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Power Consumption, Noise, Temperature, Overclockability

Based on the reference design, the Zotac GeForce 9800 GTX AMP! is going to consume about the same amount of power as the reference GeForce 9800 GTX but we wanted to check out how the factory overclocking affected the card’s consumption. We performed our power consumption test on a special testbed configured like follows:

  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 CPU (2.6GHz)
  • EPoX EP9-NPA+ SLI mainboard (Nvidia nForce4 SLI)
  • PC3200 memory (2 x 512MB, 200MHz)
  • Western Digital Raptor WD360ADFD HDD (36GB, SATA-150, 16MB buffer)
  • Chieftec ATX-410-212 PSU (410W)
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
  • Futuremark PCMark05 Build 1.2.0
  • Futuremark 3DMark06 Build 1.1.0

The 3D load was created by running the first SM3.0/HDR test from 3DMark06 in a loop at 1600x1200 with 4x FSAA and 16x AF. The Peak 2D load is emulated by means of the 2D Transparent Windows test from PCMark05. Here are the results:

Click to enlarge

The increased frequencies affect the card’s power draw. The peak power consumption of Zotac’s GeForce 9800 GTX is 5.2W higher in comparison with the reference card. That’s not much compared with the flagship cards of the previous generation, though. 113W is a modest value in comparison with 130W of the GeForce 8800 GTX, let alone 160W of the Radeon HD 2900 XT. As for the load distribution, the two power connectors are redundant even for the Zotac card: one such connector could easily sustain the load of 65W.

We measured the card’s noise 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. The card proved to be as noisy as the reference GeForce 9800 GTX:

So, the card is almost silent. You can’t hear it under normal conditions. Working on an open testbed, the GPU temperature was 66°C under load. This is 5°C higher than the temperature of the reference card but there is no danger of overheat. The cooler does its job well notwithstanding the factory overclocking. You should note that the GPU temperature depends on the room temperature and may differ in your particular conditions.

We hadn’t expected much from overclocking the card. Indeed, the GPU was stable at 771/1944MHz and the memory chips, at 1220 (2440) MHz. These frequencies are just slightly higher than the card’s default ones, so we didn’t benchmark the overclocked card.

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