Power Consumption: Who is the king?

Intel promised us better performance per watt, lower energy consumed per instruction, and an overall serious reduction in power consumption with Conroe and its Core 2 line of processors. Compared to its NetBurst predecessors, the Core 2 lineup consumes significantly lower power - but what about compared to AMD?

This is one area that AMD is not standing still in, and just days before Intel's launch AMD managed to get us a couple of its long awaited Energy Efficient Athlon 64 X2 processors that are manufactured to target much lower TDPs than its other X2 processors. AMD sent us its Athlon 64 X2 4600+ Energy Efficient processor which carries a 65W TDP compared to 89W for the regular 4600+. The more interesting CPU is its Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Energy Efficient Small Form Factor CPU, which features an extremely low 35W rating. We've also included the 89W Athlon 64 X2s in this comparison, as well as the 125W Athlon 64 FX-62.

Cool 'n Quiet and EIST were enabled for AMD and Intel platforms respectively; power consumption was measured at the wall outlet. We used an ASUS M2NPV-VM for our AM2 platform and ASUS' P5W DH Deluxe for our Core 2 platform, but remember that power consumption will be higher with a SLI chipset on either platform. We used a single GeForce 7900 GTX, but since our power consumption tests were all done at the Windows desktop 3D performance/power consumption never came into play.

We took two power measurements: peak at idle and peak under load while performing our Windows Media Encoder 9 test.

System Level Power Consumption at Idle

Taking into consideration the fact that we were unable to compare two more similar chipsets (we will take a look back at that once retail Intel nForce 5 products hit the shelves), these power numbers heavily favor Intel. The releative power savings over the Extreme Edition 965 show just how big the jump is, and the ~15% idle power advantage our lower power AMD motherboard has over the Intel solution isn't a huge issue, especially when considering the performance advantage for the realtively small power investment.

System Level Power Consumption under Full Load

When looking at load power, we can very clearly see that AMD is no longer the performance per watt king. While the Energy Efficient (EE) line of X2 processors is clearly very good at dropping load power (especially in the case of the 3800+), not even these chips can compete with the efficiency of the Core 2 line while encoding with WME9. The bottom line is that Intel just gets it done faster while pulling fewer watts (e.g. Performance/Watt on the X6800 is 0.3575 vs. 0.2757 on the X2 3800+ EE SFF).

In fact, in a complete turn around from what we've seen in the past, the highest end Core 2 processor is actually the most efficient (performance per Watt) processor in the lineup for WME9. This time, those who take the plunge on a high priced processor will not be stuck with brute force and a huge electric bill.

FSB Bottlenecks: Is 1333MHz Necessary? Application Performance using SYSMark 2004 SE
POST A COMMENT

201 Comments

View All Comments

  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    So they say 5 years ago until now Intel was “all” crap. I think Northwood was/is very good.
    Sorry but the Netburst stuff is STILL garbage. Core 2 is head and shoulders better than anything they've made since the P3. Although, I thought the power consumption would be better.
    Reply
  • aznskickass - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Man, some AMD fanboys just can't take defeat with dignity.

    Really expensive? Top of the line, sure, but funny you fail to mention the E6300 and E6600, which both offer far better value than the equivalent priced A64.

    Finally match (or even exceed by a few points)?
    OK, here is where I suggest you get your eyes checked out, or go back to school and learn to read graphs. C2D *spanked* A64, not 'match it or exceed it by a little'.

    I think you are just upset that AMDs days as performance crown are over. Tough life being a fanboy eh. You gotta take the ups with the downs son. ;)
    Reply
  • epsilonparadox - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    how is a $999 C2E hundreds of dollars more than a $999 FX-62? How is a 55% increase in performance "match (or even exceed by a few points)"? Perhap a slow reading of the article is need. Reply
  • Genx87 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Intel has a hot chip on their hands here. Problem is, when will it have SLI available?
    And when will we finally see a review using an Nvidia chipset on the AMD side of this equation?
    Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    newegg has started the conroe game by getting a $460 premium on extreme CD2

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...
    Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    errr......
    thats a rape of $360, not $460 - my bad (duh)
    Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    It's not on the website anymore. I can't find any Conroe's up their at all. Non-existant. Also, and I know some of you read this but didn't AT say that the supply Conroe would be tight and would drive prices up until the end of the year? So why the bitching about higher prices? If Dell and others are buying up and making supply tight then prices go up. That's the way stuff is.

    Also, who has a Conroe other than the EE that we can buy today? Also, if these CPU's aren't available and today is the launch day then wouldn't this be considered a paper launch? And one more thing, where are the motherboards for this thing?
    Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    technically a paper launch means there were none available at all on launch date. my understsanding is that there were some of these available, they have just been bought up. a limited supply is still better than a true paper launch, imho, even if the end result is the same for most of us - no product available to buy. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    This is a paper launch, and there's a variety of political reasons for it. Among the reasons:

    1 -- AMD is cutting their processor prices in a couple weeks, right after Core 2 Duo was supposed to launch. Intel wanted to launch first.

    2 -- People have been previewing Conroe performance for a while, because they got processors without going through Intel. Some were upset that they couldn't do articles because they didn't want to put in the time or effort trying to get a chip through other sources. By moving up the NDA lift date, Intel now allows all of the web sites to talk about Core 2 Duo in the open.

    Anyway, it's all a marketing war right now, and both AMD and Intel are guilty. Where are the Energy Efficient AMD processors? In about the same place as current Core 2 Duo chips. Basically, though, Intel is building up supply before the official availability launch as opposed to the NDA launch. We might actually be pleasant surprised by availability at the end of the month.
    Reply
  • Shintai - Saturday, July 15, 2006 - link

    How can it be a paperlaunch if they haven´t launched yet? Launch is still july 27th.

    Having sites test an upcoming product is a whole other matter.

    And just because some can buy B2 stepping retail Core 2 Duos from sites already shipping them means nothing.

    Here is a pic of a retail X6800 btw ;)
    http://80.167.217.210/pics/e6800.jpg">http://80.167.217.210/pics/e6800.jpg
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now