The Test

Performance-wise, the new Brisbane chips shouldn't be any different than their 90nm counterparts, but to make sure we benchmarked the new chip against our first 90nm X2 5000+. From a power consumption standpoint, we wanted to compare the new 65W 65nm chip to AMD's Energy Efficient and Energy Efficient Small Form Factor 90nm chips to see how the new process competes with the most efficient of AMD's CPUs that use the older, but more mature process. Unfortunately, we only have a 5000+ 65nm chip, so we can't say for certain what advantages Brisbane will hold at equivalent clocks to the EE/SFF parts.

For each benchmark we measured performance as well as average power consumption during the course of the benchmark, finally reporting performance per watt as one divided by the other.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.40GHz/4MB)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (2.6GHz/512KBx2)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ "Brisbane"
AMD Athlon 64 X2 EE 4600+ (2.4GHz/512KBx2)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 EE SFF 3800+ (2.0GHz/512KBx2)
Motherboard: eVGA NVIDIA nForce 680i
ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe
Chipset: nForce 680i
nForce 590 SLI
Chipset Drivers: NVIDIA 9.53
NVIDIA 9.35
Hard Disk: Seagate 7200.9 300GB SATA
Memory: Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 4-4-4-12 (1GB x 2)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 97.44
Resolution: 1600 x 1200
OS: Windows XP Professional SP2

Before we get to the power consumption tests let's have a quick look at idle power consumption of these systems:

Power Consumption

Note that Cool 'n Quiet and EIST were enabled for all tests, but running at 1GHz the AMD CPUs at idle are able to draw much less power than the Intel system (which runs at an idle clock speed of 1.6GHz). Part of the increased power consumption for the E6600 may also be due to the 680i chipset vs. the 590 SLI used on the AMD systems, but we would need to compare both chipsets on a common CPU platform to be sure of that.

Regardless of the reasons, at idle, our Intel test platform consumes much more power than any of the AMD platforms. At the same time, the new 65nm Brisbane CPU doesn't really draw significantly less power than the 90nm cores at idle. Under load though, we've got a completely different story...

Index Media Encoding Performance & Power Consumption
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  • Live - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    It does not use more power then any other chip except the 90nm X2 5000+. Where did you get that from? Did you read the article? Reply
  • Stereodude - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    Yes, I read the article. Excluding the C2D it uses the 2nd most amount of power, basically tied with the 65W 4600+. Reply
  • smitty3268 - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    Not all the power that goes into a chip is released as heat. The heat is basically wasted power that "leaks." So if a chip can get more useful work out of the same amount of power then the amount of heat released would decrease even while power consumption remained steady.

    I'm not an expert, but I believe a lot of the special new process techniques we always here about (like strained silicon) basically just reduce the amount of wasted energy. Am I right here?
    Reply
  • Stereodude - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    Sorry, but that's incorrect. All the power is turned into heat. The power can't be going anywhere else. Power in = Power out.

    It's not like a LED where you get some energy out as light, or a motor where you get mechanical energy out of it in addition to heat.
    Reply
  • finalfan - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    If all the power can be turned into heat then it will be the most efficient heater the human being ever built. And even greater, you get all the computation done for free. Could you believe that?

    Reply
  • Stereodude - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    Where else is the energy going if it isn't getting turned into heat? You apparently don't have any idea how the transistors in a processor work. Reply
  • splines - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    You apparently don't have any idea about basic thermodynamics.

    If the processor released all of its energy in heat, it'd be the world's most efficient space heater.

    You have forgotten a few little points, like that work is done by a processor (wouldn't be much point otherwise). Transistors are switched, mostly, however the IC itself can expand and contract, as well as the packaging material. The heat generated by a CPU is because of the resistance inherent to the circuits. All of the above is considered energy expended (or, more properly, changed in state).

    In other words, don't go around insulting people's intelligence when you don't know yourself what you're on about.
    Reply
  • Stereodude - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    I'm betting only one of us has an Electrical Engineering degree, and guess what... You're not the one with it.

    The work being done by the CPU is what makes the heat. The transistors themselves create heat because they consume power, and a lot of it, to switch from one state to another at high speeds.

    I will say it again since you still don't get it, though it probably won't help. Energy is conserved. Electrical energy goes in, and heat comes out. The thermal expansion and contraction of the part isn't work. It's a side effect of the heat being product when the transistors consume electrical power by switching and make heat.
    Reply
  • slayerized - Friday, December 15, 2006 - link

    Thermodynamics 101- First law of thermodynamics: “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be converted from one form to another” (Power --> Heat) Reply
  • smitty3268 - Friday, December 15, 2006 - link

    I think everyone here knows that, the issue is that current -> heat is not the only type of transformation that can occur. If it was then anything electric wouldn't be able to do anything at all except create heat, and obviously that isn't true. Reply

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