The Test and Power

For our test setup, we are using two different 2x x16 ASUS boards: one based on NVIDIA and the other ATI core logic. For all tests with NVIDIA GPUs we used the NVIDIA motherboard, and for all tests with ATI GPUs we employed the ATI based motherboard. All power tests were performed using the same motherboard (the RD580 board).

In an attempt to keep everything readable and manageable, we have split up the high end and mid range comparisons. Our high end parts will be compared at 1280x1024, 1600x1200, 1920x1440, and 2048x1536. The mid range comparison will look at 1024x768, 1280x1024, and 1600x1200. All SLI and CrossFire tests will be included with the high end data.

Test Setup:
ASUS A8N32 NVIDIA nForce 4 X16 SLI Motherboard
ASUS A8R32 ATI RD580 Motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 FX-57
2GB OCZ 2.5:3:3:8 DDR400 RAM
160GB Seagate 7200.7 Hard Drive
600W OCZ PowerStream PSU

Drivers:
NVIDIA ForceWare 84.17 (Beta)
ATI Catalyst 6.2

For power consumption, we once again take a look at the power draw of the system at the wall using our trusty Kill-A-Watt. Power load was measured while running the 3dmark06 feature tests as they tend to provide something near a worst case power load. What we see in games is usually a handful of watts lower than this. For idle power, we don't see that much difference between the high end cards, and the 7900 GT is similar in power to the 6800 GS. The 7600 GT seems to be on par with the X1600 XT for idle power.

Idle Power

When it comes to load, the new NVIDIA parts simply clean up. The performance per watt leader in this contest is hands down NVIDIA. The 7600 GT and 7900 GT both come in at a lower power than the 6800 GS and the 7900 GTX pulls the same wattage as the much lower clocked 7800 GTX.

Load Power

The Competition 7900 GT: Just Another 7800 GTX?
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  • Regs - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    I can agree with that. SLI is clearly still a segregated part of the market.

    It's welcome...but...segregated.
    Reply
  • Ozenmacher - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    Yes, good point. Or atleast use a different color or formatted bar so it is easy to distingush on another. Reply
  • smitty3268 - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    Yes, that is the by far the biggest complaint I have about recent AT GPU reviews. Please, please put SLI/CF tests in a seperate graph from single card tests. Reply
  • Zoomer - Monday, March 13, 2006 - link

    Ditto. SLI is really a retarded marketing move and I hate nVidia for starting this.

    Look at all the recent mobo designs. Due to some weird fascination for SLI, almost all of them have weird slot designs with few PCI slots.
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, March 10, 2006 - link

    I agree too, SLI/Crossfire results should be in a seperate graph. Reply
  • JNo - Monday, March 13, 2006 - link

    Me too Reply
  • Ozenmacher - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    Oh, is there anyway you can allow post editing so I can change my bone-headed spelling errors ^^ Reply
  • frostyrox - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    Derek, all these new cards say on the box "Built for Windows Vista", but i don't see anywhere that they support HDCP (High Bandwidth Content Protection). If i'm not mistaken HD-DVD and Blu-ray are going to be upon us soon, and they both will require hdcp compliant components, specifically your monitor and videocard. Seeing as these cards just came out and theyre boasting of Windows Vista compliance, could u possibly ellaborate on this for me. I seen to be missing something, thanks. Reply
  • Zoomer - Monday, March 13, 2006 - link

    Vista doesn't require HDCP. These cards, and many previous cards, will work just fine with vista.

    Only playing HD content with stock windows, stock everything, etc will require HDCP.
    Reply
  • Phantronius - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    I see no reason to part with my 7800GTX OC 256meg from BFG just yet Reply

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