Articles: Graphics

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Premium Graphics Cards

  • ATI Radeon X1900 XTX
  • Nvidia GeForce 7950 GX2
  • Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX

Power Consumption

Today, all premium-class graphics cards support a dual-link DVI interface, thus permitting to connect large monitors, including models with a diagonal of 30”. Such cards also have similar dimensions. They are all rather long and occupy two expansion slots, so you need a rather roomy system case to install them normally.

We couldn’t measure the power consumption of the Nvidia GeForce 7950 GX2 card because it doesn’t work on uncertified mainboards (for details read our review called Two for One: Nvidia's Dual-Chip GeForce 7950 GX2 Reviewed ). So, we can only say that Nvidia reports a peak consumption of 143W for this device. By our own estimate, the GeForce 7950 GX2 works at frequencies similar to the GeForce 7900 GT (which consumes 48W) and can hardly require more than 110-120W.

Power Consumption Details (Click to enlarge):

There are no surprises in the power consumption diagrams: incorporating less transistors and having a micro-architecture optimized for low power consumption, the Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX eats 33% less of power than its opponent under maximum 3D load.

When idle or under high 2D load, both the top-end graphics cards from ATI and Nvidia need almost the same amount of power.

Under the peak load, the Radeon X1900 XTX sucks in a lot of juice from its additional power connector and consumes the same 45W as the GeForce 7900 GTX from the mainboard’s power circuitry.

Noise Level

The decibel is a logarithmic rather than linear measurement unit, so an increase in the sound level by 3dB corresponds to a twofold increase in the sound intensity. However, because of the non-linearity of human hearing it is assumed that the perception of a sound source having become two times louder corresponds to a sound level increase by 10dB.

The diagrams show that the coolers of these graphics cards produce noise with an intensity of about 45dBA in 2D mode, and the GeForce 7950 GX2 is even a little quieter than the other two products. But as soon as you launch a 3D game, the Radeon X1900 XTX and the GeForce 7950 GX2 speed up their fans and worsen your acoustic comfort (the latter sounds somewhat better, though). The fan of the GeForce 7900 GTX remains tranquil in almost any case, thus making this product the most comfortable to use of the three.

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