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Power Consumption And Temperatures

System Builder Marathon, Q1 2014: The $750 Gaming PC

Power-saving features are typically left on for each round of benchmarking. Only the overclocked $650 system didn't benefit from them. When it came to tuning the FX-6300's clock rates, I jumped into the firmware and disabled any setting that might negatively affect stability or performance consistency.

Sporting an efficient Haswell-based Core i3 processor and powered by an 80 PLUS Gold-rated power supply, my most recent effort sips power at idle and under host processing load. There's an overclocked, voltage-bumped GeForce GTX 770 in there, but still, peak draw from the wall remains under 300 W. You most certainly don't need the 600 W power supply recommended by Zotac. Our 450 W PSU has oodles of output in reserve.

Low power means that this quarter's PC is also the coolest-running in today's competition. Notice that CPU and GPU temperatures drop after applying an overclock. Simply, the CPU is left alone, and airflow increases by speeding up the cooling fans through Asus' firmware (from the Standard setting to Turbo). I also disabled control over the rear case fan by simply running it at 100% duty cycle. Finally, Zotac's thermal solution was quiet, so I created a custom fan profile to blow more air over the card and its components.

Of course, faster fans generate more noise. While this is by no means a quiet PC, it wouldn’t take much to pull its output down to a whisper. Surprisingly, overclocking didn't really add much noise since the 120 mm intake fan up front is the loudest. It doesn't vibrate, and is by no means obnoxious. But there is an unquestionable sound of rushing air. Needless to say, my fondness of the Line-M enclosure certainly diminishes when its bundled fans are running all-out.

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