Test Setup

Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H Testbed
Processor AMD Athlon LE1600, 4850E X2, Phenom 9550
CPU Voltage 1.250V
Cooling AMD Retail
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-520HX
Memory OCZ PC2-6400 ATI Edition (4x1GB)
Memory Settings DDR2-800, 4-4-4-12 1.90V
Video Cards On-board HD3200
Video Drivers AMD 8.3
Hard Drive Samsung HD501LJ
Optical Drives Sony BDU-X10S, LG GGW-H20L
Case Silverstone CW03S-MT
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
.

ASUS P5E-VM HDMI Testbed
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E2200 & E7200, Intel Core Quad Q9300
CPU Voltage 1.250V
Cooling Intel Retail
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-520HX
Memory OCZ PC2-6400 ATI Edition (4x1GB)
Memory Settings DDR2-800, 4-4-4-12 1.90V
Video Cards On-board X3500
Video Drivers Intel 15.8
Hard Drive Samsung HD501LJ
Optical Drives Sony BDU-X10S, LG GGW-H20L
Case Silverstone CW03S-MT
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
.

Biostar TF8200 A2+ Testbed
Processor AMD Athlon LE1600, 4850E X2, Phenom 9550
CPU Voltage 1.250V
Cooling AMD Retail
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-520HX
Memory OCZ PC2-6400 ATI Edition (4x1GB)
Memory Settings DDR2-800, 4-4-4-12 1.90V
Video Cards On-board GeForce 8200
Video Drivers NVIDIA 174.74 / 18.11 Platform
Hard Drive Samsung HD501LJ
Optical Drives Sony BDU-X10S, LG GGW-H20L
Case Silverstone CW03S-MT
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
.

Our tests today will concentrate on platform power requirements when playing back High Definition content and taking a leisurely flight around the Honolulu harbor with Flight Simulator X. We utilized PCMark Vantage to track power requirements for general office/home applications. The results were very similar to our HD playback scores so we omitted them for this particular article. We are not providing overclocking or discrete GPU numbers in today's article; this is all about the base setups we utilized for testing these chipsets.

Based on the 780G's penchant for HD playback and casual gaming, we figured the natural competitors in this particular segment would be the Intel G35 and NVIDIA GeForce 8200. Fortunately, we had several GeForce 8200 retail boards arrive this week. NVIDIA provided WHQL platform (18.11) and GPU (174.74) drivers on their website last week. However, these drivers still do not provide Hybrid SLI or HybridPower capabilities. We have already noticed several problems ranging from HDMI synchronizing to the inability of PowerDVD 8.0 or WinDVD 9.0 to recognize the driver set for playback capabilities in certain situations.

We selected identical components for our three testbeds, with the obvious exception of the motherboard and CPU. Our choice of processors represents three different levels. Our minimum spec processors consist of the AMD Athlon LE1600 and Intel Core 2 Duo E2200. Both of these processors are the recommend minimum we would use on these platforms in order to provide acceptable results with HD playback, general applications, and casual gaming. Our 2.5GHz capable AMD 4850e X2 and upcoming Intel E7200 represent a middle ground in performance. These two processors are the ones we would most likely purchase for our platforms. Our final selection consists of the latest entry-level quad-core processors from AMD and Intel, the Phenom 9550 and Core 2 Quad Q9300.

Index Watting to Exhale
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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
  • hian001 - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

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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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