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Power Consumption

The $750 Computing Challenge: Germany Versus USA

This is the major disadvantage for the German system: it may dominate most of the benchmarks, but the results come at a price. The system idle power is almost twice as high on the Core 2 Quad Q6600 paired with the Radeon HD 4870 as it is for the US team’s Core 2 Duo E8500 and Radeon HD 4850. This difference is significant.

The results are similar at peak power conditions: The German system provides more performance, but it requires roughly twice the power to do so.

Average and Total Power for 3DMark Vantage

As a result of the extreme power consumption differences, the average power used during a 3DMark Vantage run was much lower on the US system as well.

This also applies to the total power used to complete a 3DMark Vantage run.

Check out this diagram if you want a visualization of the results. The power consumption level of the German system, running a Core 2 Quad Q6600 and a Radeon HD 4870, is much higher than what we measured for the US system, which is based on a Core 2 Duo E8500 and a Radeon HD 4850. Keep in mind that the power supply also has an impact on total system efficiency.

Average and Total Power for PCMark Vantage

Average and total power required during a PCMark Vantage run show the same outcome.

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  • 9 Hide
    Proximon , February 25, 2009 5:34 AM
    But which system will still be working in a year with no replacements? Can we start a pool? :) 
  • 2 Hide
    dirtmountain , February 25, 2009 6:21 AM
    Did you notice the 18 amps on that generic power supply team Germany used also Proximan?
  • 3 Hide
    norrisb , February 25, 2009 7:34 AM
    Why no love for AMD?
  • 3 Hide
    falchard , February 25, 2009 8:56 AM
    Because the Phenom IIs weren't released when they started to build and test these systems. The Phenoms really aren't the best choice in processor.

    I think the comparison with a Phenom II 720 would have been interesting since it has an internal memory controller and could increase performance on productivity benchmarks. Where games aren't as much CPU dependant as GPU dependant. It could have shown a better value.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , February 25, 2009 11:22 AM
    The German team's case cooling holes and PSU are terrible, expect the system dead within 9 months.
  • 3 Hide
    deuce271 , February 25, 2009 11:47 AM
    Interesting to see the German team go with an unknown PSU like that. I understand sacrifice somewhere to get more power out of the CPU & GPU but the PSU is the last place I look to squeeze money out of.
  • 9 Hide
    Mr_Man , February 25, 2009 11:55 AM
    Something I've wondered about many Tom's builds: when money is the limiting factor, why continually use the e8500 instead of the e8400? It's $20 cheaper, sometimes more, and has a mere .16GHz difference. They're both the same stepping now, so I can't imagine the overclocking potential is ever much different.
  • 6 Hide
    jonpaul37 , February 25, 2009 12:06 PM
    +1^ Well Said, there is no real difference except the multiplier... i could see picking the 8500 if they were going to OC to the Max, but they didnt even hit 4.0!!! i can hit 4.0 on my E8400 with no Voltage increase on an AC Freezer Pro 7... what gives???
  • 2 Hide
    Obstruct44 , February 25, 2009 1:07 PM
    +1^ I agree, I use an e8400 on my system, with an Asrock p45xe mobo. I would like to see toms use that setup and then use two 4830's in CF. I bet the graphics would have spanked the 4870.
  • 3 Hide
    MonsterCookie , February 25, 2009 1:38 PM
    Quiet frankly, if one want to build a "cheap" system nowadays, than none of the configurations are good for that. I am from germany, so i probably should root more for those guys, but i cannot.

    It is not so hard to see, that the best system today would be something like:

    GigaByte EP45-DS3 INTEL P45
    C2 Duo 5200 and overclock it
    two 4850 cards in crossfire in it
    two 2G RAM modules
    some cheaper case
    a decent powersuply, and not that electric waste in the german build
    a cheap 250G HDD
    a cheap DVD RW

    Thats it. Ain't rocket science. For those who are not disturbed by the noise of a Sapphire 4850x2, they can get that even cheaper.
  • 1 Hide
    Onus , February 25, 2009 2:01 PM
    Yeah, methinks someone on the German team was just messing around. Eighteen total amps on +12V for a 4870?
    Please let us know when you hear from the German site that it blew up; hopefully it won't burn down their office.
  • 1 Hide
    hardwarekid9756 , February 25, 2009 2:03 PM
    So, if you look at your own charts, the Q6600 and the Q8200 are within 1-2% of each other. reflects this as does Hardocp. The reduced system cache and mhz literally have no real-world impact on the performance of the chip, because it uses the 45nm process, which is something like 13%-28% more powerful per megahertz. The only gimping of the Q8200 is that it's not nearly as mature as the Q6600 in the overclocking field. the Q6600 has a tried and true method and rigor, whereas the Q8200 is the new kid on the block, and until the Q6600 is phased out, will have something of a darkhorse aura around it.
  • 9 Hide
    KyleSTL , February 25, 2009 2:09 PM
    WATTS/HOUR is not a unit. That would be J/(sec*hr), which doesn't make sense. The unit is WATT-HOURS (J), which is energy, NOT POWER. Sorry to complain, but the information is just wrong.
  • -2 Hide
    hardwarekid9756 , February 25, 2009 2:40 PM
    5€ that the next build is going to be an AMD system with a GeForce card. This is more a study of mindsets than performance. To be quite honest, I could give a flying about OC numbers. I'd prefer to see some MicroATX cheapo with an amped core, and a beefmaster GFX card. my system:

    MSI G31M3-L - 50$
    Intel Q9400 - 229$
    2x2GB G.Skill PC2-6400 - 39.99
    MSI R4870-T2D1G 4870 1GB - 219.99
    Samsung F1 1TB - 99.99
    Lite-on 22x Burner - 21.99
    Rosewill WindRyder Case - 29.99
    Sigma Shark 585W - 59.99

    Total: 750$, shipped.

    IMO, that's quite a build. I actually saw an open-box sigma for 10$ off, and a GFX for 20$ off. If it were me, I'd get that, and then use the extra money saved to get an open-box Gigabyte EP45-DS3.

    But, then again, can't use open-box items in SBMs.
  • 2 Hide
    Pei-chen , February 25, 2009 2:56 PM
    The Turks choice of PSU is really interesting. I am running the same Q6600 + 4870 1GB and max draw at plug is 293w with Antec HE 550. Paring this much power and heat with a feeble PSU and no ventilation case is how Turkish cars rank below Detroit’s in reliability.

    Every part should be in balance with each other. I’ll take a 4850 1GB + good case & PSU over a dead 4870 anyday.
  • 2 Hide
    mbbs20 , February 25, 2009 3:56 PM
    whats up with the lame 3 ghz oc on the q6600 by the german hits 3.4-3.6 ghz fairly regularly that i have seen??
  • 1 Hide
    hellwig , February 25, 2009 4:18 PM
    Pei-chen: what odd stereotype leads from Germans to Turks? Can't say I've seen that one before.

    As for the computer, the only problem should be the PSU. The case supports 4 fans + the PSU, I don't think it will have too much of a cooling problem.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , February 25, 2009 4:21 PM
    Of course, there was no mention of whether or not they added all 4 fans, so that could definately be a problem.
  • 5 Hide
    caamsa , February 25, 2009 4:29 PM
    Why not include 1280X1024 and 1400X900 resolutions. This is a budget build right?
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