Review: Sparkle Calibre P790+ 512 MB SLI -
Power Supply - Watt Did You Say?
Power consumption then. The 7900GT requires a stable 12-volt power source for best performance, reliability and most of all that gaming experience of yours. We've tested a lot of PSU's lately, be sure to read though a couple of reviews.
For a GeForce 7900 GT or GTX graphics card, NVIDIA recommends a 350-400 watt power supply with 22-26 ampere on the 12 volts rails. NVIDIA is recommending nothing too over-the-top in terms of wattage for the power supply unit, yet be aware as that's a lot of Ampage on the 12 volts rails. What we always do with new graphics' cards is we measure the wattage peak with the help of a wattage meter. Slight side note, you are looking at the overall usage of the entire PC.
The meter is placed between the power connector and the PSU. You basically look at how much power is the power circuit in your house pulling from the PSU, so you need to look at the results as being an indication and not an exact science.
Let's have a look at consumption:
Now the table is empty as we moved on towards the more energy efficient Core 2 Duo E6700 processor !
We simply look at the peak Wattage during a 3DMark05 session to verify power consumption. You are not looking at the power consumption of the graphics card, but of the entire PC.
An example of how we measure.
So indeed, you need 350w at the least as you want some spare wattage and 420 Watts or better is definitely recommended. When you buy a new PSU you should look at the packaging and check the 12 volt rail's amperage, it should be 22 AMPS minimal (for the total number of +12 volts rails).
If in a later stage or immediately you decide to go for SLI then we need to redo the math. For two 7900 GT's the 420 Watts PSU could still be sufficient. But for the 7900 GT SLI I really recommend a 520 Watt SLI-Ready PSU, preferably with dual 12 volts rails.There are some good SLI certified PSU's out there, again have a look at our PSU reviews.
What would happen if your PSU can't cope with the load?:
- bad 3D performance
- crashing games
- spontaneous resetting PC
- freezes during gameplay
- PSU overload can cause it to break down
So many things can happen.
Dangerous Liaisons - temperatures of the graphics card
The Calibre series does not have reference coolers as specified by NVIDIA and well .. I'm happy. These coolers are working really well. Let's have a look at the temperatures these design coolers produce. We measured at a room temperature of 23 Degrees C.
A maximum a 63 Degrees C peak temperature was monitored at the 7900 GT. This is on par and even a little lower compared to the reference cooler with the one difference, this one looks cooler and you can hardly hear it.Noise Levels coming from the graphics card
When graphics cards produce a lot of heat usually that heat needs to be transported away from the hot core as fast as possible. Often you'll see massive active fan solutions that can indeed get rid of the heat, yet all the fans these days make the PC a noisy son of a gun. I'm doing a little try out today with noise monitoring, so basically the test we do is extremely subjective. We bough a certified dBA meter and will start measuring how many dBA originate from the PC. Why is this subjective you ask? Well, there is always noise in the background, from the streets, from the HD, PSU fan etc etc, so this is by a mile or two not a precise measurement. You could only achieve objective measurement in a sound test chamber.
The human hearing system has different sensitivities at different frequencies. This means that the perception of noise is not at all equal at every frequency. Noise with significant measured levels (in dB) at high or low frequencies will not be as annoying as it would be when its energy is concentrated in the middle frequencies. In other words, the measured noise levels in dB will not reflect the actual human perception of the loudness of the noise. That's why we measure the dBa level. A specific circuit is added to the sound level meter to correct its reading in regard to this concept. This reading is the noise level in dBA. The letter A is added to indicate the correction that was made in the measurement.
We startup a benchmark, we take the dBA meter, move away 75 CM and then aim the device at the active fan on the graphics card.
We measure roughly 41 dBa on the product, which is to be considered a Quiet noise level coming from the PC. Again, this is a very subjective test. I do think that the reference coolers are a tad too noisy so this cooler I simply love.
It's not often we publish reviews on storage devices but a while ago Vantec contacted us with the question if we wanted to review their latest NAS device. I had a peek, it looked sexy, ease of use and good connectivity. Suffice to say that today we'll be having a look at the NexStarLS where you can insert a Parallel HD into a little white or black box and then majestically transform it into a Network Storage Device, so that no matter where you are, you can always access your data as it's quite a portable device and so easy to use.
Review: BFG GeForce 7600 GT & 7900 GT OC
BFG manufactures the GeForce 7600 GT and 7900 GT but as trendy as it is ... they brand it as a special "OC" version. These are the pre-clocked (at default higher clocked then the reference cards from NVIDIA) on both the memory and graphics processor. So today we are looking at the BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC and also their GeForce 7900 GT OC. Both cards come with 256 MB memory and both cards produce a stack load of performance for your well spent bucks.
Review: Sparkle Calibre P790+ 512 MB SLI
Sparkle has their usual line of cards and then their Calibre line of cards as well. Much like other companies the Calibre series is slightly more expensive yet you'll receive some pretty nifty extra candy. In the case of the GeForce 7900 GT they are offering a 790 and 790+ model of this videocard and we'll be looking at that P790+ model.
Review: Core 2 Duo E6600, E6700 & X6800
Today we'll be taking some new Intel processors for a test-drive. Intel is smiling .. really really smiling ! They have achieved something really good for the processor market. The Pentium 4 brand is being ditched and Core 2 Duo has recently been introduced. Specifically the Core 2 Duo processors with the "Conroe" processor core really hit the market aggressively. They are energy friendly and offer a stack load of performance and if that isn't enough .. you can buy them relatively cheaply.