Power Consumption, Noise, Temperature, Overclockability, Compatibility
As usual, the card is loaded in 3D mode by the first SM3.0/HDR test from 3DMark06 launched in a loop at 1600x1200 with 4x FSAA and 16x AF. In the Peak 2D mode the card performed the 2D Transparent Windows test from PCMark05.
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The peak power consumption of the GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB doesn’t reach 100W, which is impressive in comparison with the GeForce 8800 GTX. It is the external power connectors that is the most loaded in this case.
The card is not very economical in idle mode, being inferior to the ATI Radeon HD 3870 with its more advanced power management techniques. No wonder Nvidia is currently working on a technology to make up for the higher power draw of its GPUs. We discussed that technology, called HybridPower, in our GeForce 9800 GX2 review. It should also be noted that XFX’ factory overclocking hasn’t affected the results much. The peak power draw is still below 110W even.
We measured the level of noise produced by the card with a digital sound-level meter Velleman DVM1326 using A-curve weighing. The level of ambient noise in our lab was 36dBA and the level of noise at a distance of 1 meter from the working testbed with a passively cooled graphics card inside was 43dBA.
There is almost no difference from the reference card, though. The XFX card is silent in every mode, the fan speed being no higher than 800rpm even under load. The GPU temperature varies from 47-58°C in idle mode to 85-86°C under heavy load in 3D applications. These showings are acceptable for the G92. The card has no effect on the temperature of other system components because the hot air is driven out of the system case.
We tried to overclock the card without additional cooling and managed to increase the GPU frequency from 678MHz to 760MHz. The shader domain frequency grew from 1700 to 1906MHz. The memory chips were stable at 1100 (2200) MHz, which was quite good for the Quimonda chips rated for a frequency of 1000 (2000) MHz. Our sample of XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB XXX Alpha Dog Edition worked normally at such frequencies, yet we don’t recommend you to use it in such mode. Setting the frequencies higher than the manufacturer’s 687/1700/1972MHz may render the card unstable. It’s no good having your system hang up due to a failure of the overclocked graphics card, especially at a crucial moment of the game.
We didn’t have any compatibility problems with the XFX card. It started up successfully on every PCI Express 1.0a mainboard we tried it with.