We have recently revamped our GPU power consumption testing. Previously we would measure the total system power draw with each graphics card installed. Given that the rest of the components did not change, this gave us an idea of the relative power consumption of each graphics card, but we could not be more specific than that.
Now, however, thanks to Cybenetics Labs and its Powenetics Project, we are able to measure the power consumption of the graphics card alone, giving much more precise and accurate data. Essentially, this works by installing sensors in the PCIe power cables, as well as the PCIe slot itself thanks to a special riser card. This data is recorded using specialist software provided by Cybenetics Labs and given it polls multiple times a second (between 6 and 8 times a second, based on my observations) we can track the power consumption in incredible detail over any given amount of time.
You can read more about the Powenetics Project over HERE.
As with previous testing, a reading under load comes from running the 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra stress test 20 times. An idle reading comes after leaving the system on the Windows desktop for 30 minutes. This stress test (20 runs) produces approximately 4300 data entries in the Powenetics software, which we can then export to an Excel file and analyse further. Here we present the average continuous power consumption of each graphics card across the entire 20 run test.
Now, this is really fascinating – our power testing shows the RTX 2080 drawing more power than the RTX 2080 Ti while running Fire Strike Ultra. As a reminder, the RTX 2080 has a TDP of 225W, whereas the RTX 2080 Ti has a TDP of 260W – so we would expect the RTX 2080 to draw 35-40W less power under load. But it simply did not work out that way in our testing.
We have reached out to Nvidia about this, but at the time of publication no clear solution/explanation has been found by either party.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Power Testing
We did delve further, and perhaps wondered if 3DMark was to blame – although all the other results are as expected, so we couldn’t see why that would be. Still, we wanted to try something else, so the figures you can see above are from running the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark at 4K, with the Highest IQ preset.
Here, we do see the RTX 2080 drawing less power – but it is again higher than we would have expected. If any readers have ideas to why this might be, please leave them below or over on Facebook – we would love to hear your opinions on this.
In any case, I don’t think the power consumption is anything to worry about – 260-270W is a fair amount for a single graphics card to draw, but when you’re spending this much money the extra electricity cost is unlikely to bother you. Certainly, I am not worried that anything is wrong with our RTX 2080 sample.