How Much Power Does Low-Voltage DDR3 Memory Really Save?

Test System Details

Processor: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T

We used a test system that we’ve already had up and running for a few other articles. The test system is based on AMD’s latest six-core Phenom II X6 1090T processor. This processor runs at 3.2 GHz and implements AMD’s new Turbo CORE feature, which introduces dynamic clock speed adjustment similar to Intel’s Turbo Boost.

Motherboard: Asus Crosshair IV Formula

The Crosshair IV by Asus is based on the AMD 890FX chipset. The platform isn't meant to be a power-saver, but thanks to the chipset, it turns out to be relatively efficient.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
System Hardware
Performance Benchmarks
Motherboard (Socket AMD3)Asus Crosshair IV Formula (Rev. 1.0), Chipset: AMD 890FX, BIOS: 0701 (04/02/2010)
CPU AMDAMD Phenom II X6 1090T (45 nm, 3.2 GHz, 6 x 512 KB L2 and 6 MB L3 Cache, TDP 125 W, Rev. C3)
RAM DDR32 x 2 GB DDR3-1333 (Kingston KHX1600C9D3LK2/4GX 9-9-9-27)
GraphicsSapphire Radeon HD 5850, GPU: Cypress (725 MHz), Graphics RAM: 1024 MB GDDR5 (2000 MHz), Stream Processors: 1440
Hard DriveWestern Digital VelociRaptor, 300GB (WD3000HLFS), 10000 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 16 MB Cache
Power SupplyEnermax Pro 82+, EPR425AWT
System Software & Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate x64 Updated on 2010-03-03
Drivers and Settings
Intel Chipset DriversChipset Installation Utility Ver.
Intel Storage DriversMatrix Storage Drivers Ver. 8.​9.​0.​1023

Keep in mind that all of our components can be considered upper-mainstream hardware typical of a gaming PC or powerful multimedia machine. The components we used aren’t "green" or low-power per se, but they're reasonable. We also made sure to use a suitably efficient power supply.

In the end, we recommend starting to optimize for minimum power consumption. Intel platforms and processors will give you around 5 W to 10 W less idle power. If your apps can get away with it, a less powerful graphics card or even integrated graphics will decrease idle power by another 15 W or more. And an expensive 80 PLUS Silver or Gold power supply will reduce power consumption by a few percent, as well.