Power Consumption And Temperatures
We enabled power-saving features on both rigs and didn’t override automatic fan controls during testing. In effect, we traded higher core temperatures for quieter fan operation.
Both systems are driven by the same Antec VP-450 power supply, which offers respectable efficiency, despite the fact that it lacks an 80 PLUS certification.
Although idle consumption was only 50.2 W last quarter, and 50.1 W back in June of last year with a Core i3-2100 and Radeon HD 6850 under the hood, this marks the first time our budget gaming PC pulls less than 50 W from the wall. Outfitted with a higher-clocked Pentium processor, however, today's rig consumes 2 W more at 100% processor load than our previous efforts.
MSI's GeForce GTX 560 reaches a respectable 950 MHz core frequency after a voltage bump to 1.050 V, though that results in a substantial increase in peak power consumption under 3DMark 11.
While the performance of Intel’s bundled heat sink isn't impressive, it does offer quiet operation and adequate cooling for our multiplier-locked processor.
MSI’s dual-fan thermal solution effectively cools the overclocked and overvolted GeForce GTX 560, never ramping up past 53% duty cycle. We also have to keep in mind the greater interior volume of today’s enclosure. Bottom line: GPU temperatures were of little concern on either build, as both GeForce cards had cooling to spare.