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Power Consumption

System Builder Marathon, May '09: $600 Gaming PC

For SBM performance testing, power-saving features such as CPU Enhanced Halt and CPU EIST Function were both disabled and Windows Vista’s power option was set to High Performance. Let’s take a look at the total system power usage measured from the AC source.  

Idle consumption is quite low considering this is the most powerful graphics card we have so far put in a budget SBM machine. The lower CPU voltage and core speeds of the overclocked system kept the Prime95 CPU load consumption down far below our $625 machine in the January 2009 SBM series. 

We have made a switch to FurMark for GPU load consumption. FurMark, which is an OpenGL benchmark/stability test, downright tortures the GPU while only loading one CPU core. A full-screen benchmark run may actually exceed even the worst-case scenario of peak-GPU consumption ever seen in gaming. Still, this month’s overclocked rig consumes under 300 W at full CPU and GPU load, showing that a PSU with fewer watts could still have been sufficient.

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