Installation of any of the AMD Radeon cards is really easy. Once the card is seated into the PC make sure you hook up the monitor and of course any external power connectors like 6 and/or 8-pin PEG power connectors. Preferably get yourself a power supply that has these PCIe PEG connectors native (converting them from a Molex Peripheral connector anno 2012 we feel is a no-go).
Once done, we boot into Windows, install the latest ATI Catalyst drivers and after a reboot all should be working. No further configuration is required or needed unless you like to tweak the settings, for which you can open the Catalyst Control Center.
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.
Note: there has been a lot of discussion about using FurMark as a stress test to measure power load. Furmark is quite malicious on the GPU up-to the point that it does not represent an objective power draw compared to really hefty gaming. If we take a very-harsh-on-the-GPU gaming title, then measure power consumption and then compare the very same system with Furmark, the power consumption can be 50 to 100W higher on a high-end graphics card solely because of FurMark.
We decided to move away from Furmark in early 2011 and are now using a game like application which stresses the GPU 100% yet is much more representable of power consumption and heat levels coming from the GPU. However we are not disclosing what application that is as we do not want AMD/ATI/NVIDIA to "optimize & monitor" our stress test whatsoever, for objective reasons of course.
Our test system is based on a power hungry Core i7 965 / X58 system. 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.
We'll be calculating the GPU power consumption here, not the total PC power consumption.
Measured power consumption
System in IDLE = 163W
System Wattage with GPU in FULL Stress = 301W
Difference (GPU load) = 138W
Add average IDLE wattage ~3W
Subjective obtained GPU power consumption during gaming = ~ 141 Watts
Mind you that the system wattage is measured at the wall socket.
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 /
Cost per Year 5 days week / 4 hrs day / $
We estimate and calculate here based on four hours of GPU intensive gaming per day for 5 days a week with this card.
Above, a chart of relative power consumption. Again the Wattage shown is the card with the GPU(s) stressed 100%, showing only the peak GPU power draw, not the power consumption of the entire PC and not the average gaming power consumption.
Here is Guru3D's power supply recommendation:
Radeon HD 7950 - On your average system the card requires you to have a 500 Watt power supply unit.
Radeon HD 7950 Crossfire - On your average system the cards require you to have a 700 Watt power supply unit as minimum.
If you are going to overclock the GPU or processor, then we do recommend you purchase something with some more stamina.
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 could 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
Let's move to the next page where we'll look into GPU heat levels and noise levels coming from this graphics card.
PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ 8GB review We review the PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ 8GB edition. The card's equipped with that renamed Hawaii Pro GPU, now called Grenada. It comes fitted with a massive triple slot air cooler keeping thi...
PowerColor Radeon R9-285 TurboDuo review In this review we look at the new PowerColor Radeon R9-285 TurboDuo. Armed with an ultra silent cooler this Tonga GPU based product bring you high-end gaming at a price of 249 USD - With 2GB of graphics memory ...
PowerColor Devil 13 Dual GPU R9 290X Review Join us in a very dark review of the fastest graphics card on the planet. It's hotter than hell, demonic and hinted as a disciple of the Devil himself, yes as we review the PowerColor Radeon R9 295x2...
PowerColor Radeon R9-290X PCS+ review PowerColor Radeon R9-290X PCS+ review - this beast runs at low temperatures whilst being factory overclocked. The 2816 Stream processor based Hawaii chip will get paired with 4 GB...