Energy consumptionWe did of course use our new test protocol that allows us to measure the energy consumption of the graphics card alone. We took these readings at idle, in 3D Mark 06 and Furmark. Note that we use a version of Furmark that isn’t detected by the stress test energy consumption limitation mechanism put into place by NVIDIA in the GeForce GTX 500 drivers.
Although the GeForce GTX 580 is more economical at idle than the GeForce GTX 480, it draws just as much power in load with energy consumption at 300W. Energy consumption for the GeForce GTX 570 at idle is a little bit lower, on a par with the Radeon HD 5870 2 GB. In load, in 3Dmark06, which corresponds most closely to what you see in gaming, the GeForce GTX 570 drew exactly the same amount of power as the GeForce GTX 470. In Furmark however, energy consumption climbed to 250W.
Like the GeForce GTX 580 and 480, then, it can go beyond PCI Express standards in terms of power consumption during extreme loads. Although this isn’t a problem with power drawn through the PCI Express connectors, it can become so due to the 12v power drawn from the bus as the 5.5A limit fixed by the standard is then exceeded. In practice this isn’t a problem on a mid or high-end motherboard, though some entry-level models are more sensitive here and can even blow at this load if they have a fixed fuse. It’s about time that NVIDIA, and AMD on some models, were more rigorous here!
We place the cards in an Antec Sonata 3 casing and measure noise levels at idle and in load. We placed the sonometer 60 cm from the casing.
NVIDIA has obviously worked hard on the noise levels of the GeForce GTX 500 cooler, which shows itself to be relatively quiet in the dissipation of power. We’re a long way from the disastrous noise levels experienced with the stock GeForce GTX 480 and 470.