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Graphics Cards: What’s Beyond the Performance?

Talking about power consumptions of graphic cards, we typically should consider not only power consumption alone, but other factors as well.

We believe that the list of important physical characteristics of graphics cards should include the following:

  • Noise
  • Ability to dynamically regulate fan speed
  • Outputs (support for dual-link DVI, composite, etc.)
  • Power consumption in idle
  • Power consumption in peak 2D/low-power 3D
  • Power consumption in 3D
  • Peak heat dissipation
  • Print-circuit board design (length and height)
  • Single-slot/dual-slot cooling system
  • Weight
  • Additional power connectors

So, in overall, the question is not about power consumption only, but about plethora of specifications that can allow or not allow users to install particular graphics card into a particular system: it is not possible to install full-profile graphics card into a low-profile computer case and this limitation is not due to power consumption, but due to form-factor. Or, for example, certain boards may not suit for particular usage model: you will hardly be able to use a high-end widescreen 30” display on a graphics card that does not support dual-link DVI.

In this article we primarily measure power consumption of modern graphics cards, however, we attempt to consider the physical characteristics mentioned above in addition to some other facts that we know about the graphics cards participating in the test.

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