Which Video Card is The Best?
After we saw that there is a huge difference in power consumption among different systems, we decided to build a mainstream system and measure the performance and power consumption of all video cards we could get our hands on installed on this system. Maintaining the whole system identical and changing only the video card is the correct way to evaluate video card performance.
The system we built had the following specs: Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.4 GHz), ASUS P5K-E/WIFI-AP Motherboard (Intel P35 chipset), 2 GB DDR2-800 (Kingston KVR800D2N6/1GB), 500 GB hard disk drive (Western Digital Caviar SE16), Zalman ZM-600HP power supply and Lite-On LH-20AIL optical drive. We were running Windows XP SP3 with Catalyst 8.10 drivers for ATI and 177.84 drivers for NVIDIA.
The results you can see below. Please keep in mind that consumption is the AC consumption for the whole system, not only for the video card. NVIDIA cards processed project 5800 (which gives 480 points per completed work unit), while ATI cards processed project 4743 (which gives 548 points per completed work unit).
We sorted the table below from the card with the best performance/kWh index to the worst.
|Video Card||Time to Complete One WU (seconds)||Max. Daily Performance (Points)||Max. Monthly Performance (Points)||Consumption (W)||Monthly Consumption (kWh)||Monthly Cost (USD) *||Points/kWh|
|GeForce GTX 260||5,800||7,150||214,500||214||154.08||$ 18.87||1392|
|GeForce GTX 280||5,500||7,540||226,200||234||168.48||$ 20.64||1342|
|GeForce 8800 GT||8,100||5,120||153,600||160||115.20||$ 14.11||1333|
|GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB||9,300||4,459||133,770||170||122.40||$ 14.99||1093|
|GeForce 8800 GTS||10,100||4,106||123,180||188||135.36||$ 16.58||910|
|Radeon HD 4830||17,800||2,660||79,800||158||113.76||$ 13.93||701|
|Radeon HD 4870||12,600||3,758||112,740||225||162.00||$ 19.84||696|
|Radeon HD 4850||15,100||3,136||94,080||189||136.08||$ 16.67||691|
|GeForce 9500 GT||21,700||1,911||57,330||119||85.68||$ 10.49||669|
|GeForce 8600 GT||25,300||1,639||49,170||126||90.72||$ 11.11||542|
|Radeon HD 3870||21,100||2,244||67,320||178||128.16||$ 15.70||525|
|GeForce 8500 GT||58,900||704||21,120||108||77.76||$ 9.52||272|
|Radeon HD 3450 (64-bit)||288,000||116||3,480||111||79.92||$9.79||43|
* USD 0.1224800 per kWh running 24/7.
The results were quite interesting and we will talk more about them in the Conclusions.
Now that we know a lot more what is going on with our parts, we decided to replace parts our systems. Let’s see what we did and what happened.