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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  • nadim.kahwaji - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Niceeee , keep up the great work Ian ‘:) Reply
  • AshlayW - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    In my opinion the entire Intel HEDT lineup is a joke. And the 9980XE: $180 more for literally just a bit over *half* the cores and threads. Sure it has better lightly threaded performance but surely that's not the intention of this processor, and surely it is not worth charging this insane 'Intel Tax' premium for it. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Intel is free to charge whatever they want for a device that I have zero intention of purchasing. Most professionals I know have stopped using desktop computers for their daily drivers. The Dell XPS 15 and Apple's 15" MacBook Pro seam to be the weapons of choice these days. These products surely have their uses, but in the real world, most users are happy to sacrifice absolute performance for mobility. Reply
  • imaheadcase - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Most be a strange world you live on. Mobile won't ever be anything close to a desktop for daily tasks. I don't know any professional who have did that. They use mobile devices mainly to view items they did on desktop, not for working. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Really? I work in software development (WEB, C++, OpenGL, and yes our own ray tracing engine) We have one guy with a desktop, the rest of the developers use either an XPS 15, a MacBook Pro, and one guy with a Surface Book. All were given a choice...this was the result.

    Interesting story about how we got here... Windows used to be a requirement for developing browser plugins. But with the move to Web Assembly, we can now compile and test our plugin on the Mac just as easily as we do on Windows. While many fanboys will lament this change .. I personally love it!

    Reply
  • Endda - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Yea, for code development only. Mobility has been the choice for that for years.

    Not everyone is a coder though. Some need these desktops for rendering big animations, videos, etc. You're simply not going to do that in any meaningful way on a laptop
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Rendering and production work can indeed happen on laptop hardware. I don't argue that desktop hardware with fewer limits on TDP and storage aren't a faster way to accomplish the same tasks, but as Team noted, given a choice, a lot of people opt for mobility over raw compute power. Reply
  • nerd1 - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    It's a big joke to use XPS or Macbook GPU to do anything intensive. It's good for remote code editing though (except macbooks with absolute terrible keyboard) Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - link

    Define "intensive." Our software does real-time (WebGL) and photo-realistic (ray-tracing) rendering. I suppose that a Path Tracing engine would be MORE intensive. But the goal of our software is to be as ubiquitous as possible. We support the iPad and some Android tablets. Reply
  • linuxgeex - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - link

    There's your answer: anything that runs on iPad and Android Tablets is not "intensive". I'll grant you that it's "intensive" compared to what we were doing on workstations a decade ago, and mobile is closing the gap... but a workstation today has 24-56 cores (not threads) at 5Ghz and dual NVidia 2080 GPUs. You can get a 12-core CPU and dual 1080 in the pinnacle gaming laptops but they don't have ECC or the certifications of a workstation. At best they have half to 2/3 the performance. If you're paying your engineers by the hour you don't want them sitting on their hands twice as long. But I can see how they might make that choice for themselves. You make an excellent point there, lol. Reply

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