Asus EN3650 Silent Graphics Card

Graphics Cards
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TEST RESULTS CONTINUED

Power

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 on our test system. Our results were derived thus:

1. Power consumption of the graphics card at idle - When CPUBurn is run on a system, the video card is not stressed at all, and stays in idle mode. This is true whether the video card is integrated or an add-on PCIe 16X device. Hence, when the system power under CPUBurn with just the integrated graphics is subtracted from the system power under CPUBurn with the add-on card, we obtain the increase in idle power of the add-on card. (The actual idle power of the add-on card cannot be derived, because the integrated graphics does draw some power — we'd guess no more than a watt or two.)

2. Power consumption of the graphics card under load - The power draw of the system is measured with the add-on video card, with CPUBurn and ATITool running simultaneously. Then the power of the baseline system (with integrated graphics) running just CPUBurn is subtracted. The difference is the load power of the add-on card. (If you want to nitpick, the 1~2W power of the integrated graphics at idle should be added to this number.) Any load on the CPU from ATITool should not skew the results, since the CPU was running at full load in both systems.

Power Consumption Comparison: HD 3650 vs. HD 3850 vs. 9600GT
GPU State
Asus EAH3650
Sapphire HD3850
Asus EN9600GT
AC
DC (Est.)
AC
DC (Est.)
AC
DC (Est.)
Idle
+21W
+18W
+13W
+11W
+30W
+26W
Load
+43W
37W
+64W
55W
+76W
65W

The HD 3650 series is a low end part compared to the HD 3850, yet its idle power consumption was a fair bit higher. This could stem from the fact that a passively cooled card runs hotter and thus is less efficient than if it was actively cooled, but the Sapphire HD 3850 we tested had a fan that would refuse to spin up, and its core temperature was unusually high during load testing. The EAH3650 is still more efficient than nVidia's 9600GT though.

When stressed the card only consumed an extra 37W, which is very good for a modern graphics card. Its modest power demand is probably the top reason the passive heatsink works so well.

Video Playback

Video Playback Results: EAH3650
Video Clip
Mean CPU Usage
Peak CPU Usage
AC Power
Rush Hour (H.264)
2%
7%
~102W
Coral Reef (WMV3)
28%
40%
~117W
Flight Sim. (WVC1)
60%
83%
~133W
Drag Race (WVC1)
72%
92%
~141W

The EAH3650 passed our playback tests flawlessly. It utilizes the same Universal Video Decoder unit as the rest of the ATI HD 3000 series so this was no surprise.

Video Playback Comparison: HD 3650 vs. HD 3850
Video Clip
Asus EAH3650
Sapphire HD 3850
Mean CPU
Peak CPU
AC Power
Mean CPU
Peak CPU
AC Power
Rush Hour
2%
7%
~102W
3%
8%
~98W
Coral Reef
28%
40%
~117W
28%
38%
~109W
Flight Sim.
60%
83%
~133W
55%
80%
~125W

In terms of CPU usage, compared to the HD 3850, the results were fairly even, as expected. Power consumption on the other hand, was consistently higher throughout. A thought occured to us during video testing: audio may be responsible for this continuing anomaly. The EAH3650 has a built in HD audio processor for its HDMI audio functionality. A typical PCI sound card can add up to 5W to a system's power consumption.

HDMI Output

We connected the card with the supplied adapter via HDMI to a BenQ FP94VW monitor. The video portion of the signal worked perfectly. The proper resolution was available in the Display Settings and the screen looked crisp and clear. The ATI HD Audio device was detected in the Device Manager and the driver for it installed without incident. Despite this, we were unable to get any sound via the monitor's headphone output. It's somewhat ironic that the card's audio functionality may have been utilizing extra resources yet did not give us any benefit.



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