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Special build: energy effiency vs performance

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January 4, 2013 1:20:10 PM

Hello toms hardware fans,

I am very very new here. But i have recently reading a lot of articles and reviews on this very informative site. I going to point out the articles which i have read cause it points out which direction i am headed to.

-http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/25w-performance-pc,...
-http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/pcs/2010/02/24/energy-...
-article about gaming on integrated gpu (i3 vs ...)
-Best SSD for december

The thing is i'm buying a new pc in 3 or 4 months. I know everybody is buying a pc and wants the best performance for X dollars.
But that's not what i am looking for.

Like the first article explained: i want a energy efficient pc cause it will be used for deskwork and casual gaming (i am 25 so i am from the generation gameplay was very important and graphics came in afterwards)

The things i already learned are
- not to use HDD but rather pick a SSD. Samsung 840 Pro looks like a good one in energy efficiency.
- Using a graphic card is not a smart choice cause it sucks plenty of juice.
- cpu is really unknown cause i know there is a new batch of intels coming in 2013 Q1 with a new integrated gpu.
http://tweakers.net/nieuws/86066/namen-en-specificaties...

I know more power equals many times performance but i like to find out the sweet spot. Apperantly not a lot of consumers are intrested in this topic, that's why i come over here :) 
Any one like to help a newbie like me?

Looking forward to your thoughts and builds.





January 4, 2013 2:48:58 PM

Sure graphics card uses a bit more power than other parts but depending on the game, resolution and settings, you might actually need one.

Can you tell us your budget as well?
January 4, 2013 3:46:39 PM

let's say 800 euros.
About graphics card: That's the thing I don't really need to play a game at a high resolution or high quality. I'm more about 30 to 2 hours playing a game just to set my mind of serious matters. Like i said in the start post: gameplay >>>> graphics.
Tnx for your first reply to this post!
Related resources
January 4, 2013 4:23:37 PM


AMD Trinity APUs, Part Deux, will likely arrive at the time of Haswell. I suspect they're happy with mature Piledriver and Turks cores with things like the FirePro A300 Series APUs

This may likely be what AMD calls 'Richlands' APUs.

January 4, 2013 4:40:48 PM

Nice build EzioAs, I must say I was afraid nobody would reply to this topic cause it's kind of niche.
I posted another link in my begin post off bit tech. Pretty old article though :(  but looks like it's better to use memory with low voltage.
-I see you picked one with voltage 1.5V, is it better to go even lower or does that effect to much performance?
-Looks like some fans use more watts as others. Any reason u picked "Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler" ?
- PSU looks pretty conform with what i read in articles (low watts, 80+ certificate)
- Is it important to buy a specific case (for natural airflow etc) or isn't it worth investing cause the system itself doesn't generate that much heat?

Btw are you also intrested in this kind of builds?
Tnx again for your build.
If i ask stupid questions you can just say it. I'm still learning a lot of pc building.
January 4, 2013 8:51:19 PM

I wouldn't mess with the memory voltage much for ivy bridge. You can get quick instability with voltages other than 1.5V

The reason why I picked the TX3 is because it's my rule of thumb to buy an aftermarket cooler to replace the stock cooler which is terrible. They're decent, but loud as well.

Always try to buy a case with proper ventilation so that heat isn't stuck in the case. The parts I selected won't use much power anyway so there are many cases that can handle them with ease. Silverstone cases are very high quality. They're sometime more difficult to build inside compared to other cases but they perform quite well. You can find other cases if you're not satisfied though.

You could go with a mini ITX motherboard and case which will be more size efficient.
January 5, 2013 11:29:34 AM

So atm we have the setting below

-Intel Core i3-3225 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor:
Probably going to wait for any sneak peaks for the new processors coming in 2013Q1.
If it takes too long I'm still going to take this one.

-Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler:
I read the specs, turns out it consumes 1.8W (euro edition) I think this is pretty low?
Probably going to stick on this one too.

-Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Don't really know a lot about powerconsumption of motherboards. What's the difference with the mini ITX motherboard? Maybe any other brands who try to promote their mobo with energy efficiency?

-Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory:
DDR4 isn't coming out for at least 2 years to consumers so DDR3 is the most feasible here. 1.5V is the minimum for ivy bridge. In previous articles i read the RAM didn't make that much difference.

-Samsung 840 Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
This must be a good pick cause it's been picked by tomshardware in the december SSD best buy.

-Silverstone PS08B (Black) MicroATX Mid Tower Case:
looks like a basic but solid case to me, but are there any others use a proper ventilation with a minimum (1) number of fans?

-SeaSonic 360W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V Power Supply:
Don't think we can get lower as 360 Watts?

EzioAs tnx again, looks like you the only one who has knowledge of these kind of things.


January 5, 2013 12:00:26 PM

This video may help.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKk2_1u26tg

The Haswell processors are going to release more mid-year than first quarter. From what has been released to the tech community it looks like its going to be largely a power-efficiency upgrade than performance.

1.8W is next to nothing.

The power-consumption of motherboards is tricky to monitor, as to make them work you also have to have the CPU and RAM in them. But for system consumption purposes I just generalize that the mobo/RAM consumes 30W. Its likely much less but when it comes to estimating power usage its best to assume the worst.
ITX mobo's are just physically smaller than other boards, nothing to do with the power-efficiency.

1.5v is the max for Ivy Bridge, if you can find a kit that runs at 1.35v it will work. Its only if you get a 1.5v kit and run it at 1.35v will you run into issues.
You might have read that RAM speed's above 1600Mhz dont matter, and that is true.

Few other cases that might appeal.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Wattage of the PSU is only indicative of its maximum output, not what it will consume. Chances are this system will consume under 30W at idle (from the wall, I'l explain in a bit), which is less than most lightbulbs. Under load I would guess maybe 100W.

If you want to know how much it will consume, you want to be looking at its 80+ rating. All PSU's do in a nutshell is convert Alternating Current from the wall into Direct Current which the computer can use. The efficiency of this conversion is told by the rating the PSU has. In this case the unit has a Gold rating, meaning its between 87 and 90% efficient depending on how much of a load its under (Note: 80+ ratings only apply when the unit is above 20% load, below that and its not guaranteed).
So say the system is drawing 100W internally and the PSU is running at 90% efficiency, you should see 110W being drawn from the wall.

EDIT: Chances are at any particular time, your monitor will be consuming more power than the system. Same with the lights in the ceiling :lol: 
January 6, 2013 8:45:19 AM

Tnx for joining in the built debat manofchalk.
I watched the youtube clip. It turns out i'm going to consume like below 30 Watts in idle and 100 watts in full charge.

Aint it better to get a 250 W or 300 W psu cause 20% load of 360W is 72W?

Looks like there are memory kits of 1.35V
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/kingston-memory-khx1600c9d...
Wasn't sure if it would lower my performance or not. But if you I don't run into problems with it. I will go for this one. Or maybe the Gkill ones at 1.25V

Btw manofchalk i see you use Gskill ram this is the only brand that uses 1.25V for their ram :) 

The youtube clip indicated upgrading your mobo can lower your powerconsumption.
The better question is: which one will deliver this actual on my configuration.
It's idd difficult to test but not if you have a specific setting (I3 = cpu / ram)

Tnx for the cases you posted. It's not really which one I really like. It's the one who drains the most air from inside to outside with 1 fan that's the most important. I think the last one (with all the holes can do this the best) (common sense is not always the good sense).

I know my monitor or lights are going to consume more as my system. But I have to start somewhere and built further. I decided to start with my pc.
I know it's stupid to debate about ram for 1W but I really like to know.


January 6, 2013 9:19:27 AM

Problem is that 250W and 300W PSU's are quite hard to get with any decent efficiency or quality. Due to how electricity is converted, it is easier to become more efficient the higher the amount of power being converted. So a 300W Supply would be 80+ Bronze at best and not even certified at worst. Also at this low end, you can only find non-trustworthy brands like Apevia, DIABLOTEK and Coolmax. I wouldn't use them just on general principle, none of those brands even have a decent reputation, they are known for producing rubbish units.
Whether the fact that at idle the rig will draw under 20% of the PSU's capacity is a problem will come down to the PSU itself. My PSU for instance has about 82% efficiency at 10% load even though 80+ standard doesnt say that it has too. Might want to read some reviews on the unit to find its efficiency below 20%.

A lower Voltage requirement doesn't lower performance, if anything it means you can overclock the RAM further if you were so inclined.
Most of G.Skill's RAM is 1.5v, might just be that specific kit that uses 1.25v.

You can read up on reviews and from there figure out which mobo's are the most power efficient. I admit as a performance person I don't really mind power consumption of components unless its ridiculously large, so I don't know which mobo's are most power efficient.

On a build with such a low draw there will be very little heat output to deal with, chances are you could get away without any fans (except the CPU fan of course).

Also I'm not sure if its possible on the i3's (since they cant overclock) but it may be worth trying to undervolt the chip. Heres a tutorial.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97Bd66dfkXs
January 8, 2013 6:21:53 PM

Looks like the same brand has a 300 Watt one (80+ gold too) so that's probably a better choice cause i never gonna hit the 300 watt powerconsomption mark.

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/seasonic-power-supply-ss30...

Pcpartpicker doesn't find any other brand below 350 Watts with a decent efficiency certification.

I can buy a fan and test it. If it's not neccesary I can just disconnect it.

Looks like I'm almost there :)  only have to find a decent motherboard.

Btw not a bad idea to underclock the I3, tnx for the input.

Tnx again for all the input I already got!
January 8, 2013 6:51:00 PM

Huntkey do a 300W 80+ gold rated PSU as well. Search Huntkey Jumper 300W.

A mini ITX motherboard will probably consume less power since there will be a bit less on it due to the smaller size. This will vary from board to board though.

The NF-F12 PWM (fan) only consumes 0.6W, throw that on a compatible heatsink and it would reduce the power consumption a bit. Not a particularly cost effective way of doing it but just throwing the idea out there.
January 8, 2013 11:48:50 PM

Problem with that supply it is not ATX standard, wont fit in your case. That PSU is longer and thinner to fit in some I-TX cases.
January 9, 2013 4:35:22 PM

guys, I found another blog about the kind of build I like to have.
It's in Dutch but you can translate it with google.
The guy who wrote it made himself a 5.9W I5 haha.
http://ssj3gohan.tweakblogs.net/blog/8278/mux-vragenuur...

The mobo he likes to use is a ASRock B75 Pro3-M
He also says not to use msi.

He uses another brand for the PSU but says that seasonic is decent too.
I will use the orginal one of 360 and not of 300 Watts on advise of manofchalk. Didn't understand the difference of shape etc. Tnx for your advise all. Feel free to add more comments.

I think I (or better we) compiled my pc!

I think my pc is ready :D 
!