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energy efficient AM2 motherboard

Last response: in Motherboards
July 12, 2007 3:59:34 PM


As seen on the latest energy efficiency test, different motherboards with the same chipsets have different power consumptions.

I'm looking for an am2 motherboard, with a nvidia or amd chipset (opinions about these are appreciated) to use a sempron 3600+ or a athlon64 x2 3800 EE. The purpose: to be used as a server! :) 

So the requirements are:
- Energy efficient!!
- Available at Europe
- cheap if possible

So please post what motherboards you guys have and how much watts it uses at idle and full load (onboard graphics only!).
For the linux users: could you also post the output of:
more /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_available_frequencies (for dual or + cores users)
more /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpufreq/scaling_available_frequencies (for the others)

Thanks for your input!

Off topic: I haven't found any, but anyone seen an AM2 motherboard with a HD24xx series graphics card onboard?
July 12, 2007 9:26:10 PM

I haven't tested the system on load with onboard graphics, but I can give you an estimate as to my PC's power consumption using a Kill A Watt meter

Silver Thermaltake Lanbox
Thermaltake Toughpower 700W
Biostar Tforce 7050-PV mATX MB
XFX 7950GT 256Mb
Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro Series
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Brisbane 2.3Ghz
G. SKill 2GBPK (2x1Gb) DDR2 800 RAM @ 1.95V
2x80GB WD Sata Drives
1 DVD Drive
Add: 3 x 60mm fans, 1 LED 90mm fan, MaxOrb Cooler w/ LED 110mm fan, Azenx Blitzstorm (1 70mm fan + 70mm blower), 1 LED 80mm blower, 1 80mm slim fan

Idle: ~97 watts w/ 7950GT
Idle: ~89 watts w/ onboard - minus the 1 LED 80mm blower
Related resources
July 13, 2007 11:02:40 AM


Well, PCKid777, you have system with much more that I want to put in my server, but your results are interesting nonetheless.

For the other posters, I really appreciate your help, but what I'm looking for are real world numbers of the power consumption of this kind of system and know the lowest frequency available in Linux for this platform.

I also didn't know that already exists the gforce 7000 series. I'll have to look about that. Thanks for the tip!

Thank you all for your help!
July 13, 2007 11:42:29 AM

IcY18 said:
Check out the AMD 690G, asus has a microATX one or Gigabyte just came out with a full size one.

A agree. As far as i remeber the latest ATI/AMD chipsets were quite energy efficient. Even the 3200 chipset was quite good.
July 13, 2007 2:40:49 PM

I have the Gigabyte board. I like it. It had no problems with my brisbane chip. The only down side to it would be that I could not get the raid drivers from the disk to work right. I downloaded them and everything went smoothly. I highly recomend the gigabyte!
July 13, 2007 5:59:41 PM

Good suggestions so far.. The 3200 aka 580x and 480x aka 1150? those are good if you are lookin for OK energy efficiency.. The 690 is better but it has integrated graphics, idk if you want that... Something NOT to get would be Nvidias 590 and 570 (probably lowers ones too) I have a 590 and it's pretty power hungry... They just use more power...
July 13, 2007 6:07:05 PM

Well if its just going to be used as a server of some type then onboard graphics would be more than sufficient.
July 13, 2007 6:54:13 PM

Well, now i can narrow the board specifications a bit:

- amd 690G chipset
- gigabit network

Remaining questions:
- manufacturer
- onboard graphics

I know about Gigabyte's solid capacitors and they also support LinuxBios when the chipset can be supported by it. I had own several cheap Asus motherboards and they are an option also. Other possibilities are Foxconn and maybe Abit. What are your ideas about those? One thing I've learned in the last CPU power efficiency review is that 4 voltage phase is bad idea, in terms of power consumption.

As this pc is going to be used as server (mainly) maybe I would use it also as media center. However don't know if the HDMI is supported in Linux. Any of you guys have used it? Should I spend $10 or $20 more on a board with HDMI?

As a last question, I still haven't decided between the sempron 3600+ and the athlon64 x2 3800+ EE (or the new B2 models). Anyones tested those?

Thanks for your help guys!
July 13, 2007 11:06:44 PM

The only benchmark I knew was one that compared the BE-2350 with a X2 4000+, which isn't the best CPU to compare it, I think.

For the moment I'm choosing between:
- BE-2300
- X2 3800+
- sempron 3600+

I think that a CPU like the sempron will be enough, but if a dual core consumes the same, obviously prefer the dual core :) 

Where are those energy benchmarks?? :) 

Thanks for your replies!
July 14, 2007 7:12:52 AM

And now for the motherboard... the 690G is NOT the winner. The 7025/630a is better.

The first thread note the last post.

The followup review using undervolt/clock. NOTE the effect of using an EE power suply unit!

BTW don't forget the 3600+ and 4000+ Brisbanes.
Heres a comparison chart Including the new F3 stepped 3800+ EE.

July 14, 2007 7:19:38 AM

The energy benchies are here

Note that some of these 'processors' are UNDER-CLOCKED versions of faster in-family CPUs.

When all is said and done FOR THE APP ONLY, faster with more cores is more energy efficient, by using fewer Watts x Seconds. From the time you plug your rig into the outlet until the time its shut off is a matter of usage. The more idle time the better EE cpu's look.
July 26, 2007 10:23:57 AM


After a week of vacations (without internet :(  )I'm back in order to find the best system for my low power consumption need :) 

After reading the posts, I must admit I was surprised about a nvidia chipset be more efficient than the 690G. So, the "dream machine" becomes:

- athlon x2 3600+ or 3800+ EE SFF or 4000+ or BE-2350 (all Brisbane) - I'll choose which depending on what I can buy at the time.

- nvidia 7025 chipset
- gigabit network
- m-atx

In Europe is hard to find a Biostar mobo, so I'd prefer a GigaByte or Asus MB. But, apparently, either one lack that model. Only biostar and abit have such models. Anyone has some clue why?

Another question: What are your preferred PSUs? Enhance 500W or Silverstone Element were the selected PSUs in one of the reviews. What about you guys? what do you use?

Thanks for your help!
July 26, 2007 12:30:45 PM

I have a Corsair HX520, that would be way more than sufficient for you needs. Anything in the 450W would be plenty, something like a Seasonic S12 430W, or a FSP AX 450W, Silvestone Element Plus 500W, all three would be more than capable to power your system leaving you room if you wanted to upgrade.
August 1, 2007 11:49:05 AM


I've been searching for some user output about the Biostar board, but I've noticed some complaints that are due to the fact that the board may be in a beta stage. By now it isn't available where I live, so I'll have to wait a bit.

But, one thing I still haven't decided is: should I use an high efficient ATX PSU or should I use an external power brick and a picoPSU?

August 1, 2007 12:45:00 PM

never heard of someone using a external power brick or picoPSU, i would stick with a ATX psu as it's standard and can always be used for other computers in the future.
November 16, 2008 1:24:58 PM

I'm running a 4850ee processor on a Gigabyte GA-M68SM-2SL, 2gb memory and two WD green caviar 500gb disks. PSU is a bit smaller than standard @ 180w

It uses 45w idling and 65w when exercised which I'm quite happy with given its excellent performance running 24x7

I'm runing opensuse 10.3, which had a couple of interesting install issues with fixing the MAC address (LLADDR) and sound(3stack-dig)

Just about to buy another one as backup machine its so good.