Power Consumption

One of the key topics in power consumption recently has been whether Intel’s approach to power, or to how it represents its Thermal Design Power (TDP) values, is valid or not. Intel’s take on TDP is that it should represent the sustained power of the processor, which unfortunately does not take into account any of the turbo modes available to the users (or disclose how long those turbo modes should be available for). Part of this is not only confusing, but motherboard manufacturers rarely use Intel specifications for these limits anyway, as you can read in our article covering the practice here.

With the Core i9-9980XE, the typical representation of power is used: stick to the turbo tables unless the system is thermally compromised. In this case the 165W TDP value is a guide, not a limit or a suggestion – it relies on the quality of the silicon and the ability of the motherboard manufacturer to be stable, performance focused, and competitive.

Comparing the Core i9-9980XE to the Core i9-7980XE, the new processor has a higher base frequency by 400 MHz, a higher single core turbo frequency by 100 MHz, and a higher all-core turbo, but uses a newer 14++ manufacturing process and soldered thermal interface material. The peak power consumption numbers are as follows:

Power (Package), Full Load

Looking at the full chip values, the peak power consumption we observed for the Core i9-9980XE is 192W.  This is 9-10W higher than our Core i9-7980XE sample.

If we remove the ‘idle’ power numbers away to see the core-only power, then the Core i9-9980XE uses around 152W just for the cores, which should be around 8.5W per core. The 32-core Threadripper 2990WX by contrast uses around 6W per core.

If we look at the efficiency of each processor, with our power numbers taken during a POV-Ray run:

The Core i9-7980XE gets a performance per watt of 43.3 POV-Ray points per watt - the new Core i9-9980XE scores a little less at 42.7, as for the extra 5% of power, we get a 3.6% increase in performance. For competition, the only HEDT processors coming close are the other Intel HEDT parts, or the 2990WX at the top right of the diagram. Obviously, this is benchmark specific, but an interesting comparison nonetheless.

Gaming: F1 2018 Core i9-9980XE Conclusion: A Generational Upgrade


View All Comments

  • Cooe - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Rofl, and the second you look at the price tags, anyone with half a piece of common sense would realize that buying an i9-9980XE over a TR-2950X is absolutely freaking ridiculous! (Unless you simply NEED AVX-512 that is). Intel's flailing with Skylake.... again..., while AMD's near finished changing the game entirely with 7nm Zen 2, and it's all honestly pretty damn hilarious. Karma's a b**ch and all that lol. Reply
  • benedict - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Agreed, the 2950X offers the best value in the HEDT segment. Reply
  • Cellar Door - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    The best part is that an i7 part(9800X) is more expensive then a i9 part(9900k). Intel smoking some good stuff. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    You're paying more for those extra 28 PCI-E lanes Reply
  • Hixbot - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    And much more L3. It's also interesting that HEDT is no longer behind in process node. Reply
  • Hixbot - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    And AVX512 Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    @Ian: Thanks, good overview and review!
    Agree on the "iteration when an evolutionary upgrade was needed"; it seems that Intel's development was a lot more affected by its blocked/constipated transition to 10 nm (now scrapped), and the company's attention was also diverted by its forays into mobile (didn't work out so great) and looking for progress elsewhere (Altera acquisition). This current "upgrade" is mainly good for extra PCI-e lanes (nice to have more), but it's performance is no better than the previous generation. If the new generation chips from AMD are halfway as good as they promise, Intel will loose a lot more profitable ground in the server and HEDT space to AMD.
    @Ian, and all: While Intel goes on about their improved FinFet 14 nm being the reason for better performance/Wh, I wonder how big the influence of better heat removal through the (finally again) soldered heat spreader is? Yes, most of us like to improve cooling to be able to overclock more aggressively, but shouldn't better cooling also improve the overall efficiency of the processor? After all, semiconductors conduct more current as they get hotter, leading to ever more heat and eventual "gate crashing". Have you or anybody else looked at performance/Wh between, for example, an i7 8700 with stock cooler and pasty glued heat spreader vs. the same processor with proper delidding, liquid metal replacement and a great aftermarket cooler, both at stock frequencies? I'd expect the better cooled setup to have more performance/Wh, but is that the case?
  • Arbie - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    The "Competition" chart is already ghastly for Intel. Imagine how much worse it will be when AMD moves to 7 nm with Zen 2. Reply
  • zepi - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    How about including some kind of DB test?

    I think quite a few people are looking at these workstation class CPU's to develop BI things and it might quite helpful to actually measure results with some SQL / NoSQL / BI-suites. Assuming bit more complex parallel SQL executions with locking could show some interesting differences between NUMA-Threadrippers and Intels.
  • GreenReaper - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    It's a good idea, Phoronix does them so in the short term you could probably look there. Reply

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