Specifications, Recommended Price, Power Consumption
The following table lists the specs of the graphics cards whose test results will be published below.
I performed power consumption measurements using a multifunctional ZM-MFC2 panel from Zalman. This panel measures the power consumption of the whole system, without the monitor, rather than of a specific component (the exact configuration of the testbed is listed in the Testbed and Methods section).
The measurements were performed in 2D mode (Word and Web surfing) and in 3D mode (3DMark06’s Firefly Forest test ran for five times at 1920x1200 with 4x FSAA and 16x AF). The 3D load was quite high so that the other system components, the CPU in the first place, would not affect the results much. Compared with a few games and another synthetic benchmark (listed in the Testbed and Methods section), the Firefly Forest test proved to increase the system’s power consumption to the highest mark. For example, the system consumed 35-40W less in Crysis than in Firefly Forest.
The results of the power consumption measurements are shown in the next diagram:
The CPU’s power-saving features were enabled. This is why the system’s consumption would sink suddenly in idle mode. The results are overall logical, except for the comparison between the systems with a GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB and a GeForce 8800 GT 512MB. Despite the lower frequencies and the less advanced GPU of the latter card, the system would consume more with it than with the former card. Perhaps it is because the Sysconn GeForce 8800 GT uses a unique PCB whereas the Sysconn GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB is a copy of the reference card.
Comparing the GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB and GeForce 9800 GTX 512MB at the reference frequencies, the system with the more expensive card consumes 45W more on average. Going for the cheaper card may help you save a small fortune on your electricity bill. :)