Power Consumption and TemperaturesPower Consumption
We all know the GTX 480 is a beast when it comes to power consumption, but there is a lot of interest in how this board performs on an AMD platform with their new X6 processors. Something else to note; due to physics, the cooler a card runs, the less power it is going to consume. By using a good case with good airflow, users would expect to see a measurable (but small) decrease in power used. We are talking 3 to 5 watts at max though, unless a user has supercooled their machine to -40C.
Yes, this card sucks a lot of power. 161 watts at load over the HD 5870 is pretty amazing. These numbers were taken from the wall, so we can assume that with around 80% efficiency at the power supply, the actual number would actually be between 128 and 135 watts of power consumption.
The temperature was taken from the built-in sensors on the chips. In open air testbeds, many reviewers were seeing near 100C temperatures with the fans going at full speed. The Stone Giant benchmark was run multiple times to allow the card to settle into a constant temperature and fan speed.
Those numbers for the GTX 480 are not fantastic, but they are a whole lot better than an open case. The fan on the card only reached around a maximum of 75% of its rated top speed. It was not terribly noticeable while wearing headphones and in a game, but once the game was stopped and the fan started to spool down, then it becomes quite apparent how pervasive the sound can be. It was not annoying, but it was noticeable. What perhaps stands out the most is that the HD 5870 was incredibly quite in that case, and it only reached 71C. The fan speed on that card barely went up when at full load.