Though SLI is real fun and a very fast way to quickly get more performance, it also effectively ads more 'load' on your power bill. Each GeForce GTX 280 can consume up-to 237 Watts per card when 100% stressed.
Typically this number is lower as your GPU in a lot of situation will not reach that TPD (wattage peak). On average we expect a 150-200 Watt power draw during gaming, per card.
We'll now show you a tests we have done on overall power consumption of the PC. Looking at it from a performance versus wattage point of view.
The methodology is simple: We have a device constantly monitoring the power draw from the PC. After we have run all our tests and benchmarks we look at the recorded maximum peak; and that's the bulls-eye you need to observe as the power peak is extremely important. Bare in mind that you are not looking at the power consumption of the graphics card, but the consumption of the entire PC.
Our test system contains a Core 2 Duo X6800 Extreme Processor, the nForce 680i mainboard, a passive water-cooling solution on the CPU, DVD-rom and a WD Raptor drive. The results:
PC in Idle = 197 Watt
PC 100% usage (wattage gaming Peak) = 530 Watt (SLI)
The monitoring device is reporting a maximum system wattage peak at 530 Watts with SLI and a very scary 750 Watts with three-way (triple) SLI.
Back to 'regular' SLI, while that's truly a lot. But I remember doing my first GeForce 8800 Ultra test and we where roughly at that same power consumption. So here we have a PC that is much faster, yet consumes roughly the same amount of current. Energy efficiency wise that definitely is good progress.
With that in mind .. let's start some games and see how well they perform.
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