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Power Consumption of HTPC Oriented Graphics Cards

Power consumption is directly linked to noisiness of cooling solutions, hence, low power consumption of central processing units and graphics processing units transform into quiet operation of your HTPC. This is why we decided to measure power consumption of graphics cards we consider “HTPC friendly”.

We measured power consumption of the boards on the testbed of the following configuration, using the following software:

  • 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

As expected, graphics cards with higher horsepower consume more energy. The only exception is definitely the GeForce 9800 GT/GeForce GTS 240, which is powered on completely outdated G92b core and which also does not offer decent performance in modern games.

It is obvious that if one is looking for the most economical HTPC graphics board possible, he or she should choose between the ATI Radeon HD 5450 and Nvidia GeForce 210; meanwhile, the ATI Radeon HD 5770 provides the highest possible performance for 3D games albeit consumes around 42W when playing a high-definition movie. On the other hand, it should be noted that low-end graphics cards may not offer high quality of video playback or decent speed of decoding.

Based on specifications and performance expectations, ATI Radeon HD 5750, 5670 and 5570 as well as Nvidia GeForce GT 240 and GT 220 seem to be the most potentially interesting HTPC solutions, at least, from power consumption standpoint. Let’s see how good they can playback standard-definition and high-definition video as well as check out how well they can offload decoding of high-def video stream from central processing units.

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