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
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  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    This is a paper launch, and there's a variety of political reasons for it. Among the reasons:
    I would like to know about the AMD EE CPU's myself. I forgot about those.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    LOL! I got modded down because some of you clowns don't like to be accused of being hypocrites. So I'll ask a question. What's the difference between launching a video card and not having product available and launching a CPU and not having product available? I hear NO bitching at all on this. Why is that? Reply
  • epsilonparadox - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    I don't get where you're seeing its not available. According to a poster above,

    quote:

    Your screenshots with cpuid have the stepping as a B1 stepping 5 Conroe - I bought a retail Conroe X6800, and it was a stepping 6 revB2


    How are we being hypocrites?
    Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    How are we being hypocrites?
    Beacuse this is a paper launch and no one's complaining but when ATI/Nvidia does the same thing everyone and their mom's are bitching and complaining. Hypocracy!
    Reply
  • Shintai - Saturday, July 15, 2006 - link

    How can be it a paper launch when Intel first launches it July 27th?

    After July 27th you can start whine...
    Reply
  • epsilonparadox - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    How could it be considered a paper launch if there are posters above you complaining the their OC results of the C2Ds that they bought and have in their possession aren't as good as AT's? Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    I don't get where you're seeing its not available. According to a poster above,
    One poster gave a link to Newegg but there's nothing there. I searched the site and saw nothing. I also checked ZZF and Monarch. Nothing there. If this CPU is available, why can't I buy it?
    Reply
  • epsilonparadox - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    As you said yourself before, the supply is tight hence the ridiculous price. If they've been available then they were already bought. http://www.buy.com/prod/CORE_2_DUO_E6600_DC_LGA775...">Check buy.com
    Its temporarily sold out but the orders placed when it was in stock were shipping july 5th.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    That's a little high but not out of line. I paid $400 for my 3500 and this is MUCH faster. I am surprised that no one here has one of these since they were released earlier. Reply
  • Questar - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Because people were able to buy these four days ago?

    Because the official launch is still two weeks away?
    Reply

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