VGA card power dissipation

They make noise, too.

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MikeC
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VGA card power dissipation

Post by MikeC » Mon Oct 20, 2003 8:49 am

From German hardware site TEC Channel... an analysis of the power draw of many VGA cards. Now very slightly dated, but they have an update (posted below by Kostik) that adds a few newer cards.

Silencers take note: The higher the power dissipation of the VGA card, the more heat in the case you have to exhaust out, and the harder it is to cool the VGA card itself silently.

Much thanks to jojo4u, Kostik and DonP for their assistance in searching the forums for these links. :)

IDLE AND LOAD POWER DRAW (watts) RESPECTIVELY:

ImageImage
Last edited by MikeC on Tue Oct 21, 2003 1:24 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Kostik
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Post by Kostik » Mon Oct 20, 2003 8:54 am

follow up on the above:
ImageImage

jojo4u
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Post by jojo4u » Mon Oct 20, 2003 11:32 am

Don't forget about:

(They measure the AC power draw of the system)

Geforce 4 MX - FX 5800 ultra, Radeon 7500 - 9800 pro

Pentium 4 2,53GHz (533 MHz FSB QDR)
Asus P4B266-E
2*256MB Nanya/Apacer PC2100 DDR-RAM
IBM DTLA 307015
Maxtor 93073U6
Pioneer DVD-303S (Slot-In)
Onboard 10/100MBit Netzwerkkarte
Adaptec AHA-2940UW SCSI Adapter

Radeon 7500 - 9800 Pro
and
Geforce 2 MX - FX 5900

Pentium 4 3,00GHz (200MHz FSB QDR)
Intel D875 PBZ
2*256MB Corsair XMS3000 CL2
IBM DTLA 307015
Pioneer DVD U03S
Adaptec 2940UW SCSI-Controller
Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live! Player


DirectX9 GPU

Pentium 4 3,00GHz (200MHz FSB QDR)
Intel D875 PBZ
2*512MB OCZ DDR550 DDR-RAM
Western Digital WD800JB (80 GB, 7200 rpm, 8 MB Cache)
Pioneer DVD U03S
Adaptec 2940UW SCSI-Controller
Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live! Player
Last edited by jojo4u on Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ez2remember
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Post by ez2remember » Tue Oct 21, 2003 1:11 pm

OMG, thanks for the update Kostik, I can't believe FX5800 Ultra dissipates that much heat. That's equivalent to high performance CPU's.

wumpus
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Post by wumpus » Tue Oct 21, 2003 1:48 pm

Not too surprising if you compare the transistor counts.

1398342003
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Post by 1398342003 » Wed Oct 22, 2003 11:29 pm

Anyone have power data for the 9800 Pro/XT?

scalar
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A question of unnecessary power

Post by scalar » Thu Nov 20, 2003 11:17 pm

As the owner of a TI-4600 128DDR, I find the card to run what I would call unnecessarily hot all the time, whether in 3D or in generic 2D windows. I would not call the typical 2D graphics of Windows all that stressful on the card.

So why must it run at full power, so hot all the time that it must be fan-cooled, when all I am doing is sitting here reading static nonmoving graphics images of articles on the SPCR forums? Is redrawing a static image of the desktop without the mouse moving, really all that taxing on the graphics processor?

If nothing onscreen changes, the graphics processor really has nothing to do other than refresh the monitor from the already-rendered image in video memory. Oh, and update about 25 pixels once a minute as the Windows clock slowly advances. (I have several old 16-bit ISA 2meg SVGA cards that can handle this same job and barely get warm to the touch, compared to the heat rolling off the TI-4600..)

I would bet that video card manufacturers do not consider power consumption an issue, and if you have the money to purchase a high-power card you are expected to need a huge cooling system. And besides, designing their high-power chips for efficiency when graphics load is minimal would likely cut into their elbowing for top place in the all-important FPS score charts.

Who cares if you need a leaf-blower fan to keep the thing from melting to slag when editing a Word document? The GPU is just sitting there, spinning along at 9,000 RPM with the clutch pushed in because there's nothing for it to do but generate useless heat.

They are not under the same pressure as Intel, to design chips that can squeeze the max life out of a laptop battery, for example. Instead they simply design a weak chip for laptops, and leave the good stuff energy sucking chips for the desktop, rather than designing a powerful but "speedstep-capable" video chip that only uses as much power as is needed at a given moment to draw complex 3D or simple, boring 2D.


I am aware of the CoolBits hack that lets you adjust the CPU/memory speed. And yes, my system still does great in Windows with the sliders all set to the minimum. The question is, why isn't this throttling down an automatic part of the system when graphics load is low?

-Scalar

wumpus
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Post by wumpus » Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:13 pm

The newer nvidia cards automatically scale down the clock in exactly the manner you describe.

ljs1987
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Post by ljs1987 » Wed Dec 17, 2003 4:28 am

Could you guys add heat dissipation info for the 9600 cards? Thanks!

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Post by Beyonder » Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:23 am

Methinks we need a SPCR.com initiative to get some sort of concrete information on video card power consumption and dissipation...much like we have this page for pc chips, I'd love to see one for video cards:

http://users.erols.com/chare/elec.htm

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Post by jojo4u » Tue Jan 06, 2004 3:42 pm

wumpus wrote:The newer nvidia cards automatically scale down the clock in exactly the manner you describe.
Yes and the really ironic thing about the 5800 ultra is that the fans even stopped on 2d...
My ATI 9500pro is hot as hell even in 2d.

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Post by Gxcad » Tue Jan 13, 2004 2:21 am

so long as I get the videocards, I have the means to test and calculate their powerdraw.

I have a dead 9800pro 256mb that will power up, so I could get idle powerdraw but I don't think anyone would be interested and the credibility of such a measurement is questionable when it doesn't even POST.

I also have a softmodded 9500 128mb non pro @9700 stock speed that I could test. This one works;).

-Ken

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Post by jojo4u » Tue Jan 13, 2004 3:43 am

Gxcad wrote:so long as I get the videocards, I have the means to test and calculate their powerdraw.
Are you able to test AGP powerdraw? If not I am still interested in the figures of the extra powerplug.

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Post by MikeC » Tue Jan 13, 2004 8:29 am

Gxcad wrote:so long as I get the videocards, I have the means to test and calculate their powerdraw.
So do tell how, Ken. :?:

jojo4u
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Post by jojo4u » Thu Feb 26, 2004 7:58 am

I have updated my 3rd posting here in the thread. Now, you can compare the complete range of ATI and Nvidia on the same system. Remember that they measure complete system AC draw.

Analysis at Windows desktop:
Nvidia is very good since they clock back. They are all in the pretty tight range.
Price/Heat/Performance king is the FX 5900(XT) with 90W.
If want less power draw, the GF 4 MX 440 offers 86W.
Old GF 4 series is quite bad with 96 and 104W.

ATI should include mobile features in their theoretical superior GPUs
Price/Heat/Performance king is the 9600pro with 86W.
The lowest is the 7500 with 83W.
More power means exeptionally more heat, a 9700pro with 106W is a good choice here.

As a reference: A Radeon 7500 with very tiny stock heatsink and fan uplugged works is a little bit hot at Windows dektop whereas a 9700 with Zalman HP80 is almost too hot to touch.

Btw, if you go for a 5900 ultra instead of a 9800 pro, you save 30W of heat while not gaming! This means here at germany ~45 Euro/year if your PC is 24/7h.

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Post by Bar81 » Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:16 pm

Yes, ATI should definitely add throttling but it's not *that* big of a deal (Nvidia only added it b/c well, they *had* to, given the combustible engines they're putting out mascarading as GPUs). Use Powerstrip and set up two profiles - one minimum and one maximum. You can switch between them in 2-3 clicks depending on whether you're on the desktop or gaming.

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Post by jojo4u » Fri Mar 05, 2004 5:52 am

Bar81 wrote:Use Powerstrip and set up two profiles - one minimum and one maximum.
My Radeon 9700 only underclocks 15% without articfacts. And more important, the voltage cannot be changed.

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Post by tfs165 » Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:39 am

wumpus wrote:The newer nvidia cards automatically scale down the clock in exactly the manner you describe.
Newer meaning from which card onwards? I am looking at passive cooling VGA card. Heard that ATI cards are always prefered among HTPC people...

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Post by Nowhere_man » Fri Mar 26, 2004 3:20 pm

Hmmmm....I never thought of underclocking my 9700Pro, I'll have to try that just to see how low it'll go.

Dirge
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Post by Dirge » Tue May 04, 2004 2:55 pm

I think it would be helpful if SilentPCReview had a recommended VGA section.

I would like to see things such as heat dissipation, noise level and VPU electrical specifications covered. It would also be important to include power draw of the many different cards out there.

It doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking the section could start small adding cards over time.

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Post by fetaost » Wed May 26, 2004 1:21 pm

Yes, a recommended VGA section would be nice. I don't know which of the Saphire cards that are fanless.

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Post by tias » Wed May 26, 2004 1:34 pm

Interesting thread. I was just wondering how much heat my Matrox G550 produces, but I guess not too much :)

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Post by jojo4u » Thu May 27, 2004 6:56 am

tias wrote:Interesting thread. I was just wondering how much heat my Matrox G550 produces, but I guess not too much :)
*grin* Just look at the pics in the first post....

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Post by Old Dude » Tue Jun 15, 2004 10:39 pm

ez2remember wrote:OMG, thanks for the update Kostik, I can't believe FX5800 Ultra dissipates that much heat. That's equivalent to high performance CPU's.
You must bear in mind that not only the GPU but also the memory chips dissipate heat.

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Post by jojo4u » Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:01 am

Just a new article in the 3rd post of this thread.
Nvidia TI4800, Nvidia FX 5800 ultra, Nvidia FX 5950 ultra, 6800Ultra/GT
ATI 9700 pro, 9800XT, 9600XT, X800XT/Pro

The new X800 series are surprising low.

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Post by jojo4u » Wed Jul 21, 2004 4:53 am

Bitter Jitter wrote:Radeon 9800pro uses 20w in Idle

I might try them in games next time, but its a start?
Strange, you findings contratict the findings of computerbase.de

The following 2 links share the same test system:
http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/hard ... gsaufnahme
http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/hard ... gsaufnahme

Here, the GF2 needs 80W AC and the Radeon 9800 pro needs 125W AC. That makes around 30W DC difference. Perhaps ATI enabled power savings in the latest driver?

But we can do a reality check.
http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/hard ... edingungen
Shows consumption in the BIOS screen. Would you mind to repeat your check inside the BIOS?

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Post by Straker » Sun Jul 25, 2004 6:45 am

tfs165 wrote:Newer meaning from which card onwards? I am looking at passive cooling VGA card. Heard that ATI cards are always prefered among HTPC people...
old post, but in case anyone else happens to wonder, i'm *quite sure* (but wouldn't stake my life on it) that anything newer than the 4200-4600 will automatically underclock in 2D. Not sure about the 4800.
I also remember ATI cards never doing this (not that they particularly needed to), but the X800s must do something, considering how low their power consumption is on idle.

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Post by lenny » Thu Jul 29, 2004 2:22 am

Saw this at X-bit Labs.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/ ... rcons.html

Part 1 details power consumption of ATI graphics cards, from 9600 to X800. Very detailed. Shows draw on 4 pin molex power connector and AGP slot, and individual power draw on each rail.

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Post by Tobi-Wan Kenobi » Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:08 am

lenny wrote:Saw this at X-bit Labs.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/ ... rcons.html

Part 1 details power consumption of ATI graphics cards, from 9600 to X800. Very detailed. Shows draw on 4 pin molex power connector and AGP slot, and individual power draw on each rail.
D'oh! You were faster! :( :P

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Post by jojo4u » Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:21 am

lenny wrote:Saw this at X-bit Labs.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/ ... rcons.html
Great article! The X800 series are a big step forward compared to the 9800 series. But 15W DC are still ~20W AC in idle mode.

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