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The power consumption of an add-on video card can be estimated by comparing the total system power draw with and without the card installed. Our results were derived thus:
1. Power consumption of the graphics card at idle when Prime95 is run on a system, the video card is not stressed at all and stays idle. This is true whether the video card is integrated or an add-on PCIe 16X device. Hence, when the power consumption of the base system under Prime95 is subtracted from the power consumption of the same test with the graphics card installed, we obtain the increase in idle power of the add-on card over the integrated graphics chip.
2. Power consumption of the graphics card under load the power draw of the system is measured with the add-on video card, with Prime95 and FurMark running simultaneously. Then the power of the baseline system (with integrated graphics) running just Prime95 is subtracted. The difference is the load power of the add-on card. Any load on the CPU from FurMark should not skew the results, since the CPU was running at full load in both systems.
Both results are scaled by the efficiency of the power supply (tested here) to obtain a final estimate of the DC power consumption.
Note: The actual power of the add-on card cannot be derived using this method
because the integrated graphics may draw some power even when not in use. However,
the relative difference between the cards should be accurate.
According to our calculations, the GTX 670 DirectCU II consumed about 20W when idle and 162W on full synthetic load. Considering it's only one step down from Nvidia's flagship single GPU video card, the GTX 680, it's a spectacular result.
In our video playback tests, the GTX 670's lower idle draw carried over, allowing it to edge out GTX 680 by a few watts. In general, Nvidia's performance models are substantially more energy efficient than AMD's in this regard. We believe this is due to higher core and memory speeds being used when hardware acceleration is activated on the various members of the HD 7000, 6000, and 5000 series. During playback, the GTX 670's core/memory clocks stayed the same as when idle, just 324/162 MHz.
All of the AMD/NVIDIA cards from the last three generations had very similar CPU usage during video playback, 1~2% for our 1080p H.264/MKV test clip, and 8~10% for our YouTube HD sample the GTX 670 was no exception.
The GTX 670 DirectCU II ships with ASUS' GPU Tweak utility which offers a wide variety of fan, clock, and voltage adjustments as well as monitoring functionality. It bares more than a passive resemblance to MSI's popular Afterburner application, albeit skinned with ASUS' attractive red and black Republic of Gamers motif.
The user defined fan speed control could use some work however, offering stepped speeds rather than the gradual linear approach used by most comparable utilities. If you prefer the latter, applications like MSI Afterburner and Sapphire TriXX work well with the card despite being developed by different manufacturers.
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