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Power And Efficiency

System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2009: System Value Compared

We knew that AMD’s new graphics cards were far more efficient than the previous generation, but were still surprised to find the $1,300 build, complete with Core i5, with the lowest power consumption. Its ability to overclock using lower-than-stock voltage gave its overclocked configuration an equally impressive second-place finish in power savings.

We need to calculate average performance in order to find efficiency. The overclocked $2,500 PC takes a big lead here, though the overclocked $1,300 system beats its stock-speed performance.

Using the $700 PC as a baseline, we divided relative performance by relative power consumption and found the $1,300 build supreme once again.

High clock speed and relatively low voltage allow both the $1,300 and $700 systems to gain efficiency from overclocking, while the difficult-to-overclock processor in the $2,500 build exhibits the expected efficiency loss.

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