Idle Tests

We enabled the power management capabilities of each chipset in the BIOS and set our voltage selections to auto except for memory. We set memory to 1.90V to ensure stability at our timings. The boards would default to 1.80V or 1.85V, but we found 1.90V necessary for absolute stability in our configurations at the rated 4-4-4-12 timings.

On the two AMD boards, this resulted in almost identical settings with the exception being chipset voltages, although those were within a fraction of each other. Overall, each of the CPUs hovered around 1.250V and all power management options functioned perfectly on these particular board choices. We then set Vista to use either the Performance or Balanced profiles depending on test requirements.

We typically run our machines with the balanced profile. Using the Power Savings setting resulted in a decrease of 1W to 5W depending on the CPU and application tested. At idle, the Balanced and Power Savings profiles both set the minimum value for processor power management to 5%, while the maximum is set to 100% for Balanced and 50% for Power Savings. The Performance setting sets both values to 100% and is the reason for the increases in power requirements even if you have power management turned on in the BIOS.

Consumption - Minimum Spec CPU

Consumption - Dual Core

Consumption - Quad Core

The results surprised us - more like floored us. The same company that brings you global warming friendly chipsets like the 680i/780i has suddenly turned a new leaf, or at least saved the tree it came from. We see the GeForce 8200 besting the AMD 780G and Intel G35 platforms in our minimum spec configuration utilizing the Power Saving profile by 3W and 15W respectively. To be fair to Intel, we are comparing a single core AMD processor to a dual-core processor. However, these are the minimum CPUs we would utilize. (4/19/08 Update - Minimum Spec chart is correct now)

Frankly, the AMD LE1600 is just on the verge of not being an acceptable processor during HD playback. The LE1600 was able to pass all of our tests, but the menu operation was slow when choosing our movie options and CPU utilization did hit the upper 90% range on some of the more demanding titles even with the 780G or GF8200 providing hardware offload capabilities.

The pattern changes slightly with the dual-core setup having a 7W and 25W advantage for the GF8200. Our quad-core results are almost even with the GeForce 8200 board from Biostar having only a 1W difference compared to the Gigabyte 780G setup. The GeForce 8200/Phenom 9550 combo comes in with a 13W advantage over the Q9300 on the ASUS G35 board.

Putting It All Together Cranked
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  • LuxZg - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    First, I have to agree with Black Jacque, again I see reviews of low power systems done with higher power supplies, which is not good. Out of those 100-130W you probably have another 10% wasted power on PSU inefficiencies, which is sometimes as much as you save by choosing "right" chipset/CPU combo.

    Anyway, now that we know which chipsets are good and low power, and that they can run HD video, could you make an article that would show an alternative power source of around 180W? Let's say solar cells? I saw an article like that a while ago on Tom's (found it!"> ) and it would be nice to see a similar "investigation" after you finish this IGP comparision series :)
  • Calin - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    You are comparing the performance of an AMD single core (LE1600) processor against the dual core E2200 from Intel?
  • Conroe - Saturday, April 19, 2008 - link

    Why not test with a 440? It's not that anyone would recommend a single core now with prices as they are. In my opinion dual core are even more green as you almost double processing power only adding a few more watts to the total. Either way I'm sure G35 still uses more power.
  • Black Jacque - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    I note they used a Corsair CMPSU-520HX for the testing. This PSU is inappropriately sized for the wattages reported.

    To get the highest efficiency out of that power supply you should run at about half its rated wattage.
  • strikeback03 - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    Might be the smallest PSU they have around. Other than the small Seasonics and the Antec Earthwatts series, are there many power supplies in the 300-400 watt range that are reasonably high quality and more efficient?

    Side note: Love how Newegg's "Play it green" banner shows an Antec TruePower Quattro 1000. Nothing says green like a thousand watt PSU.
  • cghebert - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    The ECS version of the 8200 is available now">

    But I believe the rest won't be released until later this month due to incomplete drivers from Nvidia at this point.

    Gary, another great teaser article. I'm still sitting on my hands waiting for the full 780g and geforce 8200 roundup. Will any of the tests be done under Windows XP, or will it all be Vista?

  • Martimus - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    That's a good question. I know that I plan on using Linux on my HTPC that I am building. (planning on a 780G and 4850e X2, but may change my mind based on your article)

    Also, does the 4850e X2 come with a quiet heatsink, or is it rather loud? I am trying to make the system as quiet as possible.
  • gogos7 - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    You used an Asus motherboard in the Intel configuration.

    Asus M/Bs (the last 2 years) are well known for their high power consumption.

    What do you expect?
  • sprockkets - Sunday, April 20, 2008 - link

    They are the only one at the time that have a G35 board available.
  • R3MF - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    I am sat on a wad of cash looking to buy a mATX gaming system for a SUGO 03 case, and completely stymied by the lack of decent AM2+ boards capable to REALLY taking 125W load processors.

    Both MSI and Abit have solid-caps 8200 boards advertised which is great, but there is complete silence over when they will be released!

    When can i buy an 8200 board?

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