i know the i5's run at nice and low wattages, but coupled with their boards, how do they compare in overall power consumption to the phenom x6 systems (with their higher power requirements but low power boards). the i5 systems still consume much less power?
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They're about on par with eachother. Why do you ask?
Sandy Bridge and its platform is much more efficient, both when using integrated graphics as well as discrete graphics. Charts here