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Consumption And Temperatures

System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: The $400 Spirit Of Mini-ITX
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Power Consumption

As you know, we enable power-saving features on each system to best reflect real-world default power consumption and cooling performance. I also left the fan controls at their stock settings for my baseline run. In effect, I was trading off thermal performance in the interest of a quieter PC.

I don't have efficiency specifications for Antec's 150 W power supply. However, older units with the same model number were notoriously bad in this area. Regardless, under full load, the overclocked configuration pulls less than 120 W from the wall. Assuming between 70% and 80% efficiency, the power supply was only outputting between 83 and 95 W under full load. That should satisfy any concern that a 150 W PSU is insufficient for today's build.

AMD's Pitcairn and Tahiti GPUs serve up much higher performance than Cape Verde, but they're also a lot more power-hungry. December's $500 machine mysteriously suffered high GPU power use just idling on the desktop, inflating the active idle and CPU load data.

Despite Antec's small enclosure, heat is not a problem for us. The components I'm using are efficient, airflow is decent, and the graphics card is fed cool air through a bottom vent. In warm climates, both the graphics and case fans could spin a lot faster if they're needed, though they'd be louder too. As it stands, my notes suggest this is the quietest of the last three systems I built, particularly after overclocking. Only the $650 system was loud enough to have me reaching for my Sennheiser headset during gaming sessions.

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