Installation of the product is really easy. Once the card is installed and seated into the PC we connect the two 6-pin a power connectors to the graphics card.
Please do make sure your power supply is compatible:
GeForce GTX 465 needs two 6-pin PEG connectors
GeForce GTX 470 needs two 6-pin PEG connectors
GeForce GTX 480 needs one 6-pin PEG and one 8-pin PEG connector
Preferably the PEG headers come directly from the power supply and are not converted from the Molex peripheral PEG connectors. You can now turn on your PC, boot into Windows, install the latest NVIDIA Forceware driver and after a reboot, all should be working. No further configuration is required or needed.
Let's have a look at how much power draw we measure with this graphics card installed.
The methodology: We have a device constantly monitoring the power draw from the PC. We simply stress the GPU, not the processor. The before and after wattage will tell us roughly how much power a graphics card is consuming under load.
Our test system is based on a power hungry Core i7 965 / X58 based. This setup is overclocked to 3.75 GHz. Next to that we have energy saving functions disabled for this motherboard and processor (to ensure consistent benchmark results). On average we are using roughly 50 to 100 Watts more than a standard PC due to higher CPU clock settings, water-cooling, additional cold cathode lights etc.
Keep that in mind. Our normal system power consumption is higher than your average system.
GeForce GTX 470 SOC edition
Advertised GeForce GTX 470 TDP = 215W
System in IDLE = 187W
System Wattage with GPU in FULL Stress = 400W
Difference (GPU load) = 185 W
Add average IDLE wattage ~ 25W
Subjective obtained GPU power consumption = ~ 210 Watt
Mind you that the System Wattage is measured from the wall socket and is for the entire PC. Below a chart of measured Wattages per card.
Above a generic chart of some measurements we made. Interestingly enough Gigabyte's custom design shaved off a few Watts in power consumption. it remains a relatively high number though,
Power Consumption Cost Analysis
Based on the Wattage we can now check how much a card like today will cost you per year adn per month. We charge 0,23 EUR cent (or dollar) per KWh, which is the norm here in the Netherlands.
TDP in KWh
2 hrs day
4 hrs day
Graphics card measured TDP
Cost 5 days per week / 4 hrs day
Cost per Month
Cost per Year 5 days week / 4 hrs day
We estimate and assume here that you play games intensively four hours per day 5 days a week with this card.
Bare in mind that the KWh price in the Netherlands is very expensive ar 0,23 Cents per KWh, so we deliberately pick an expensive country. To get you an idea of overall EU KWh prices:
Average amount in euro per one kilowatt-hour of electricity for domestic consumers. Incl. energy taxes & VAT.
Recommended Power Supply
Here is Guru3D's power supply recommendation:
GeForce GTX 470
On your average system the card requires you to have a 550~600 Watt power supply unit.
GeForce GTX 470 in SLI
A second card requires you to add another ~200 Watts. You need a 700 Watt power supply unit.
For each extra card (3-way SLI) that you add, just add another 200 Watts as a safety margin.
There are many good PSUs out there, please do have a look at our many PSU reviews as we have loads of recommended PSUs for you to check out in there. What would happen if your PSU can't cope with the load?:
bad 3D performance
spontaneous reset or imminent shutdown of the PC
freezing during gameplay
PSU overload can cause it to break down
The graphics card cooler performance examined
Let's have a look at the temperatures the reference based custom cooler offers.
We now fire off a hefty shader application at the GPU and start monitoring temperature behavior as it would be when you are gaming intensely and continuously, we literally stress the GPUs 100% here, as you can see in the graph.
Above, an overview of peak / maximum measured temperatures in comparison with other cards. These temperatures with your average game will typically be lower.
We measured at a room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. The product runs at roughly 83 degrees C (maximum). IDLE temps where hovering at roughly 38 Degrees C. Overall decent results, especially compared to the reference cooler.
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 bought 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 an imprecise 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. Frequencies below 1kHz and above 6kHz are attenuated, whereas frequencies between 1kHz and 6kHz are amplified by the A weighting.
TYPICAL SOUND LEVELS
Jet takeoff (200 feet)
Shout (5 feet)
Heavy truck (50 feet)
Normal conversation (3 feet)
Bedroom at night
For each dBA test we close the PC/chassis and move the dBA gun 75 cm away from the PC. Roughly the same proximity you'll have a PC in a real-world situation.
We measure an excellent 39 DBa when the GPU is massively under stress. Under normal circumstances this means you cannot hear the cooler. We were shocked to find out how silent this card really is, truly amazing.
If your PC is in IDLE or you are working in desktop mode then DBa levels drop back to 36~37 Dba, a noise level you will not be able to hear whatsoever either (of course).
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