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If you use your PC for gaming, the GPU may be one of the most important components in your build. With the launch of Nvidia’s latest 40-series GPUs and AMD’s 8000-series GPUs somewhat on the horizon, there’s been a lot of talk about the power consumption of these next-gen GPUs.
When looking for a new GPU, you need to consider its performance requirements. When it comes to specifications, manufacturers often like to play around with terms and numbers, especially when it comes to power consumption, and users argue between two similar ratings: TDP and TGP.
What does TDP measure?
TDP stands for Thermal Design Power and is the maximum power that system hardware (like your GPU) can draw in a real-world scenario. This often also means the maximum amount of heat that can be generated by the component and whose cooling system can be dissipated under real conditions.
It is generally calculated based on the power requirement of the component to be cooled. Because of this, TDP is a generic term scattered across PC peripherals, including processors, which also measure their power consumption in TDP.
What does TGP measure?
TGP stands for Total Graphics Power, and while it’s similar in meaning to TDP, it’s a term more specific to GPUs. It basically indicates the power that a graphics card requires from a power supply.
While TDP often simply means the maximum power consumption of a component, TGP means the same thing, except specifically for graphics cards. So if you’ve seen two similar TDP and TGP specifications, you’ll immediately know for sure which one the GPU represents.
Another similar term floating around is TBP, or Total Board Power. This is exactly the same as TGP. The only difference between the two is that Nvidia prefers to display card performance in TGP while AMD uses TBP.
TDP vs. TGP: Which is the More Accurate Measurement?
As mentioned earlier, if you see two entries, one in TDP and one in TGP, the TGP entry refers to the actual GPU power rating. In terms of accuracy, in most cases both numbers are the same for a graphics card, so you can go with either one.
However, it is better to always look for a TGP or TBP rating as it is simply specific to the GPU and leaves no room for doubt or guesswork. It’s something you need to be absolutely sure of, unless you don’t mind the extravagant expense of these next-gen GPUs.
Another thing to consider is the energy efficiency of these cards. In Nvidia’s case at least, the new Ada Lovelace architecture is significantly better than its predecessor, meaning you’ll get more performance per watt out of your card.
Should you choose between TGP or TDP?
Regarding your graphics card’s power decisions, TGP is all you need to determine if your PSU can handle the card or not. To reiterate, it’s the definitive term meant specifically for GPUs when it comes to power consumption.
Most graphics cards come with a minimum recommended PSU rating that users must meet in order for the cards to operate properly. Unless you’re using the newer ATX 3.0 PSU spec, you might have to jump a few hoops to get your card working.
However, as long as you have enough headroom after considering your PC’s total power draw, including your graphics card’s TGP, your PSU will still work just fine. TGP also helps you determine the power efficiency of your GPU.
Operate your PC properly
Adding the TDP values of different components gives you the total performance you need from your PSU to keep your PC running. If you’re going for Nvidia’s 40-series GPUs or AMD’s competing offerings, we recommend having at least an 800W power supply to keep everything running properly.
Because knowing how much power your PC is using is key to building a good system that can get the most out of its hardware. At the same time, knowing which power supply to get will help you protect your components, have headroom for overclocking, and maybe even save some money.
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