Skip to main content

Overclocking: Core i7 Vs. Phenom II

Power Consumption

Up until this point we’ve established that Intel’s Core i7 920 overclocked to 3.8 GHz is faster than an overclocked Phenom II X4 940 almost across the board. It’s also more expensive, due to its motherboard and DDR3 memory requirement. But where do the two platforms fall with regards to power when overclocked?

At idle, there is no contest. Cool’n’Quiet spins the Phenom II down to about 800 MHz at the Windows Vista Balanced setting. As a result, the entire platforms hovers right around 175 W of power consumption. Enhanced SpeedStep technology isn’t quite as friendly to the Core i7, and we still saw speeds around 1.6 GHz at idle. As a result, the i7 920 build never dropped below 255 W at idle.

Crank up the load, however, and simple math starts working against the Phenom II, as its elevated voltage results in higher power consumption. The gap that existed at idle is gone, and now the 3.64 GHz chip is chewing up 10 more watts than the Core i7 does.

Bear in mind that, most of the time, your system will likely be idling. So overall, the Phenom II is going to be the lower-power solution. However, when the rubber hits the road, it’s just as power-hungry as Intel’s i7, even in light of AMD’s new 45 nm process.

  • Roffey123
    At last a P2/i7 comparison to shut the people whining for one up. In all I think its a fair comparison - although I am disappointed that AMD's OC potential wasn't as good as they made it out to be. But as all overclockers know - not all chips are the same or have the same OC potential.

    The 3DS Max benchmark was puzzling as well, considering that i7 has 8 threads at its disposal. Do you guys have any idea as to why the AMD beat the i7 in that test; despite having only half as many threads?
    Reply
  • unclefester
    I thought it funny they use an ATI card on the Intel board (not that it makes a difference).
    Would have liked to see what the PII can gain or not gain by using the FSB not just the multiplier.
    Didn't see anything about memory timings either. As most PII OC's have been done at @880MHz.
    Overall a decent review.
    So Ford vs Chevy goes on.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    I would love to see a high end overclocked Core 2 Quad 9 series in the tests here to see a price comparison - cheaper and already established platform etc.

    Also note that i7 platform should also feel more alive and responsive (un-benchmarkable) thanks to high memory bandwidths and more threads to balance things out like the P4C's and CL2 Dual Channel DDR1 - reguardless if it performed lower then the AMD A64's at the time it felt more responsive!

    Intel also has that more solid platform to back that CPU and options for Crossfire AND SLi so its more the premium option, but that cheaper AMD setup is too close to the i7 for my liking - a few shifts in prices and models should show an interesting result in the new few weeks.

    AM3 should be interesting, higher headroom + lower power etc (like 939 to AM2).
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Uncle,
    With the Black Edition, that's really the value there. You want to use the multiplier for a clean, easy overclock. Once you've found your ceiling, use the reference clock to fine-tune the setup.
    Reply
  • vekere
    I hear AMD is going to hire Sylar to look at the new Core i7 processor so this year we will have an answer.
    Reply
  • kschoche
    The WINRAR tests are so close to exactly half the time on the Intel chip compared to the AMD chip that I'd love to see how the results show up if you turn off hyperthreading, not that its a particularly meaningful result, but would be cool to look at still.
    Reply
  • jtnstnt
    I'm curious about the heatsink selection on the Phenom II. I looked up the Ajigo MF091 and it didn't look too impressive. While the Intel system gets the Thermalright 120mm True extreme. Whats up with that?
    Reply
  • jtnstnt
    Please explain.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    jtnstntI'm curious about the heatsink selection on the Phenom II. I looked up the Ajigo MF091 and it didn't look too impressive. While the Intel system gets the Thermalright 120mm True extreme. Whats up with that?
    Heh very good point there, although it depends on wether the limits of the OC was architectural or thermal
    Reply
  • jtnstnt
    I was wondering because i didn't see an explanation in the article.
    Reply