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


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  • Atari2600 - Thursday, November 15, 2018 - link

    I never said the non-complicated things need anything more than 1 small screen! Reply
  • AdhesiveTeflon - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Yea, have fun waiting a month to render 2 airport terminals from a point cloud. Most professionals I know still use and have a need for desktops. If you're asking why you need this CPU then it's not for you. Reply
  • HStewart - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Like to see you lug a desktop though an airport. Reply
  • AdhesiveTeflon - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    It's kind of obvious that you leave the desktop stationary for any sort of real work. My comment was how the OP rarely seen any "professionals" use desktops anymore. Engineers, CAD workers, and rendering farms still use desktops because they're still the only thing that has any grunt behind it.

    So while a laptop is still trying to render the airport's bathroom from the point cloud, the desktop has already done the rest of the airport and the next two point-cloud scanning projects.
  • HStewart - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Yes I understand that but most of one you find on forums like this are not actually professionals - but instead hard core gamers - which desktop still have a lot of that market.

    The ideal platform is mobile platform that connect to desktop style monitors at work and if needed at home. My work required two video ports on Laptop.
  • Lord of the Bored - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    The ideal platform... depends on the task at hand. Crazy, I know. Some people need a small and light device, some need one they can hook multiple displays too, some need the one with the most raw power available... Reply
  • twtech - Thursday, November 15, 2018 - link

    That's fine if you don't need the power of a desktop. Your laptop in that case is essentially serving as a SFF desktop - and if that's good enough, great. You get all the benefits of a desktop, and all the portability advantages of a laptop in a single package.

    I can see how that works for some forms of software development. For me personally, at work I can use all the CPU power I can get. Around 32 cores @ 5GHz would be perfect.
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    Render farms do not typically consist of desktop computers. The workloads you're discussing should indeed be processed elsewhere on something other than whatever machine is local to the user's desk and that elsewhere is typically not a collection of desktop-class PC hardware. Reply
  • M O B - Friday, November 16, 2018 - link

    PNC--you made a good point earlier about thin clients and servers, but not everyone is corporate. Efficiency is moot if you can't afford to get your foot in the door.

    I don't expect someone who isn't in the industry to know this, but small businesses and independent contractors do the majority of the transcoding, grading, editing, and effects that make it into every single thing you watch on TV or stream. These people often use powerful 1P desktops, and occasionally a single 2P system. Obviously large effects studios don't rely on 1P, but again, most people in this industry are not employed by one of the few giants.

    It's clear that you don't have these needs, but to pretend that this entire marketing segment is for "gaming," "not necessary," or inefficient is gross oversimplification. Thin clients and servers are a great solution for certain operations of scale, while for others it is as tone deaf and ignorant as crying "let them eat cake."

    These powerful 1P builds are our daily bread, and if you can get by with a laptop then that's great, but check your ignorance instead of speaking from it.
  • AdhesiveTeflon - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    HStewart, I agree. My personal work setup is the same way with a laptop and multiple desktop monitors since I don't require the power that the Engineers and CAD workers need. Most of my users that aren't Engineers or CAD designers are the same way too.

    PeachNCream, we just purchased a dedicated i9 for the workloads for our point-cloud rendering, but each individual engineer/cad worker still requires a beefy computer. Moving one point of our services to a dedicated computer does not stop the daily work on other projects.

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