Have just $100 to splurge on a new graphics card? Is having low power consumption and low temperatures important to you? If so, the HD 4770 certainly deserves your attention. This budget card handled each one of our games at 1920×1080 just fine, overclocks like a dream and has power and temp numbers worth drooling over.
To test our graphics cards for both temperatures and power consumption, we utilize OCCT for the stress-testing, GPU-Z for the temperature monitoring, and a Kill-a-Watt for power monitoring. The Kill-a-Watt is plugged into its own socket, with only the PC connect to it.
As per our guidelines when benchmarking with Windows, when the room temperature is stable (and reasonable), the test machine is boot up and left to sit at the Windows desktop until things are completely idle. Once things are good to go, the idle wattage is noted, GPU-Z is started up to begin monitoring card temperatures, and OCCT is set up to begin stress-testing.
To push the cards we test to their absolute limit, we use OCCT in full-screen 2560×1600 mode, and allow it to run for 30 minutes, which includes a one minute lull at the start, and a three minute lull at the end. After about 10 minutes, we begin to monitor our Kill-a-Watt to record the max wattage.
The Radeon HD 4770 may not be the fastest card out there, but it sure shines where temperatures and power consumption is concerned. It simply cannot be beaten here, and as a result, this card is ideal for HTPC use, as it would allow killer gameplay but not overheat in a confined enclosure.