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Power Consumption, Temperature, Noise, Overclockability

To check out the electrical parameters of our Zotac GeForce GTX 465 we are going to use our standard testbed:

  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU (3GHz, 1333 MHz FSB x 9, LGA775)
  • DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200-T2R/G mainboard (ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset)
  • PC2-1066 SDRAM (2x2 GB, 1066MHz)
  • Enermax Liberty ELT620AWT PSU (620W)
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 7 64-bit
  • CyberLink PowerDVD 9 Ultra/"Serenity" BD (1080p VC-1, 20 Mbit)
  • Crysis Warhead
  • OCCT Perestroika 3.1.0

The new testbed for measuring electric characteristics of graphics cards uses a card designed by one of our engineers, Oleg Artamonov, and described in his article called PC Power Consumption: How Many Watts Do We Need?. This device facilitates and automates the measurement process. As usual, we used the following benchmarks to load the graphics accelerators:

  • CyberLink PowerDVD 9: FullScreen, hardware acceleration enabled
  • Crysis Warhead: 1600x1200, FSAA 4x, DirectX 10/Enthusiast, "frost" map
  • OCCT Perestroika GPU: 1600x1200, FullScreen, Shader Complexity 8

Except for the maximum load simulation with OCCT, we measured power consumption in each mode for 60 seconds. We limit the run time of OCCT: GPU to 10 seconds to avoid overloading the graphics card's power circuitry. Here is what we managed to obtain using this testing methodology:

We were really amazed at the results of our measurements. The new GeForce GTX 465 proves to consume much more power than the faster GeForce GTX 470 in every mode, from 2D applications to the OCCT:GPU test. We can think of only one explanation: the defective sample of the GF100 chip installed on this card needs a higher voltage to be stable. But that’s a real disaster: based on a thinner tech process, the new card consumes more than the GeForce GTX 275 and may occasionally have a lower frame rate in games! This is a clear sign that it is times for Nvidia to reconsider its strategy of developing super-fast but extremely sophisticated GPUs.

When playing HD video, the GeForce GTX 465, like the senior model from the same series, consumes over 80 watts for 15 to 20 seconds and then switches its GPU into power-saving mode with lowered clock rates. The power consumption drops to 35-50 watts as the result. The first power connector, marked as 4/8-pin in the diagrams, is loaded more than the second one in 2D and HD video modes. In the heavier modes the connectors are loaded nearly equally and have a peak current of 9 amperes or higher than 100 watts whereas the recommended max load for such 6-pin connectors is 75 watts.

The GeForce GTX 465 is overall a disappointment in this test. It needs more than 200 watts in 3D mode while the much faster GeForce GTX 470 needs less than 200 watts. Everything suggests that the GeForce GTX 465 is a temporary solution that has been designed hastily out of the GF100 scraps that could not be utilized in some other way. As usual, we must remind you that you need a high-quality power supply and a well-ventilated system case for this graphics card to work normally. You won’t like it if you value power efficiency.

The Zotac GeForce GTX 465 was also scorching hot at work and its temperature of 90°C resembles that of the GeForce GTX 480, which is equipped with a weaker cooler. We must confess, however, that it was hot outside during our tests – about 26°C – and we could not keep the ambient temperature as low as in our tests of the senior GeForce GTX 400 series models. The ambient conditions being the same, we guess the GeForce GTX 465 will be about as hot as the GeForce GTX 470 or even somewhat cooler. The whole GeForce GTX 400 series are rather hot-tempered folks and need to be housed in a well-ventilated system case.

Although the Zotac GeForce GTX 465 is equipped with the same cooler as the GeForce GTX 470, we decided to measure its noise once again, considering the hot weather which affected the temperature tests. We found the new card to be just as noisy as the GeForce GTX 470 in 2D mode. But under load its fan quickly accelerated to become louder than the GeForce GTX 480! It was not comfortable at all. The only good thing about the cooler is that its fan rather quickly slowed down when there was no load anymore. So, we again want to focus your attention on the need to ensure proper ventilation if you’ve got one of the GeForce GTX 400 series cards. You should also clean the card’s heatsink regularly to remove any dust that might have accumulated in there. This advice refers to any top-end graphics card, though.

As the GeForce GTX 465 is produced out of defective GF100 cores, we did not expect it to be any good at overclocking.

Indeed, the GPU could only be overclocked to 700/1400 MHz whereas the memory chips, to 825 (3300) MHz although they are rated for a frequency of 1000 (4000) MHz. The memory bandwidth grew up to 105.6 GBps only. Thus, we’ve got a 15.2% increase in GPU frequency and a 2.9% increase in memory frequency. The GeForce GTX 470 did better in our overclocking tests, but we decided to benchmark the Zotac GeForce GTX 465 at the overclocked frequencies as well.

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