Power And Efficiency
The Core i7-980X is a fairly effective power miser at stock settings, as our entire system consumed only 104W idle and 202W when running 12 Prime95 threads.
Power consumption begins to look ugly when we go beyond 1.35V core, more than doubling by the time we reach 5 GHz. That can’t be a good sign for an overclock that had a peak performance gain of around 50%.
Average performance gains were far smaller than peak gains, with our fastest configuration pushing a mere 20% over stock.
Intel’s no fool when it comes to picking the clock speeds and voltage levels of its high-end products. Articles as recent as our June System Builder Marathon have shown that efficiency can be improved when an overclocked processor’s performance increases more than its power consumption. But the above charts indicates that our smallest increase in voltage might have been a little bit overzealous for a daily-use machine.