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 Post subject: GPU idle power up 10x since 2 years ago?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:04 pm 
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Two years ago I plugged a passively-cooled Gigabyte GV-N76G256D 7600GS (AGP8x) into my rig. According to reviews, it draws 13.7W on idle and 27.4W on load. (Xtreview -- which may be an overestimate given that the fans draw some power too).

Today, the same money buys a passively-cooled Gigabyte GV-R485MC-1GH (HD 4850 1GB), which draws 170W on idle and 273W on load. (BitTech review)

Did GPU's really jump in power consumption by an order of magnitude? I understand that at full load, they're cranking out a crapload more power -- but what about on idle? Is there any way to throttle them down just as you might with a CPU? I refuse to run Aero or any of that other eye candy for this reason -- yet it hardly matters if that's what these things idle at now.

Absurd?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:16 pm 
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No, the BitTech review is measuring full-system power consumption, whereas the one on Xtreview (which actually steals some of those graphs from X-bit Labs) measures just the VGA card itself. The 4850 does draw several times the power of the 7600GS, but it's more like 4-5x at load than it is an order of magnitude (again, see X-bit Labs for more info).


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 Post subject: Thanks!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:34 pm 
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Careless reading on my part! This is a 3x jump in idle, which to me is still baffling... with increased CPU/GPU efficiency over time, I don't get why idling is so hard to throttle down.

Are there software / mobo solutions for constraining GPU idle power draw? Or is all that juice really needed, even on "idle"?


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 Post subject: Re: GPU idle power up 10x since 2 years ago?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:00 pm 
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padmewan wrote:
Two years ago I plugged a passively-cooled Gigabyte GV-N76G256D 7600GS (AGP8x) into my rig. According to reviews, it draws 13.7W on idle and 27.4W on load. (Xtreview -- which may be an overestimate given that the fans draw some power too).

Today, the same money buys a passively-cooled Gigabyte GV-R485MC-1GH (HD 4850 1GB), which draws 170W on idle and 273W on load. (BitTech review)

Did GPU's really jump in power consumption by an order of magnitude? I understand that at full load, they're cranking out a crapload more power -- but what about on idle? Is there any way to throttle them down just as you might with a CPU? I refuse to run Aero or any of that other eye candy for this reason -- yet it hardly matters if that's what these things idle at now.

Absurd?

I think you're looking at it the wrong way. Yes, the 7600GS was the same price you can now get a HD4850... But that's not because their equal cards but because prices have dropped considerably that now you can get a higher end card for the same price you used to have to pay for a lower end card.

High performance parts are generally going to have higher power requirements. Especially when you have nVidia and AMD fighting it out like they are. They'll use brute force in some cases to keep their performance crown. The good news is that some of the high-end technology trickles down to the low-end parts. Now we have cards like the HD4670 that are just as low if not lower than your 7600GS at idle but can still kick in and and deliver under load.


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 Post subject: Re: GPU idle power up 10x since 2 years ago?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:18 pm 
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BillyBuerger wrote:
I think you're looking at it the wrong way. Yes, the 7600GS was the same price you can now get a HD4850... But that's not because their equal cards but because prices have dropped considerably that now you can get a higher end card for the same price you used to have to pay for a lower end card.

Of course they're not equal cards, but I mention pricing because they essentially occupy the market segment (which is just above budget). I guess your point is that the HD4850 gives more output for less input than my 7600gs, and that's to be expected when it also occupies a lower-tier niche. But whereas CPUs are actually dropping in power draw within the same niche over time, the same is not happening to GPUs. Maybe because gamers, unlike laptop users and server builders, are power-insensitive, I guess.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:13 pm 
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I don't really see the problem. You are comparing two cards that isn't in the same performance segment. Yes, they cost the same but it's not like HD4850 is the 7600GS of today.

As BillyBuerger points out the prices of the "middle cards" have dropped a bit and today you can sort of get $150 performance at $100.

Take a look at the HD4670. That's a card that performs really well (better than the 7600GS in its days) and draws less power than a 7600GS (at idle anyway).

The problem with graphics cards today is that neither ATi or nVidia seems to get the power saving features to work correctly. But at least there are power saving features today. A few years ago we had none.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:05 am 
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Vicotnik wrote:
As BillyBuerger points out the prices of the "middle cards" have dropped a bit and today you can sort of get $150 performance at $100.

Take a look at the HD4670. That's a card that performs really well (better than the 7600GS in its days) and draws less power than a 7600GS (at idle anyway).


I'll be happy to concede that point. It's hard for me to figure out where any particular card sits on the hierarchy from year to year -- I find enthusiast review sites over-detailed to walk away with, "Will this card play games for the next 2-3 years?" The truth is my AGP 7600GS was able to run Fallout 3, maxing out at well under 150W, and for me that's more than good enough (for now).

Vicotnik wrote:
The problem with graphics cards today is that neither ATi or nVidia seems to get the power saving features to work correctly. But at least there are power saving features today. A few years ago we had none.


So that's a step forward. I wonder if there's enough market pressure to keep that development advancing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:18 am 
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Im guessing a high end card from 2-3 years ago would compete with a low to mid ranged card now. So could a high end card from then compete on idle power with a 4670 for example?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:18 am 
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FartingBob wrote:
Im guessing a high end card from 2-3 years ago would compete with a low to mid ranged card now. So could a high end card from then compete on idle power with a 4670 for example?


In general that might be a valid statement, but you also have to remember that the 8800 Ultra was the biggest and baddest for an inordinate amount of time. In the same time period ATI was struggling to stay competitive.

I don't that an 8800 Ultra can come anywhere near a mid-low end card today in idle consumption, especially if it has ANY kind of power savings, even just reducing frequency in idle.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:30 pm 
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I think it was a thread over at AT, but someone posted a link recently to a page at Toms where they basically tiered the cards....of all generations (performance wise). So you could see where things were. I think it's the last page of their video charts.

So I could see that a Radeon 4670 (cheap today, low power, very middle of the road performance) matched my friend's power hungry, $300 at the time, G80 core 8800GTS 320MB of a few years ago.

And I could see where my ancient R480 core X800 was in the standings--which wasn't that far down considering.

Anyways, yeah, comparing the 4850 to a 7600 is definitely unfair, you would have to compare it to basically the top cards of that generation.

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