Power Consumption, Temperatures and Overclocking
Video Card Power Consumption
For power consumption tests, Benchmark Reviews utilizes an 80-Plus Gold rated Corsair HX750w (model: CMPSU-750HX). Thishas been tested to provide over 90% typical efficiency by Ecos Plug Load Solutions. To measure isolated video card power consumption, I used the energenie ENER007 power meter made by Sandal Plc (UK).
A baseline test is taken without a video card installed inside our test computer system, which is allowed to boot into Windows-7 and rest idle at the desktop before power consumption is recorded. Once the baseline reading has been taken, theis installed and the system is again booted into Windows and left idle at the desktop. Our final loaded power consumption reading is taken with the video card running a stress test using FurMark. Below is a table with the isolated video card power consumption (not system total) displayed in Watts for each specified test product. The HIS R9 290 iPower IceQ X2 OC 4GB requires 2x 8-pin power connectors from your PSU, so you will want to power it with a reliable power supply. The power consumption results discussed below are absolute maximum values, and not representative of real-world performance.
|Power State||Power Consumption (watts)|
|Idle Desktop (no video card)||42w|
|Idle Desktop||27w (69-42)|
|FurMark Load (extreme burn-in)||242w (284-42)|
|Overclocked FurMark Load||268w (310-45)|
Video Card Temperatures
Benchmark tests are always nice, so long as you care about comparing one product to another. But when you’re an overclocker, gamer, or merely a PC hardware enthusiast who likes to tweak things on occasion, there’s no substitute for good information. Benchmark Reviews has a very popular guide written on Overclocking Video Cards, which gives detailed instruction on how to tweak afor better performance. Of course, not every video card has overclocking head room. Some products run so hot that they can’t suffer any higher temperatures than they already do. This is why we measure the operating temperature of the video card products we test.
To begin my testing, I use GPU-Z to measure the temperature at idle as reported by the GPU. Next I use FurMark’s “Burn In test” (with extreme burn-in enabled) to generate maximum thermal load and record GPU temperatures at high-power 3D mode. The ambient room temperature is also measured throughout testing. FurMark does two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor higher than applications of video games realistically could, and it does so with consistency every time. Furmark works great for testing the stability of a GPU as the temperature rises to the highest possible output. The load temperatures discussed below are absolute maximum values, and not representative of real-world performance.
Ambient temperature 24.5°C
|Fan Speed||Temperature °C||Noise level /10|
Before I start overclocking I like to get a little bit of information. Firstly I like to establish operating temperatures, and since we know these are nice and the IceQ X2 VGA cooler is very capable we can quickly move on. Next I like to know what the voltage and clock limits are, so I fired up the HIS iTurbo overclocking utility. I wasn’t able to adjust the vCore and mCore voltages in iTurbo or with MSI Afterburner but I was able to adjust the board power limit pecentage slider (for an extra 50%). Clock speeds were adjustable far beyond the speeds I managed to overclock to.
I was able to push the GPU to 1075MHz (+080MHz) and the memory to 1350MHz (+100MHz – 5.4GHz effective) which required very little effort at all. I am positively impressed by the capabilities of the HIS Radeon R9 290 IceQ X2 OC 4GB video card since it already has a decent overclock right out of the box. I did manage to raise the core and memory clocks higher but it was only at the speeds detailed above that it could pass through every benchmark without artifacts.
Overclocked speeds vs Stock speeds – Results
|Test Item||Standard GPU/RAM||Overclocked GPU/RAM||Improvement|
|HIS R9 290 IceQ X2 4GB||967/1250 MHz||1075/1350 MHz||108/100 MHz|
|DX11: 3dMark11 GT1||59.60||70.82||11.22 FPS (18.82%)|
|DX11: 3dMark11 GT2||66.49||79.02||12.53 FPS (18.84%)|
|DX11: 3dMark11 GT3||82.20||97.49||15.29 FPS (18.60%)|
|DX11: 3dMark11 GT4||41.24||47.87||6.63 FPS (16.077%)|
|DX11: Aliens vs Predator||80.26||88.47||8.21 FPS (10.22%)|
|DX11: Lost Planet 2||79.10||82.61||3.51 FPS (3.45%)|
|DX11: Unigine Heaven 4||40.11||44.04||3.93 FPS (9.79%)|
|DX11: Battlefield 3||82.90||86.77||3.87 FPS (4.66%)|
|DX11: Metro 2033||74.81||80.79||5.98 FPS (7.99%)|
|DX11: Project CARS (Alpha 577)||62.24||62.65||5.95 FPS (9.55%)|
Armed with a 108MHz GPU core overclock and a 100MHz memory overclock, we went back to the bench and ran through the entire test suite. Overall we saw an average 11.9% increase in scores (at 1920×1080 resolution), with performance on par with 1680×1050 scores, and a 18% increase in the 3DMark11 scores. This is impressive considering the card is factory overclocked already.
That’s all of the testing over, in the next section I will deliver my final thoughts and conclusion.