Part 2: Building A Balanced Gaming PC

Power Consumption

Power Consumption

Rather than our typical idle and Prime95/FurMark load consumption data, for this series, we decided that the single most important number would be the maximum consumption seen while gaming. The highest power consumption recorded was seen in GTA IV, but because the Radeon HD 4850 could not run this test due to its 512MB frame buffer, we used the close runner-up Crysis. 

Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice here is the Phenom II X2 550 BE consistently consumed more power than the Phenom II X3 720 BE while gaming. This trend was true throughout all the benchmarks, and not just in 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. 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.

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  • Silvune
    I'd definitely be interested to see how the new Radeon cards would fit into these charts.
  • redkachina
    Looks like its still relevant for me to keep my Phenom 720, not much of a difference compared to 955..better spend more money on graphics..
  • bagpussroxx
    Confirms what i already knew about my Phenom II 550 and 4850 rig....

    My Cpu has ALOT more to give if i just upgraded the 4850, and thats just in dual core mode, my CPU will unlock to a Triple or Quad core, but the benefits of doing so with a 4850 are limited in most games.

    Think i'll wait and upgrade my 4850 before running my 550 as a quad.....may as well take the savings on heat and running costs whilst im so GPU limited.
  • Lewis57
    It would be interesting to see how the 5870 does compared. I'd be interested it building a Phenom II with a 5850 or 5870 if the funds are there.
  • bamj6
    I have a Q9550S but all the cards on there are better than my 9600 GT

    Thing is I want it to stay as a single slot as my mobo is my recently built matx.