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

200 Comments

View All Comments

  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Because people were able to buy these four days ago?
    But they're not available today. Why is that?

    quote:

    Because the official launch is still two weeks away?
    So Intel is launching this twice? What is going on today? Technology preview?
    Reply
  • Questar - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    But they're not available today. Why is that?


    Sold out?

    quote:

    So Intel is launching this twice? What is going on today? Technology preview?


    RTFA. The NDA lifted today. Launch is on the 27th.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Sold out?
    If they were sold out they would still show on Newegg and ZZF.

    quote:

    RTFA. The NDA lifted today. Launch is on the 27th.
    I RFTA! That's how I was able to correlate the lack of product to the availability of benchmarks. Products leak all of the time and NDA's are held in place. This maybe a creative way of paper launching but it's still a paper launch.
    Reply
  • Questar - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    If they were sold out they would still show on Newegg and ZZF


    Yeah, because that's the only two places you buy a CPU from.

    Sheesh.
    Reply
  • Questar - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    bob and MrKaz, forever the fanboy.

    Please explain to me why Intel having the better cpu upsets you so?
    Reply
  • MrKaz - Monday, July 17, 2006 - link

    And you?

    It can be better than Cyrix, IBM, Sun, ... I don’t care.

    But you seem to care more than me.
    If you don’t, why do you complain?

    This is not for me because my maximum 100€ for processor.
    It’s cheap (compared to others Intel past released brand new CPU) but not cheap enough.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    bob and MrKaz, forever the fanboy.
    I'm not a fanboi. I just hate hypocrites. If you read another post of mine in this section (use the scroll button Luke) you will see me praise the performance of the Conroe. I plan on buying one for my wife. I'll probably get a K8L if it turns out to be even or faster than Conroe otherwise I'll get a Conroe for myself.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    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.
    Here's the post I made. Sound like a fanboi to you?
    Reply
  • forPPP - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Why buying more expensive and slower Core 2 Extreme (X6800, 2.93 GHz) ? There is cheaper Woodcrest at 3.0 GHz !
    Are there no motherboard with unbuffered memory support for Woodcrest ?
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Nope Intel doesn't allow their Server processor to be used for desktop stuff as it's LGA771 socket. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now