Low-Power Face-Off: AMD's Athlon X2 Vs. Intel's Core 2 Duo

Efficiency: 3DMark/PCMark Vantage

We calculated the efficiency score by dividing the overall performance by the consumed energy in Watt-hours. Clearly, the low-power Intel quad cores don’t do as well as expected, as their power requirement isn’t proportional to the performance increase. The regular AMD Athlon 64 X2 5400+ BE has no chance, while the Athlon X2 5050e still does rather well.

Have a look at the efficiency diagram to analyze power consumption at any given point of the benchmark run. The diagrams also show which products were quickest in 3DMark Vantage.

PCMark Vantage

While the efficiency score was assisted by AMD’s 780G graphics unit in the case of the 3DMark Vantage score, the CPUs were on their own now. Consequently, neither AMD processor can compete with any of the Intel products—they are slower, while also consuming more power for this workload. We also found it interesting to see that the score per watt-hour is so similar for all four Intel processors. Obviously, performance and power consumption scale very well on the Core 2 family.

The Athlon 64 X2 5400+ BE is rather power hungry, as it required the most energy throughout this benchmark run, without finishing quicker than the other products. The Core 2 Quad Q9550s system requires roughly the same power during PCMark Vantage as the Athlon X2 5050e, which is interesting. The Athlon is probably slow enough to force it to stay away from idle state most of the time, while the Intel quad-core can return to this power efficient state more often.