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Power Consumption

Part 1: Building A Balanced Gaming PC
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Power Consumption

Rather than our typical idle and Prime95/Furmark load consumption data, for this story, we decided that the single most important number would be the max consumption seen while gaming. The highest consumption recorded was seen in GTA IV, but because the Radeon HD 4850 could not run this test, we used the close runner-up Crysis. 

The GeForce GTX 260 doesn’t consume too many more watts than the Radeon HD 4850, while generally offering a significant boost in performance. Considering the impressive results seen when paired with an efficient dual-core CPU, the Radeon HD 4890 also stands out in this category. 

Big performance does come at the expense of big power consumption and heat. The GeForce GTX 295 consumes less wattage than the Radeon HD 4870 X2, but often requires a more powerful (and power-consuming) CPU to shine in performance tests. Core i7-920/GeForce GTX 295 consumed exactly the same as Core 2 Quad Q9550/Radeon HD 4870 X2, while offering a higher level of performance--offset, of course, by a greater initial purchase price.

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