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Power Consumption

AMD 790GX: RV610 For Enthusiasts?
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We ran our three test platforms using Vista’s three default power schemes to get a better idea of exactly how each one affected our results.

For our performance benchmarks, all tests were conducted in High-Performance mode, with the Phenom X4 9850 BE running at 2.5 GHz and all BIOS-related performance features disabled. In a real-world environment, however, your PC is likely idle more than loaded with work, making the Balanced or Power saver schemes attractive. Unfortunately, the Power saver plan handicaps performance as it helps cut back on energy use, so that one’s out too. Thus, we measured power consumption using the Balanced plan.

According to AMD, the 790GX incorporates four power-saving improvements that you wouldn’t get on a 780G board. The first is a deep sleep on the side-port memory, yielding up to 1.7 W of savings. Of course, since most 780G boards don’t have side-port memory, that’s a tough comparison to make. Driver and BIOS enhancements made to AMD’s PowerPlay technology purportedly save up to 3.1 W as well. Onboard voltage scaling is said to be worth another 900 mW and new support for the C1e power state approaches 6 W of savings. Yes, Intel has had C1e support for more than two years now. It’s a bit of surprise that AMD took so long to jump on board.

All told, AMD claims the potential for up to 12 W of savings. Our idle measurement was a bit less pronounced at 4.9 W versus Gigabyte’s 780G board with side-port memory. And compared to Nvidia’s GeForce 8300, the difference was closer to 10 W. Given Geoff Gasior’s findings (http://techreport.com/articles.x/14993/12) that the GeForce 8300 uses more power than AMD’s 780G at idle and load, we were surprised to see our Asus board using significantly less energy than either the 790GX or 780G running 3DMark Vantage and Cinebench R10.

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  • 6 Hide
    kitsilencer , August 6, 2008 4:47 AM
    Great review, and it's good to see that AMD is at last able to target more enthusiast markets competitively.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 5:38 AM
    kitsilencerGreat review, and it's good to see that AMD is at last able to target more enthusiast markets competitively.


    Thanks for the feedback Kit.
  • 1 Hide
    eklipz330 , August 6, 2008 6:19 AM
    ^^^iseriously thought that was sarcasm, until i saw the authors name
  • 0 Hide
    waffle911 , August 6, 2008 7:01 AM
    So... why does a page 15 and 16 of this article exist if there is no page 15 or 16 to the article?
    Take a closer look. What happened?
  • 2 Hide
    YYD , August 6, 2008 7:15 AM
    PCMark seems Intel biased, please read this:
    http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/atom-nano-review.ars/6

    Please change this benchmark suite or check if PcMark Vantage is unbiased.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 7:23 AM
    waffle911So... why does a page 15 and 16 of this article exist if there is no page 15 or 16 to the article?Take a closer look. What happened?


    That was strange. Should be fixed now.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 7:24 AM
    YYDPCMark seems Intel biased, please read this:http://arstechnica.com/reviews/har [...] view.ars/6Please change this benchmark suite or check if PcMark Vantage is unbiased.


    Fortunately, with no Intel platforms tested, this should be a non-issue for the current situation ;-) In the future, you'll be seeing SYSmark, though.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 6, 2008 7:30 AM
    Seems past page 8 or something the links are corrupt.. can't fully read this article and getting error 404 - page not found.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 6, 2008 7:32 AM
    .. and now the article seems to be removed even from the main page!?!?!
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 7:51 AM
    lacrits.. and now the article seems to be removed even from the main page!?!?!


    Alright, mystery solved. It's back up, sans the blank page. Thanks for pointing that out lacrits!
  • 2 Hide
    nickchalk , August 6, 2008 9:31 AM
    Hi, i wanted to ask something aout the article.
    why you use 3470 and 8500 for the tests?
    hybrid crossfire and nvidia boost don't work with faster cards?
    is the performance gain not big with 3870 or 9600gt?
    thanks
  • 2 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 9:36 AM
    Hybrid CrossFireX uses alternate frame rendering, as does GeForce Boost, I believe. As a result, both technologies are best complemented by discrete boards evenly matched to the integrated core. In the case of the GeForce 8300, that'd be an 8500 GT. For the 790GX, AMD recommends the 3470. To spend any more money on discrete graphics for either platform would be a waste of money even if you could use faster cards.
  • 1 Hide
    nickchalk , August 6, 2008 9:42 AM
    thanks for responding so fast.
    so what if i use a 3650 with this board? or why will i buy a quad core and dont spend some more for a 3850?
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 9:54 AM
    Unfortunately, performance won't scale with the 3650. With that said, you'll still see reasonable gaming performance in Hybrid CrossFireX. The beauty of this board is that you CAN drop in a 3850, 3870, 4850, etc. and then add a second one later for CrossFireX.
  • 0 Hide
    zenmaster , August 6, 2008 11:20 AM
    cangeliniUnfortunately, performance won't scale with the 3650. With that said, you'll still see reasonable gaming performance in Hybrid CrossFireX. The beauty of this board is that you CAN drop in a 3850, 3870, 4850, etc. and then add a second one later for CrossFireX.


    Nice Review, However I would like to see how well SLI scales on this board using a 4850 and 4870 vs another AMD Board with full Duel 16x PCIE 2.0 Slots.

    I've seen some other reviews where Dual 8x PCIE 2.0 Slots start having scaling issues on the 4850 at are not seen on the 3800 Series.
  • 1 Hide
    computerfarmer , August 6, 2008 11:20 AM
    Thank you for this excellent article.
    Does the 128mb side-port limit the on board video to that amount of memory? Does this affect Vista Areo?
  • 1 Hide
    jimmysmitty , August 6, 2008 1:13 PM
    Good article. Phenom can finally OC. I wounder if the mobo makers are going to make them with higher quality voltage regulators so it can support the 9850BE and higher across the selection.
  • 1 Hide
    cshorte , August 6, 2008 1:47 PM
    good review,

    i have a question why do you recommend ddr1066 over 800? i thought there wasn't a huge difference.

    also im a bit confused about this 16x, vs. 8x 8x...
    if i use a single card (for now) which motherboard (790g, 790gx) will produce more graphixs capabilities?
  • 1 Hide
    ltcommander_data , August 6, 2008 2:03 PM
    It would have been interesting to see a comparison between the GMA X4500 and the 790GX.

    http://www.hkepc.com/?id=1510&page=5&fs=idn#view

    The GMA X4500 seems to be much faster than the GMA X3500 and within 10-30% of the 780G in actual games. I guess the 790GX was a timely addition and with it being 20% faster than the 780G, that should open up the lead over the GMA X4500 to 30-50%.
  • 1 Hide
    kenyee , August 6, 2008 2:08 PM
    and which of these upcoming 790GX motherboards are microATX?
    The only one I know of is the DFI one...
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