Sparkle GeForce GTS 250 1GB Graphics Card

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 power consumption of the base system under CPUBurn 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 (Intel GMA950). (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 FurMark 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 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.

Power Consumption Comparison (DC)
Card
Est. Power (Idle)
Est. Power (ATITool)
Est. Power (FurMark)
Asus EN9800GT 512MB
32W
72W
80W
ATI HD 4830 512MB*
18W
80W
87W
Sparkle GTS 250 1GB
22W
87W
124W
Diamond HD 4850 512MB
50W
101W
N/A
Asus ENGTX260 896MB
35W
122W
N/A
ATI HD 4870 1GB
67W
121W
134W
* sample with unknown number of stream processors

Our Sparkle GTS 250 1GB sample exhibited relatively low idle power consumption compared to other gaming-oriented cards. Among tested card the same league, only our HD 4830 sample consumed less power when the system is idle, and even then only 4W less. When stressed however, the GTS 250 can use as much as 124W DC by our estimates.

Video Playback Power Consumption (AC)
Card
Rush Hour
(H.264)
Coral Reef
(WMV-HD)
Drag Race
(VC-1)
Asus EN9800GT 512MB
119W
127W
141W
ATI HD 4830 512MB*
131W
139W
153W
Sparkle GTS 250 1GB
133W
136W
164W
Diamond HD 4850 512MB
123W
134W
160W
Asus ENGTX260 896MB
136W
151W
176W
ATI HD 4870 1GB
183W
176W
199W
* sample with unknown number of stream processors

For video playback, the faster 3D cards all draw relatively high power. The GTS 250 holds its own against its main rival, the HD 4850. In the big picture, this probably isn't going to sway any gamer to one card or another. The faster the card, the more power its going to draw, whether during video playback or intense gaming.



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