Hardware Setup | Power Consumption
Installation of any of the Nvidia GeForce 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 natively (converting them from a Molex Peripheral connector anno 2015 is sooo 2008).
Once done, we boot into Windows, install the latest 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 NVIDIA control panel.
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 six-core Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Sandy Bridge-E based setup on the X79 chipset platform. This setup is overclocked to 4.60 GHz on all cores. Next to that we have energy saving functions disabled for this motherboard and processor (to ensure consistent benchmark results). We'll be calculating the GPU power consumption here, not the total PC power consumption.
Measured power consumption GTX 960
- System in IDLE = 121 Watts
- System Wattage with GPU in FULL Stress = 236 Watts
- Difference (GPU load) = 115 Watts
- Add average IDLE wattage ~10 Watts
- Subjective obtained GPU power consumption = ~ 125 Watts
Measured power consumption GTX 960 2-way SLI
- System in IDLE = 123 Watts
- System Wattage with GPU in FULL Stress = 346 Watts
- Difference (GPU load) = 223 Watts
- Add average IDLE wattage ~10 Watts
- Subjective obtained GPU power consumption = ~ 233 Watts
Mind you, the system wattage is measured at the wall socket side and there are other variables like PSU power efficiency. So this is an estimated value, albeit a very good one.
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.
|Power consumption - GTX 960||TDP in KWh||KWh price||2 hrs day||4 hrs day|
|Graphics card measured TDP||0.125||0.23||0.06||0.12|
|Cost 5 days per week / 4 hrs day||€ 0.58|
|Cost per Month||€ 2.49|
|Cost per Year 5 days week / 4 hrs day / €||€ 29.90|
|Cost per Year 5 days week / 4 hrs day / $||$ 39.47|
|Power consumption - 2-Way SLI GTX 960
||TDP in KWh||KWh price||2 hrs day||4 hrs day|
|Graphics card measured TDP||0.233||0.23||0.11||0.21|
|Cost 5 days per week / 4 hrs day||€ 1.07|
|Cost per Month||€ 4.64|
|Cost per Year 5 days week / 4 hrs day / €||€ 55.73|
|Cost per Year 5 days week / 4 hrs day / $||$ 73.57|
Here is Guru3D's power supply recommendation:
- GeForce GTX 960 - On your average system the card requires you to have a 400 ~ 450 Watt power supply unit.
- GeForce GTX 960 2-Way SLI - On your average system the card requires you to have a 550~600 Watt power supply unit.
- GeForce GTX 970 or 980 - On your average system the card requires you to have a 500 Watt power supply unit.
If you are going to overclock your GPU or processor, then we do recommend you purchase something with some more stamina. We always recommend a little extra for two reasons; when you overclock the CPU and/or GPU then the power draw can go up significantly. Secondly, a PSU is most efficient at 50% of its full load. So if your load power draw is 250 Watts during gaming, then a 500 Watt power supply would be the best match in terms of efficiency versus energy savings.
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 is:
- Bad 3D performance
- Crashing games
- 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.