Graphics cards are some of the most power consuming components we have today. It’s not that easy to measure it though and the specified numbers may often differ from reality. BeHardware took it upon itself to test this and it has done an amazing job trying out no less than 73 different graphics cards, not just models, but also circuits.
The results show multiple interesting trends. First of all the maximal power consumption of a graphics card hasn’t increased that much during the last few years. The companies are trying to get the most performance at a given power consumption , but at the same time the power consumption when idle and light load is a lot lower with the latest generation of graphics cards where the Radeon HD 5000s series really excels, while GeForce GTX 480 wasn’t represented in the test.
One example is Radeon HD 5870 that in 2D consumes the same as GeForce 9500 GT, or that Radeon HD 5970 idles at the same level as GeForce GTS 250.