To test graphics cards for both their power consumption and temperature at load, we utilize a couple of different tools. On the hardware side, we use a trusty Kill-a-Watt power monitor which our GPU testing machine plugs directly into. For software, we use Futuremark’s 3DMark 11 to stress-test the card, and techPowerUp’s GPU-Z to monitor and record the temperatures.
To test, the general area around the chassis is checked with a temperature gun, with the average temperature recorded (and thus noted in brackets next to the card name in the first graph below). Once that’s established, the PC is turned on and left to site idle for five minutes. At this point, GPU-Z is opened along with 3DMark 11. We then kick-off an Extreme run of 3DMark and immediately begin monitoring the Kill-a-Watt for the peak wattage reached. We only monitor the Kill-a-Watt during the first two tests, as we found that’s where the peak is always attained.
Despite GIGABYTE’s GTX 650 Ti being an overclocked offering, its open-air cooler allowed it to run cooler than AMD’s Radeon HD 7770 – which, to be fair, uses a reference cooler. Things change when we look at power consumption. There, the GTX 650 Ti soars past the HD 7770. Again, we see fair scaling here since the GTX 650 Ti is in fact quite a bit faster, but it’s something to bear in mind if you like to keep on top of power-efficient parts (as a general rule, overclocked parts = bad for “green” goals).