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GeForce GTX 460 1GB Power Consumption and Thermals

Power Consumption (Idle and Gaming)

Putting realistic, repeatable load on a GPU to get a decent idea of its real world power consumption and thermal output has long been something we've experimented here at bit-tech. We've found that synthetic benchmarks such as FurMark thrash the GPU constantly, which simply isn't reflective of how GPU will be used when gaming.

It's such a hardcore test that any GPU under test is almost guaranteed to hit its thermal limit, the mark at which the card's firmware will kick in, speeding up the fan to keep the GPU within safe temperature limits. Conversely, simply leaving a game like Crysis running at a certain point also isn't reflective of real world use. There's no guarantee that the GPU is being pushed as hard as other titles might do, and the load will vary from play through to play through.

Eventually then, we've decided to use 3DMark06's Canyon Flight test as a real world representative, repeatable graphics test. It's a ferociously demanding test, pushing graphics cards to their limit, but also containing peaks and troughs in performance that match real world game play.

As the test is so demanding and GPU limited, we've set 3DMark to run the test at 1,280 x 1,024 with 0xAA and 16xAF (enabled in the driver), constantly looping the test for thirty minutes and recording the maximum power consumption and GPU Delta T (the difference between the temperature of the GPU and the ambient temperature in our labs).

Power Consumption (idle)

Windows 7 Desktop (Aero enabled) Idle Power Usage

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • Zotac Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 5830 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 465 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 1.3GB
  • 136
  • 137
  • 138
  • 140
  • 142
  • 154
  • 160
0
25
50
75
100
125
150
175
Watts at socket

Power Consumption (load)

3DMark06 Canyon Flight test, 1,280 x 1,024 0xAA 16xAF, Load Power Usage

  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 5830 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • Zotac Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 465 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 1.3GB
  • 224
  • 237
  • 246
  • 248
  • 270
  • 305
  • 341
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
Watts at socket

Thermal Performance


Heat (idle)

Windows 7 Desktop (Aero Enabled)

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • Zotac Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 5830 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 465 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 1.3GB
  • 9
  • 10
  • 13
  • 15
  • 22
  • 24
  • 25
0
5
10
15
20
25
Delta T in °C

Heat (peak)

3DMark06 Canyon Flight test, 1,280 x 1,024 0xAA 16xAF, Peak Temperature

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • Zotac Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 5830 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 465 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 1.3GB
  • 33
  • 46
  • 49
  • 53
  • 53
  • 56
  • 72
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Delta T in °C

Note: we tested the Zotac GeForce GTX 460 1GB card to obtain these numbers as it was the first GTX 460 1GB card to arrive. It uses a non-standard cooler, so isn't representative of every GTX 460 1GB card. Manufacturers didn't have reference samples of GTX 460 1GB cards to send us, and Nvidia couldn't supply us with a reference card either.

Read our Performance Analysis