NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 power enhancements detailed

Posted on Sunday, Jun 08 2008 @ 20:25 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Another leaked slide unveils some of the power management enhancements NVIDIA made to the new GeForce GTX 200 GPU series. The slide says there are four different performance/power modes employed:
  • Idle/2D power mode: approx. 25W
  • Blu-ray DVD playback mode: approx. 35W
  • Full 3D performance mode: varies - worst case TDP 236W
  • HybridPower mode: effectively 0W
  • Using a HybridPower-capable nForce motherboard, such as those based on nForce 780a or 790i chipsets, a GeForce GTX 200 GPU can be fully powered off when not performing intensive graphics operations and graphics output can be handled by the motherboard's IGP.

    For 3D graphics-intensive applications, the NVIDIA driver can seamlessly switch between the power modes based on utilization of the GPU. Each of the new GeForce GTX 200 GPUs integrated utilization monitors ("digital watchdogs") that constantly check the amount of traffic occuring inside of the GPU. Based on the level of utilization reported by these monitors, the GPU driver can dynamically set the appropriate performance mode (i.e., a defined clock and voltage level) that minimizes the power draw of the graphics card - all fully transparent to the end user.

    The GPU also has clock-gating circuity, which effectively "shuts down" blocks of the GPU which are not being used at a particular time (where time is measured in milliseconds), further reducing power during periods of non-peak GPU utilization.

    All this enables GeForce GTX 200 graphics cards to deliver idle power that is nearly 1/10th of the maximum power (approx 25W on GeForce GTX 280 GPUs).

    About the Author

    Thomas De Maesschalck

    Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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    Re: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 power enhancements detailed
    by Anonymous on Monday, Jun 09 2008 @ 14:03 CEST
    Since we aren't going to see a 55nm mobile variant of the GT200 for a year, I'm thinking this is a bunch of marketing bull...

    What user is going to buy a top end GPU and NOT do 3D? They certainly don't seem to be using tons less power in 3D mode, that's for sure.