Product: nVidia GTX260 and GTX280
Company: nVIDIA
Authour: ChrisRay
Editor: Charles 'Lupine' Oliver
Date: June 16th, 2008
GT200 Power Requirements and Power Saving

The GTX280 requires 1ea 6 pin connector and 1ea 8 pin connector. Using an adaptor is not recommended unless you can ensure your PSU molex is capable of delivering 150 watts. The GTX260 requires 2ea 6 pin connectors similar to prior high end cards. The GTX280 consumes a maximum of 240 Watts while the GTX260 consumes 192 Watts of Power at full load.

The GTX 200 series features advanced power saving tech allowing the cards to power down in 2D/Desktop mode. When running idle modes, both clocks and vcore are significantly throttled, allowing for significantly lower power consumption while idling than previous high end Nvidia hardware.

2D Clocks

GTX 280 2D Clocks
GTX 280 2D Clocks
GTX 260 2D Clocks
GTX 260 2D Clocks

These idle power strides are significant for pretty much any gamer who uses there computer for other tasks besides gaming. High End SLI users will really appreciate this as 3 way SLI setup will only consume 75 watts at idle verses the 140-200 on other 3 way SLI setups. That's a significant amount of heat NOT dumped into your room environment. The GTX 200 series also supports Hybrid Power like the 9800GX2 and 9800GTX cards which can completely power down the GPU with a supporting Nvidia chipset.

Note: The GTX260 used in this review was an engineering sample. Newer models of the cards contain a bios with a slightly faster fan RPM and thus will effect idle/load temperatures.

CUDA, What does it mean for me?

CUDA applications remain sparse, making it difficult to discuss CUDA in depth. We've been hearing about GPU computing for awhile, with CUDA being a topic of conversation since the Geforce 8800GTX was first announced. Since it didn't impact gaming in any real fashion, CUDA was remained mostly a yawner. Things are changing now however, with dozens of apps now supporting CUDA. While few of them will likely impact Joe Gamer, CUDA potentially provides an alternative to Super Computing Solutions.


Most of these apps probably aren't going to be of much interest to the gamer or most end users. One notable app was the ability to encode 1080 Videos to IPod video format at 18x the speed of a Quad Core CPU. Nvidia demoed encoding a 2 hour movie in 38 minutes. The most notable thing CUDA will probably bring is ...

[email protected]: CUDA Client

At long last there's a [email protected] client for Nvidia hardware. Testing of this new beta client is still in its infancy, but our early tests show the GTX260 averaging about 450 NS while GTX280 averages about 510 NS. Both took about 26-32 minutes to complete a project. Once the new CUDA client emerges from closed beta, all DX10 Geforce owners will have the opportunity to participate in the [email protected] This has been a long time coming and a great step for showing the potential of CUDA.

PhysX

Nvidia's recent buyout of Ageia puts them in an interesting position. Subsequent to the buyout, the Ageia API has been converted over to CUDA in a matter of months, versus the year and half Ageia took to write it all in Assembly. All Geforce cards since the 8 series include PhysX support.  While no PhysX supported games are currently available, Nvidia demos presented many PhysX enabled software that should hit the scene in the coming year. Some of it looked very interesting and some impacted game play in such manner that the game just wouldn't have been the same without it. The PhysX API is compatible with XBox360, PS3, and the PC and it looks to ultimately have a positive influence on the gaming industry.

Final Thought

Both CUDA and PhysX have the potential to make a GPU purchase more than just a GPU purchase. It's one of those things that we will watch closely these upcoming months, because they potential could change the way we perceive graphic cards.


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