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Power Consumption And Temperatures

System Builder Marathon, June 2011: $500 Gaming PC
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Power Consumption

Both of these systems lean on Antec's EA-380D power supply, and we test them with power-saving features enabled. We did have to disable Cool’n’Quiet to overclock last quarter's PC, though.

Taxing both CPU cores and the graphics card using a combination of FurMark and Prime95 gives us a good look at the maximum potential power draw of both boxes.

FurMark tortures graphics card components making VRM temperatures skyrocket, and a growing number of cards cope with this stress by throttling back. As a result, we're shifting away from FurMark in favor of 3DMark 11’s first game test for measuring GPU power consumption in the SBM series.

Undervolting the March PC allowed for a 600 MHz frequency increase with only a 7 W jump in power use under full Prime95 load. Factor in the disappointing graphics overclock, and full system load (between Prime95 and 3DMark 11) was up just 11 W for our March PC. The result was the most efficient AMD-based system our series had ever seen. 

But you haven't seen anything yet. While our current Sandy Bridge-based platform split the performance tests, its super-low power consumption will earn it major points in the efficiency chart!

Though we're using the same mid-tower ATX case and graphics card, the current PC 's ambient temperatures don't peak as high as last-quarter's build.

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