To sum everything up, I will show you a summary diagram with two values for each PC configuration: maximum load (FurMark + Prime95) and typical load (3DMark06).
So, there is nothing frightening about the numbers. Of course, 500 watts is quite a lot. It is about one quarter of an electric iron, but PSUs that can deliver it are widely available for reasonable money, especially if you compare it with the cost of the other components of such a power-hungry configuration. If you want to have a 50% reserve of wattage, a 750W power supply will be sufficient for a system with a Core i7-920 and a GeForce GTX 295.
The other configurations are much more economical. If the graphics card is replaced with a single-chip one, a 500-550W power supply can be used (and it will have a reserve of wattage, too). And an inexpensive 400W PSU will do for midrange gaming PCs.
Note also that this is the power consumption under very heavy tests. No real game can load the computer as heavily as FurMark. It means that a 750W PSU will offer an even larger reserve of power for the most advanced of the tested configurations.
Talking about the new measurement tool, it covers all of our test lab’s purposes and allows to measure the overall consumption of a computer as well as that of any of its components at any moment, starting from your pressing the Power button or even before that. It can automatically measure the minimum and maximum of currents, find an average power consumption, calculate maximums of power consumption (considering that you can’t just sum up the maximums on the different PSU rails because these maximums may have occurred at different moments), show the distribution of load among the different PSU rails and draw graphs that show how load changes over time.
Such tools will soon be used in most of our reviews, configured specifically for the particular purposes. For example, in this review I totaled the consumption of the mainboard and drives, but in graphics card reviews the current the card consumes from the mainboard’s PCI Express slot can be measured separately.
And to make our PSU tests more illustrative, we will show the power consumption levels of different PC configurations in cross-load diagrams. We once did so, but were limited then by the lack of a handy measurement tool.