Asus EN9800GT Matrix Edition

Graphics Cards
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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. 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 (DC)
Card
Est. Power (Idle)
Est. Power (ATITool)
Est. Power (FurMark)
ATI HD 4670
3W
38W
40W
ATI HD 3850
11W
55W
N/A
Asus EN9600GT
Silent
26W
65W
N/A
Palit HD 3870
17W
72W
N/A
Asus EN9800GT
Matrix
32W
72W
80W
ATI HD 4830*
18W
80W
87W
Diamond HD 4850
50W
101W
N/A
Asus ENGTX260
35W
122W
N/A
* We were unable to determine the number of stream processors enabled on our HD 4830 production sample. Power consumption may be higher on retail units.

We estimate the power draw of the EN9800GT Matrix to be approximately 32W during idle, 72W with ATITool running, and 80W with Furmark. On load it is quite similar to the HD 3870, but with much higher idle power consumption. It is also incrementally more power hungry the EN9600GT though if its power management software had been operational, it may have done better in this regard. For a midrange card, these numbers are more or less the norm.

The key Asus software provided with the card, iTracker (for controlling fan speed and monitoring temperatures) and Super Hybrid Engine (dynamic voltage / frequency control) froze up on our test system when we attempted to load them. We tried different versions of the software along with various driver sets to no avail. We were therefore unable to test Asus' Super Hybrid Engine power saving ability. Whatever power management there was occurred at the driver level, not in software. Without the advantage of Super Hybrid Engine, we can assume that the performance our test sample is typical of other 9800GT's. This accords with other reviews around the web: A modest increase in idle power consumption over the 9600GT is about right for a reference design 9800GT.

Video Playback

Video Playback Results: EN9800GT
Video Clip
Mean CPU Usage
Peak CPU Usage
AC Power
Rush Hour
3%
9%
~119W
Coral Reef
18%
29%
~127W
Flight Sim.
31%
46%
~138W
Drag Race
34%
47%
~141W

The EN9800GT handled our video playback testbed with ease. CPU usage during playback fairly low except for our more demanding VC-1 clips.

Video Playback Comparison
Video Clip
HD 3870
EN9600GT
EN9800GT
Mean
CPU
AC
Power
Mean
CPU
AC
Power
Mean CPU
AC
Power
Rush Hour
3%
~105W
2%
~113W
3%
~119W
Coral Reef
27%
~118W
15%
~121W
18%
~127W
Flight Sim.
50%
~130W
28%
~131W
31%
~138W

Compared to two cards with similar power draws, the EN9800GT Matrix proves to be a bit inefficient for video playback alone. Its higher idle power consumption carries over to video playback when neither the CPU or GPU is under stress.



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