This paper presents a third order switched current sigma delta-modulator. The modulator is optimized at the system level for minimum power consumption by careful design of the noise transfer function. A thorough noise analysis of the cascode type current copiers used to implement the modulator, together with a new methodology for evaluating the nonlinear settling behavior is presented. This leads to a new optimization methodology that minimize the power consumption in switched current circuits for given design parameters. The optimization methodology takes process variations into account. The modulator is implemented in a standard 2.4 mu m CMOS process only using MOS capacitors. For a power supply of 3.3 V the power consumption is approximately 2.5 mW when operating at a sampling rate of 600 kHz. Under these condition the peak SNR it measured to 74.5 dB with a signal band width of 5.5 kHz. Due to internal clamping in the integrators and proper scaling the modulator shows excellent stability properties. In order to compare the performance of the modulator presented in this paper to other sigma delta-modulators two figure-of-merits (FOMs) are proposed. From these figure-of-merits it is found that the performance of the modulator presented in this paper is significantely higher than the perforamce of other switched current sigma delta-modulators reported. Also, the figure-of-merits show that the performance is comparable to the performance of reported switched capacitor sigma delta-modulators.