"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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  • wjl - Sunday, April 27, 2008 - link

    If you own a decent mainboard and processor (meaning anything newer than AMD K7 or Intel P4), I think it's mostly the power supply which can help with efficiency.

    Building my AMD X2 3800+ EE into a bigger case with an 80+ certified power supply (and 90+ is coming soon as well, according to DigiTimes) helped reducing the idle power cosumption from 89W (with one hard disk and TV card) to some 74W (now with two hard disks and TV cards).

    New main boards and single platter hard disks may help, but it's normally better to look at the weak points of your current systems IMHO.
    Reply
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  • computerfarmer - Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - link

    It is good to see this kind of information. Lower power consumption has its place considering the cost, those that pay the bills will understand. I am looking forward to the 780G roundup, if it includes the 8200, that's good too.
    Keep up the excellent work.
    Reply
  • bingbong - Tuesday, April 22, 2008 - link

    Ok Thanks to those who said it is available. I will try the vendors again. I have only been looking online because I tried to buy it a couple of times. Actually I am in Taiwan so the availability is usually pretty good.

    l8r
    Reply
  • sheh - Monday, April 21, 2008 - link

    This recent power efficiency trend is something I definitely like. At this rate, and with Atom coming, it might be possible to run a decent general-purpose computer on a <200W PSU.

    *cleans up the AT PSU*


    Reply
  • smilingcrow - Sunday, April 20, 2008 - link

    I’ve tested a couple of systems with different Gigabyte G35 boards with various 65nm C2Ds and idle power consumption averaged around 55W with a spec similar to yours; only 2x1GB of RAM though. SPCR tested the exact same Asus board and managed no worse than 56W at idle although that was with a lesser spec and older less efficient E6400. This makes me wonder how you managed to record 84W at idle with an E2200 when I managed 52.5W with an E2140! Reply
  • wjl - Sunday, April 20, 2008 - link

    Yeah, exactly. My wife's machine (G35, E8200, 2Gig RAM, and a Samsung F1 750) draws some 69W on idle when in Gnome / Debian Lenny - and that is reported to take more than anything M$. The power supply used here is an EarthWatts (Seasonic) 500W 80+, which seems to be ok even at those low levels.

    My own one for comparison: AMD X2 3800+ EE on Nvidia 6150/430, 3Gig, 2x250Gig, 380W EarthWatts 80+ - takes also 69 Watts in its best moments (Gonme / Debian Etch, which doesn't have something like cpufreqd yet), tho here the "average" idle is more like 75W.

    cheers,
    wjl
    Reply
  • smilingcrow - Monday, April 21, 2008 - link

    I emailed the author about the G35 power data as it seemed disproportionately high and was skewing the results; he didn’t reply but the G35/E2200 at idle data has now been reduced from 84 to 74W with no reference being made to the change! Reply
  • smilingcrow - Monday, April 21, 2008 - link

    In a previous article by the same author http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...">http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?... he looked at the same Asus G35 & Gigabyte 780G boards but compared them against an Asus GF8200 board and made the following comment:

    “As far as power consumption goes during H.264 playback, the AMD platform averaged 106W, NVIDIA platform at 102W, and the Intel platform averaged 104W - too close to really declare a true winner.”

    The same CPUs were used so some consistency might be expected between that review and the current one, but if the power data for H.264 decoding is compared we get this:

    Old / New / Difference (Watts)

    GF8200 – 102 / 77 / 25
    780G – 106W / 84 / 22
    G35 – 104W / 103 / 1

    Somehow the G35 platform seemed to gain 21 to 24W of power consumption compared to the two AM2+ platforms. Is this purely down to the higher bit-rate of the movie tested in the current review showing up the inefficiency of the G35 platform or is this another anomaly in the G35 power data!
    Reply
  • deruberhanyok - Saturday, April 19, 2008 - link

    Interesting article but I'd like to echo some thoughts already posted. Seeing the power numbers is great but without any performance context to them (or comparisons being kept to same brand / models as close as possible) it's hard to see exactly where this all fits in.

    Also, low power boxes would be perfectly content running off of something like a Seasonic S12II-330. It could make a difference in overall power usage as well. Silent PC review recently discussed this in their Sparkle 250W 80 plus PSU review.

    As others are, I'm looking forward to seeing the full roundup. Thanks for all the hard work!
    Reply

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