Our data acquisition system for graphics cards power consumption testing now runs at a higher sample rate, and automation capabilities have been expanded. With 40 samples per second, we're now collecting data much faster than before, four times as fast as NVIDIA's PCAT. Every single data point is recorded digitally—previously, we could only get averages and peaks.
All power consumption numbers reported on this page are "card only" values measured via the PCI-Express power connector(s) and PCI-Express bus slot. Everything is measured on the DC side, it's not the power consumption of the whole system. We conduct a physical measurement using professional lab equipment, the values are not software sensor readings, which are much less accurate.
Idle: Windows 10 sitting at the desktop (2560x1440) with all windows closed and drivers installed. The card is left to warm up in idle mode until power draw is stable.
Multi-monitor: Two monitors are connected to the tested card, and both use different display timings. One monitor runs 2560x1440 over DisplayPort, and the other monitor runs 1920x1080 over HDMI. The refresh rate is set to 60 Hz for both screens. Windows 10 is sitting at the desktop with all windows closed and drivers installed. The card is left to warm up in idle mode until power draw is stable. When using two identical monitors with the same timings and resolution, power consumption can be lower. When using high refresh rate monitors, power consumption can be higher than in this test.
Video Playback: We use VLC Media Player to watch a 4K 30 FPS video that's encoded with H.264 AVC at 64 Mbps bitrate, making it similar enough to many streaming services without adding a dependency on internet bandwidth. This codec has GPU-accelerated decoding on every modern GPU, so it not only tests GPU power management, but also efficiency of the video decoding hardware.
Gaming: Cyberpunk 2077 is running at 2560x1440 with Ultra settings and ray tracing disabled. We ensure the card is heated up properly, which ensures a steady-state result instead of short-term numbers that won't hold up in long-term usage.
Maximum: We use Furmark's Stability Test at 1920x1080, which results in very high no-game power consumption that can typically only be reached with stress-testing applications. All modern graphics cards have power limits, which are tested in this scenario. Our high-speed test equipment is able to capture power spikes that occur very quickly, before the power limiter on the graphics card can react.
V-Sync: If you don't need the highest framerate and want to conserve power, running at 60 FPS is a good option. In this test, we run Cyberpunk 2077 at 1920x1080, capped to 60 FPS. This test is also useful in testing a graphic card's ability to react to situations with only low power requirements. For graphics card that can't reach 60 FPS at 1080p, we report the power draw at the highest achievable frame rate.
Spikes: During all previous tests, we recorded the power draw and found the highest single reading, which is reported in this "Power Spikes" test. It provides additional insight into power supply requirements because large spikes can trigger various protections on some cheaper power supplies. A symptom of this is when your PC suddenly turns off when a game is starting, or during gameplay.