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Chris Angelini measured just under 90 W of idle power from his Sandy Bridge-E system, which was equipped with a massive 32 GB of RAM and a GeForce GTX 580. The latter is the main reason for the difference in power consumption, as today’s test system centers on an AMD Radeon HD 6850. Voilá: Idle power drops to 62 W, which is the lowest result ever for a high-end multi-core system. The previous Gulftown six-core configuration requires 81 W, while AMD’s Phenom II X6 1100T (as well as the AMD FX-8150) require a bit more than 70 W.
However, peak power of the Intel system goes up to 210 W, which is almost identical to the power consumption of AMD's FX-8150, and slightly above of what we measured for the other processors with six cores. Will the Intel Core i7-3960X be able to make up for this higher power level by its much better performance, or does this impact overall efficiency to the extent that it loses to its competition? We’re about to find out.