"Lord, keep my memory green."

That's a great quote from one of best novelists during the Victorian era. If Charles Dickens was writing today, he might be tempted to put a spin on current events by saying, "Lord, keep my products green." As we look around the world today there is one subject that is almost universally discussed, dissected, and leads to arguments as heated as religion or politics. That subject is environmentalism. Put in the simplest terms, we simply say, "…going green…" to describe the current hot topic (pun intended).

Everywhere we look now, there is a story, guideline, or product available that we as a human race can utilize to improve our surroundings and reduce our footprint on this wonderful planet we call Earth. While this article could spin out of control quickly based on your beliefs on what is right or wrong with the environment, we simply want to provide our spin on the power requirements for the latest IGP platforms from AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel.


Notice we say platforms. Yes, the chipsets are a very important factor in the overall power consumption of a system, though the main watt robbing items are generally the CPU and GPU. In addition, the number of storage devices, cooling apparatus, and the power supply all play an integral part in the ecosystem we like to call the personal computer.

Our quick look today is by no means a comprehensive review of system power consumption; instead, we are providing an additional focus on the power requirements of the three latest IGP solutions available in the market. We felt like this information would get lost in the multitude of pages in the forthcoming roundup, so a sidebar article seemed appropriate. The results today will provide an extra glimpse into the platform differences when using the same exact components on the AMD side sans the motherboard/chipset and competitive offerings from Intel for comparison. We plan to do the same for our video comparisons between these platforms.

We know the hardware manufacturers are pushing energy conservation from just about every possible angle, including Gigabyte's Dynamic Energy Saver solution and Western Digital's GreenPower series of hard drives. What we would like to know from the readership is if additional articles (more in-depth) centered on platform power efficiencies is something of interest. This type of information would cover categories from HTPC to Gaming, along with recommendations of products that offer the "greenest" performance for your particular system.

That said, let's see which particular platform wins Al Gore's heart… or if you prefer, which saves you enough pennies to buy that Hummer you always wanted.  (4/22/08 Update - We will provide additional numbers utilizing a Intel DG35EC motherboard and a new ASUS P5E-VM HDMI BIOS in the near future, initial testing shows the Intel DG35EC providing results about 6~11% better than the ASUS board, additional AMD board results will be provided also)

Putting It All Together
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  • Johnniewalker - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    I would also like to see what would happen if you swapped out the PSU with a lower power one such as the Seasonic S12 II 380w or 430w.

    If we are maxing out at 115w on the Intel G35 Quad Core, it would seem that either of those PSU's would provide more than adequate power. Would they draw less than a larger PSU or not. If they do, is the difference worth limiting yourself to a small PSU? I am not sure how limited I mean as the 430 PSU is both crossfire and sli certified.

    Reply
  • kb9fcc - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    I found it so surprising that the single core CPU LE-1600 should be beat out by it's multi-core sibling the 4850E, that I had to look for an explanation.

    The first thing I noticed, is I could find no data on the 4850E, it didn't even appear at AMD's site. However, I found data for the 4050E and 4450E at Newegg, so I'll just have to assume that the 4850E is just a faster clock speed (in future articles, could you please have more details on the processors used, especially new/unknown/unavailable units?).

    They're all rated at 45w and have the same amount of cache, so that leaves that fact that the LE-1600 is built on 90nm vs. 65nm tech of the 4850E to be the only cause of this effect, though one wonders if there were other enhancements in the stepping that could be responsible too. That begs the question, what if a single core based on 65nm were used? The only I can find are the LE-1200 series, which are Semperons by definition and have less cache.

    Further, regarding the results that the 8200 board used less than the 780G, I question based on not knowing anything about the Biostar TF8200 A2+ at all. Does it have exactly the same features as the Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H? I.e., are there any other chipset differences on the boards that could account for the power draw? (1394, sound, raid, etc.) Also, do other 8200 based boards return the same results? As for that thought, how do other 780G boards fare (Asus, Biostar, ECS)? Why not put the TF8200 up against its Biostar 780G sibling the TFORCE TA780G M2+? I think calling the 8200 the winner is premature without any other data points.

    Final thought. Just how green can you go? By selecting the right CPU, memory, HD, PS, fans, cases, etc., what can we learn from this test that we can use to select greener components next time? Do really need a 2.5GHz 4850E, or will a 2.3GHz 4450E do as well and draw less? For that matter, just how does an LE-1250 fare? Sure it may not work out in a HTPC, but what can it do? Do we really need two optical drives, especially if the LG unit does it all? Can we use a lower wattage, high efficiency PS to good effect? Are there memory modules that are stable at 1.8v that draw fewer watts? Can only 2GB be used? What about 2x2GB instead of 4x1GB? etc., etc. etc.
    Reply
  • cghebert - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    Regarding the differences between 8200 and 780g. The MAJOR one, for me anyway, is that the 8200 boards will be ably to output 8 channel uncompressed sound (for HD DVD and Blu Ray) from their HDMI ports. 780g (and every other HDMI motherboard, with the exception of the Asus Intel G35 board) only puts out the equivalent of 2 channel uncompressed audio (or 5.1 compressed, i.e. AC3).
    This is why I (and many others over at AVS forums) have been eagerly anticipating the 8200 boards.

    To me that is the most distinctive issue between these two chipsets. Beyond that, most of it just comes down to ATI vs. Nvidia video quality/driver issues.

    Much more info on this discussion here:

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=99...">http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=99...
    Reply
  • royalcrown - Sunday, April 20, 2008 - link

    You may want to wait and see about the quality issues as certain families of Nvidia chipsets were notorious for data corruption and it appears that that may be an issue with the 700 series according to a blog on here.

    Read all of the postcards from the edge, and maybe wait for some reviews to be safe ;)
    Reply
  • lightzout - Saturday, April 19, 2008 - link

    Wow, the HDMI output and the potential to run a cooler, quieter box may mean I will finally be able to get my HTPC box into the living room and hooked up to the HDTV. I am as green as anyone can be without going off-grid with solar but the minimal differences in wattage here aren't the only upside. I want to have a silent pc that works great. It nice to see companies headed towards efficiency but improving other areas of the home are more likely to offer a substantial reduction of power usage overall.

    I want a low power, stable platform for MCE2005 that will fit into my Dvine box. Right now I use an underclocked nforce2 with a geforce 6200 which barely manages the workload. Its too noisy and consumes too much power to justify running 24/7 so I miss recording some shows. I think I may have finally waited long enough to upgrade.


    This was a great article and I hope Anandtech continues to follow other efforts to produce greener, quieter components for the "cooler" under-clocking crowd.
    Reply
  • DanDeighan - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    These CPU's ARE available. Have been since the 15th. Mostly smaller vendors (see Froogle), but also available through buy.com or Amazon.com. Newegg is trailing on this one, not available there yet. Reply
  • Locutus465 - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    Seems like availability for AMD products is a little uneven these days... For instance I was going to just purchase my entire "new" rig from ZipZoomFly until I realized (thankfully I did some digging before ordering) that they don't offer any B3 Phenoms. Ended up getting the Phenom 9850be from newegg. Not sure why zipzoomfly is just sitting around with out any B3 parts. Reply
  • FireTech - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    bingbong may be in Australia where AMD Australia is reported (on various user forums) as stating low sales volumes of previous 45w CPUs here do not justify importing the new 4850e etc CPUs here.
    Not good news if it turns out to be true...
    Reply
  • bingbong - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    Nice to see some good low power options with a decent intergrated graphics set. Awaiting the shoot out to see 780G or 8200 will be the best bet.

    I am kind of pissed that the AMD 4850e chip cannot be found.


    What's the point of reviewing this from February when it seems like AMD are not going to be making the CPU available.

    Come on AMD!!!

    Or don't you want our money!
    Reply
  • Martimus - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    http://www.buy.com/prod/amd-athlon-64-x2-dual-core...">http://www.buy.com/prod/amd-athlon-64-x...mhz-ht-1...

    Plus many other places, but not on newegg yet.
    Reply

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