the days when performance benchmarks settled all Intel vs. AMD processor debates. The
tone of the desktop computing world is palpably shifting towards power conservation, and even indivual
computer users are starting to wonder "just how much power is this going to
take to get me there?"
Perhaps it's only when we consider the 24x7x365 electrical operating
cost of a computer that these small power reductions muster any
significance, but there it is. In a sense, what's happening now parallels the transition
to from loud computers to the silent PC esthetic. Before hot-running computer processors went
quiet, enthusiasts' attempts to reduce the PC noise were exceptions to the
rule, rather than the norm. An entire industry now thrives on selling quiet
computer hardware, could the same hold true for energy efficient desktop processors
that don't sacrifice performance?
I think we're all still finding our feet on the energy efficient component,
but it's certainly a new component PCSTATS will be considering as we
mull over the benchmark results of the Athlon64 FX-62 and X2 5000+ processors.
Now, let's get on with the total system power draw tests...
Total Power Consumption
The price of energy is increasing world wide,
and any reduction in the amount of power a CPU requires is welcome. Wading
through the technical numbers that Intel and AMD provide can be confusing
because each company reports values in slightly different ways.
On paper AMD appears to consume more
power since its values are higher, however AMD lists its maximum power usage while Intel posts typical. Obviously the two are not comparable and to find
out which actually consumes more power, we decided to test things out.
Representing Intel will be a retail Intel
Pentium D 840, Pentium 4 540, and Pentium D 940 processor. Standing in
for AMD are the socket AM2 Athlon64 FX-62, Athlon64 X2 5000+, and
socket 939 Athlon64 4000+ and Athlon64 FX-60 processors.
The test specs for each system stayed as
constant as possible: Akasa PowerPlus AK-P550FF power supply, Western Digital
74GB Raptor hard drive, an 8x Gigabyte DVD-/+RW drive and a MSI NX6600GT-TD128E
videocard. Please note that Cool 'n' Quiet is disabled for these tests,
with Cool 'n' Quiet enabled, total system power draw will be even less that
what is reported. A picture of the total system power draw
test configuration is shown at right. The Extech Power Analyzer is located
between the mains 120AC supply and the PC power supply.
To simulate single-core load, the Prime95 Small FFTs test was run, and two
instances launched for dual core loading. Total system power consumption was
read with a Extech Power Analyzer Datalogger (model 380803) for both
CPU loaded and CPU idle states. Please keep in mind that these values
are measuring an entire system while the processor is running
under computational load or idle.
How do the socket AM2 Athlon64 FX-62 and
X2 5000+ impact total system power draw? Let's have a look....