Power And Pricing
At idle, AMD’s Athlon 64 X2 5400+ manages to achieve the lowest consumption numbers—a mere 70 W. The Intel platform sips 76 W, while Nvidia’s GeForce 9300 edges up past 80 W. Crank up the performance, though, and consumption quickly rises on the 790GX-based board. Meanwhile, the Intel and Nvidia boards hit 109 and 113 W, respectively. Overall, Intel holds the edge in power consumption against Nvidia, if only by a few watts.
Bear in mind also that dropping a GeForce GTX 260 or 280 into a 9300-based platform will not save you additional power as the system idles. Nvidia disclosed to us that it is satisfied enough with advances made to the power consumption of its newest GPUs that it won’t support Hybrid Power on the GeForce 9300. That feature didn’t last long, did it?
All of the hardware in this three-way comparison is the same, save motherboards, processors, and the add-in graphics cards used to test GeForce Boost and Hybrid CrossFire. That makes it easy to size up these solutions based on their cost.
According to Nvidia, GeForce 9300-based motherboards will be priced in the neighborhood of $100. Add the Core 2 Duo E7200 we used for testing, and you’re looking at a $220 combination. Pair the ASUS M3A78-T 790GX board and the Athlon 64 X2 5400+ we used and you’re looking at $227—right around the same neighborhood. Finally, combine the Intel DG45ID and Core 2 Duo E7200 for a total price of $230, just a couple of dollars more expensive. So, you have three different choices within a $10 range—which do you pick?