Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Power, Heat, And Efficiency

System Builder Marathon, August 2012: $2000 Performance PC

Our previous build has three big advantages when it comes to power consumption: first, its 22 nm Ivy Bridge-based CPU; second, its quad-core design is less complex than our Sandy Bridge-E-based solution; and third, an 80 PLUS Gold-rated power supply is more efficient than today's Silver-rated alternative.

On the other hand, our newer system should save a little bit of power by virtue of its GeForce GTX 670 graphics card, which doesn't consume as much as the GeForce GTX 680.

The difference in CPU load power is stark, especially when our new machine is overclocked. We had hoped that its 850 W power supply would be sufficient for three-way SLI arrays, but that option would only be completely safe at a more conservative overclock.

Our attempts to get more air across our CPU heat sink in the NZXT Phantom 410 (without spending money on additional fans) were not able to overcome the chip's higher thermal output or the cooler's lower performance. As a result, its temperatures are barely within the bounds of what we'd call acceptable.

This quarter's build outperforms last quarter's, even in the average of game tests (a result of the lower resolutions used for comparison against the other two builders' machines). Don't worry, though. We’ll discuss our results at 2560x1600 in the conclusion.

Each of our application suites (games, encoding, productivity) make up 30% of our average performance number, while real-world-based synthetic storage tests make up the other 10%. The better performance of today's build, unfortunately, is not enough to offset its higher power consumption, and its comparative efficiency is down by up to 28%!

React To This Article