For testing power consumption we took our test system and plugged it into a Seasonic Power Angel. For idle numbers we allowed the system to idle on the desktop for 5 minutes and took the reading. For load numbers we measured the peak wattage used by the system while running through 3DMark 2006.
Using default core and memory clocks of 550MHz and 700MHz (1.4GHz effective data rate) respectively, the GeForce 7950 GT includes a 512MB frame buffer (256- bit GDDR3 memory interface), 8 vertex shaders, 24 pixel pipelines (each of which includes a dedicated texture unit and 2 pixel shader processors), and 16 ROPs, consuming a max of 82W of power based on the suggested settings by NVIDIA. Our XFX GeForce 7950 GT Extreme 570M comes factory overclocked 20MHz on the core and 30MHz on the memory, but also comes without a power hungry fan. XFX GeForce 7950 GT Extreme 570M is very impressive in that it consumes very little power compared to the X1900 cards that it competes against. The total system power consumption is only 198 Watts under full load, which is a far cry from the 280 Watts of the X1900 XTX by ATI.
From our testing we’ve seen that the 7950 GT competes very well with the X1900XT 256MB. The X1900XT 256 is ever so slightly faster in most of the tests which makes this a tough decision but it’s hard to say that anyone could tell a difference between the two in most situations. The problem is that the 7950 GT is entering the market at a slightly higher price than the X1900XT 256MB. Sure $20 isn’t a huge difference, but when you’re talking about $300 most sane folks are looking to get the best value for their dollar.
For some the fact that there is an option for a silent high end card more than makes up any price difference, especially when you’re talking about the incredibly loud start up fan speed of the ATI X1900 series. The cooling provided on this card kept things in check, with no airflow at all idle temps were 58c and load getting to around 70c. In contrast the X1900XT with the louder air cooler runs nearly identical temperatures! With a near silent 120mm fan blowing on our 7950 GT we never saw temps get above 51c under load.
Power consumption is no contest, the 7950 GT was tested to be 53w lower than 1900XT 256MB which is 53w less heat being put out of your computer case and less electricity being used.
512MB video cards are no doubt the way the market is heading. As we’ve pointed out in various reviewsvideo cards that have 256MB start to lose performance as resolutions get higher. Games are becoming more and more dependent on a larger memory footprint with ever increasing detail and low compression textures.
When all is said and done we have to give the nod to the XFX 7950 GT. With two cards performing similarly it has to come down to creature comforts and having a truly silent card is hard to put a price on. Had ATI included the cooler from the X1950 on the just released X1900 XT 256MB video card the result would likely be reversed. If you can live with a little noise the X1900XT 256 may be the better buy with a lower price and very slight performance advantage. As it stands the the XFX 7950 GT offers a much preferred cooling solution, similar performance, and lower power usage all at a slight price premium.
When XFX designed the GeForce 7950 GT 570M Extreme they took the NVIDIA reference design and overclocked it just a bit, which is nothing new to the graphics card industry. XFX then went against the flow and used a passive cooling solution on the overclocked card! The end result was music to our ears. The 570M Extreme is a truly silent graphics card that can play all the latest game titles without the
hum roar of a fan. Even though the card is overclocked we found it to consume less energy than other cards in its class and it passed the ‘light test’ as our ceiling lights didn’t dim when the card was being used under full load.
Legit Bottom Line: The XFX 7950 GT Extreme offers stellar performance, 512MB of memory, and features of the flagship 7900 GTX in a single slot solution that is completely silent, a package the competition can’t match.