L2 CacheAMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (Deneb) 3.2 GHz, 4 x 512 KB L2 Cache, 6MB L3 Cache
MotherboardBiostar TA790GX A3+, AMD 790GX Chipset
RAMTeam Elite TED32048333HC9D (8 GB) at DDR3-1066 CAS 9-9-9-24
Graphics CardGigabyte Radeon HD 5770 1 GB, GV-R577UD-1GD (Juniper), 850 MHz GPU, 1200 MHz MemorySapphire Radeon HD 5870 1 GB, Vapor-X HD5870 1G OC Version (Cypress), 875 MHz GPU, 1250 MHz MemoryAsus Radeon HD 6970 2 GB, EAH6970/2DIS/2GD5 (Cayman), 890 MHz GPU, 1375 MHz Memory
Hard DriveWestern Digital Green Power 1 TB WD10EACS, 16 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s
SoundOn-board Sound, Realtek ALC880
NetworkingOn-board gigabit Ethernet, Realtek RTC8111C, 1 Gb/s
Power SupplyPC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 watt ATX12v v.2.2, EPS 12V CrossFire Edition
 CPU CoolerThermalright Ultra Extreme 120, Noctua NF-P12 120 mm fan
Fans2 x Noctua NF-P12 120 mm fan (not including CPU fan)
Operating SystemWindows Vista Home Edition 32 bit SP1
Graphics DriversAMD Catalyst 10.9 for the Radeon HD 5770 1 GB & HD 5870 1 GB, AMD Catalyst 11.1 for the Radeon HD 6970 2 GB
Benchmark Configuration
GamingCrysis: Version 1.2.1, Demo: CPU Benchmark–Island, DirectX 9, Quality Preset: HighMedal of Honor: Version, Demo: Opening Scene of 2nd Mission–Breaking Bagram, Quality Preset: High
Video EncodingCyberLink PowerDirector 8: Version 8.00.3022, Video Trailer “Nine Inch Nails: Beside You In Time” 2:20, 1080p. Profile: AVCHD 1920x1080. Video Bitrate: 15.5 Mb/s.
Video PlaybackCyberLink PowerDVD 9: Version 9.0.1530.0, Video Trailer “Nine Inch Nails: Beside You In Time” 2:20, 1080p. Hardware Acceleration: Enabled.
ProductivityAdobe Photoshop CS4: Version 11.0, GPU Acceleration: Enabled
Synthetic Benchmark and Settings
Cinebench R11Version 11, OpenGL Test.
  • hokkdawg
    Dude, I'm now feeling a sudden urge to watch The Matrix!
  • I think, considering those people using SLi and crossfire and higher end videocards, they don't really give a gat about how much elec. they are using. They can afford to buy two expensive PCBs, why would they care about extra 5~10 bucks per month? If poeple are focused on lower power consumption, they would go for lower performance components, arent they?
  • anttonij
    I guess the most important point of this review is that you can lower the cards voltage while running at stock speed. For example I'm running my GTX 460 (stock 675/1800@1.012V) at 777/2070@0.975V or if I wanted to use the stock speeds, I could lower the voltage to 0.875V. I've also lowered the fan speeds to allow the card to run almost silently even at full load.
  • Khimera2000
    @.@ there is no apple @.@

    This is neat though :) I wonder if this article might inspire someone to make an application. Come on open source dont fail me now >.
  • Could you do comparison of "the fastest VC" vs "entry level" and then show us how much money we might end up paying each month or day?
  • the_krasno
    Manufacturers should find a way to implement this automatically, imagine the possibilities!
  • wrxchris

    I have 2 gfx cards pushing 3 displays, but I'm all for saving watts wherever I can. Our society has advanced to the point where sustainability is a very important buzzword that is widely ignored by mainstream media and many corporations, and this ignorance trickles down to the mainstream like Reaganomics. Minuscule reductions such as 30w savings across hundreds of thousands if not millions of users adds up to a significant reduction in carcinogenic emissions and saves valuable resources for future consumption.
  • delinius
    Holy crap, I watched the Matrix again just before this topic was posted..
  • neiroatopelcc
    So when playing video, you risk your amd card going into uvd mode? What models does that apply to?
    I want to know, cause for instance in a raid, I'd sometimes watch video content on another screen while waiting around for whatever there is to wait for. I already lose the crossfire performance because of window mode. I don't want to lose even more.

    Does my ancient 4870x2 support uvd?
  • jestersage
    so... for the dual bios HD6900s, I can RBE one bios with my desired settings and just choose which bios to use before I power up my PC? hmmm... interesting.