NVIDIA might have hoped for otherwise, but even after the GTX 480′s launch, AMD’s Radeon HD 5870 still proves to be an excellent choice for the price-point. We’re taking a look at PowerColor’s PCS+ version here, which includes a robust cooler, quieter operation, a slight overclock, and a complete copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
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.
Please note that both the reference card listed above and the one highlighted are the same card (we ran into an issue with our real reference card), so the temperates aren’t as important as we’d like them to be. However, you can see the difference in temperature compare to say the HD 5850. The PCS+ is quite a bit faster, but barely any hotter.
Can the HD 5870, being a much faster card than the GTX 275, draw less power? The proof is in the pudding!