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System Builder Marathon, June 2011: $500 Gaming PC

Power Consumption And Temperatures

Power Consumption

Both of these systems lean on Antec's EA-380D power supply, and we test them with power-saving features enabled. We did have to disable Cool’n’Quiet to overclock last quarter's PC, though.

Taxing both CPU cores and the graphics card using a combination of FurMark and Prime95 gives us a good look at the maximum potential power draw of both boxes.

FurMark tortures graphics card components making VRM temperatures skyrocket, and a growing number of cards cope with this stress by throttling back. As a result, we're shifting away from FurMark in favor of 3DMark 11’s first game test for measuring GPU power consumption in the SBM series.

Undervolting the March PC allowed for a 600 MHz frequency increase with only a 7 W jump in power use under full Prime95 load. Factor in the disappointing graphics overclock, and full system load (between Prime95 and 3DMark 11) was up just 11 W for our March PC. The result was the most efficient AMD-based system our series had ever seen. 

But you haven't seen anything yet. While our current Sandy Bridge-based platform split the performance tests, its super-low power consumption will earn it major points in the efficiency chart!

Though we're using the same mid-tower ATX case and graphics card, the current PC 's ambient temperatures don't peak as high as last-quarter's build.

  • Zero_
    Is it just me or does anyone get a feeling that the SBM rigs are being sold for advertising? :kaola:

    The X4 955 costs $15 less like you said, and allows overclocking even with stock, and $60 would buy a much better equipped AMD board. Also, $185 gets you a HD6870 these days.

    Result? Better FPS per $ for the same price. TBH, that's what I was expecting. I am disappoint.
    Reply
  • spotminer
    Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500 GB, SATA 6Gb/s

    yet the motherboard has only 4 x SATA2 3.0 Gb/s connectors.

    How would you utilize the maximum potential of the hard disk then?
    Reply
  • striker410
    spotminerSeagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500 GB, SATA 6Gb/s yet the motherboard has only 4 x SATA2 3.0 Gb/s connectors.How would you utilize the maximum potential of the hard disk then?Because HDD's cannot saturate even the Sata 3.0Gb/s line. They run at around 120MB/s, but sata II can handle up to 280MB/s or so. It's a cash grab. Means nothing for HDD's.
    Reply
  • spotminer
    striker410Because HDD's cannot saturate even the Sata 3.0Gb/s line. They run at around 120MB/s, but sata II can handle up to 280MB/s or so. It's a cash grab. Means nothing for HDD's.
    I see thanks.
    Reply
  • compton
    I can only hope that the rumor that Intel is currently prepping a K series i3 is true. I'm using a 2500k now, but I think an i3-k would kick ass in the spare 1155 board I've got laying around.

    As far as the June budget build goes, it's really just an alternated Intel flavored version of the March build. As such, some hopeful budget builders may find reasons to go either route. Maybe the best argument against going AMD for the $500 build is the impending release of Llano and Bulldozer. It doesn't make much sense to put together an AMD system at this time -- even if you're looking at the budget area. The Phenom II will continue to be a good value especially if you're updating an older AMD system. It's not that the Phenom/Athlon is so slow as much as Intel's SB is just plain fast and efficient.

    I want an unlocked i3 Intel... please make it happen.
    Reply
  • buzznut
    An unlocked i3, that would be cool. I might even buy one, AMD fan that I am!
    Reply
  • lott11
    It looks like someone was doing a all Intel promo.
    What software can utilize hyper threaded cores.
    Not on any gamers PC'S much less on MS 64 bit at an entry level.
    Granted at high end, they do make a great deal of difference but not at entry level.
    And since when is power conservation a consideration for a gamer.
    Reply
  • Zero_
    An i3 k model coming out about now would effectively kill AMD at this price point. If you get a good OC'able processor now, odds are you wont be changing platforms in a couple of months.
    Reply
  • mightymaxio
    lott11It looks like someone was doing a all Intel promo.What software can utilize hyper threaded cores.Not on any gamers PC'S much less on MS 64 bit at an entry level.Granted at high end, they do make a great deal of difference but not at entry level.And since when is power conservation a consideration for a gamer.
    Um lets see, unreal 3 can use hyperthreading, battlefield bad company 2 and battlefield 3 take advantage of hyperthreading, many games such as wow now take advantage of it. Need i go on.
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl
    zero_Is it just me or does anyone get a feeling that the SBM rigs are being sold for advertising? The X4 955 costs $15 less like you said, and allows overclocking even with stock, and $60 would buy a much better equipped AMD board. Also, $185 gets you a HD6870 these days.Result? Better FPS per $ for the same price. TBH, that's what I was expecting. I am disappoint.I still think the i3-2100 was the right choice...

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-core-i3-2100-phenom-ii-x6-1075t,2859-10.html
    For a gaming oriented build at this price point, these lower end Sandy Bridge processors can't be beat. Even when you factor in the overclocking potential of similarly priced AMD processors (Phenom II X4 955 or 965) I don't think it's enough to defeat the i3-2100 in the games where it matters most. Even when it comes to multitasking and and multithreaded workloads, the dual-core Sandy Bridge is still very performance competitive, which is kind of sad from an architectural standpoint (quad-thread i3 vs quad-core Phenom II).

    If this build were targeted at workstation applications however, I think you could definitely make the argument that AMD offers a viable alternative with the additional cores. But again, this is a gaming oriented build.
    Reply