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Power Consumption

We measured the power consumption of computer systems with different graphics cards using a multifunctional panel Zalman ZM-MFC3 which can report how much power a computer (the monitor not included) draws from a wall socket. There were two test modes: 2D (editing documents in Microsoft Word and web surfing) and 3D (the intro scene of the Swamp level from Crysis 3 running four times in a loop at 2560x1440 with maximum visual quality settings but without MSAA). Here are the results:

The AMD Radeon R9 290 configuration needs a mere 16 watts less than the Radeon R9 290X. When the junior Hawaii XT-based product is overclocked, the power consumption grows by 33 watts, reaching 569 watts at peak load.

The GeForce GTX 780 configuration is somewhat more economical, both in the default and overclocked mode. A 600-watt PSU is going to be enough for any of the tested configurations, though.

The different configurations consume about the same amount of power in 2D applications.


According to our today’s tests and judging by the recommended prices, the AMD Radeon R9 290 seems to be a more attractive buy than the top-end Radeon R9 290X. Being a mere 7% slower, the R9 290 is supposed to be 27% cheaper than its cousin. Moreover, it can be easily overclocked to the same or higher level as the R9 290X even with its inefficient reference cooler. The Radeon R9 290 also gives you a chance to unlock the disabled GPU subunits and get a full-featured R9 290X at a far more attractive price.

Comparing the Radeon R9 290 against the GeForce GTX 780, we can say that they are equal in terms of performance. They also cost the same money today although the Radeon R9 290 is supposed to sell for $100 less. Released earlier, the GeForce GTX 780 is currently available in a lot of original versions which feature high-efficiency coolers, factory overclocking (+100 MHz and more for the GPU) and high overclocking potential of the memory chips. Of course, original Radeon R9 290 cards will come out as well, but they seem to have less aggressive factory overclocking. In this case, original GeForce GTX 780s are going to be faster than original Radeon R9 290s.

Anyway, we still want to thank AMD for making Nvidia cut its prices and launch the fast GeForce GTX 780 Ti model as a response to the Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X. Tough competition is always good for end users.

So now we’re eagerly waiting for original versions of AMD’s new Radeons to check out if the manufacturers can eliminate their downsides in the way of high temperature and noise.

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