We measured total system power consumption at the wall socket using a watt meter. The monitor was plugged into a separate outlet, so its power draw was not part of our measurement. The idle measurements were taken at the Windows desktop, and cards were tested under load running Half-Life 2: Lost coast at 1600x1200 resolution with 16X anisotropic filtering and HDR lighting enabled.
Out of curiosity, I threw in a GeForce 6800 GT for these tests, because I wanted to see how the 6800 GS compared to its predecessor. Will the GS's smaller transistor count and newer fab process give it lower power consumption than the GT, or will the GS's higher clock speed offset its advantages?
We used an Extech model 407727 digital sound level meter to measure the noise created (primarily) by the cooling fans on our two test systems. The meter's weightings were set to comply with OSHA standards, and the meter itself was mounted on a tripod approximately two feet from our test system.
The always-on, uber-loud fan on this Radeon X1600 XT has got to be an artifact caused by our review sample card's pre-production status. I hope. Please?