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Build It Yourself: A Mini-ITX Gaming System For Just Over $500

Power Consumption

Modest Numbers: PSU and Power Consumption

We calculated a total system power consumption for this build at about 120 W, and we weren’t too far off. The finished system ends up drawing a maximum of 112 W from the wall socket.

A closer look at the 12 V rail reveals that our build’s power consumption falls almost completely into the PSU's optimal range. This conservative power draw is in spite of the absence of an 80 PLUS certification. For the sake of comparison, we also tried an 80 PLUS Gold-rated 450 W supply. It drew six watts more at idle and two watts less at full load. Certificate or not, this system’s standby power consumption is less than 0.5 W.

Our build's 90 W maximum power consumption under normal gaming conditions is in a class of its own. We haven’t been able to even approach this number using an AMD APU paired with discrete graphics. That also means Intel’s solution requires less cooling, which is certainly a boon in such a cramped form factor.

Our decision to use MSI's B75IA-E33 motherboard turned out to be a really good one for low power consumption. We also benchmarked a competing Z77 Express-based board and found it drawing nine watts more. With Eco mode turned on, our system's power consumption remains just north of 30 W at idle, despite its mechanical hard drive, 8 GB of memory, and discrete graphics card.