System Power Draw Tests and Overclocking
AMD's latest Athlon II CPUs are built on a 45nm manufacturing process.
It will be interesting to see if this, and re-architecting of the Athlon
II's microprocessor reduce power draw significantly compared to Intel's CPUs.
As always, before any power measurements are taken the
CPU power saving and clock speed throttling technologies like Cool 'n' Quiet,
EIST (speedstep) and C1E power states are disabled. PCSTATS then set about
stressing each core of the processor one by one, until all cores were loaded.
For this we used Stress
Prime (SP2004). The total system power
consumption, measured in Watts, is monitored with an Extech Power Analyzer
Datalogger (model 380803). The power meter is located between the main 120AC
supply and the PC's power supply so it measures the entire computer system, the
difference between CPU loaded and unloaded states is the key value to pay
Total idle system power draw for the Athlon II X2 250 test system is 128W, which is the lowest power
consumption we've seen from an AMD processor for quite some time. Moving down
to 45nm has definitely helped keep the Athlon II's typical power consumption
|Total System Stressed
Power Draw - All Cores/Threads|
System Power Draw (All Cores)|
|Intel Pentium 4 540
|| 223 Watts|
|Intel Pentium D 840 (2 Core )
|| 240 Watts|
|Intel Pentium D 940 (2 Core Load)
|| 253 Watts|
|Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (2 Core Load)
|| 156 Watts|
|Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 (2 Core Load)
|| 163 Watts|
|Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (2 Core Load)
|| 158 Watts|
|Intel Core i7 920 (8 Thread Load)
|| 158 Watts|
|AMD Sempron 3600+
|| 148 Watts|
|AMD Athlon64 4000+
|| 172 Watts|
|AMD Athlon64 FX-60 (2 Core Load)
|| 196 Watts|
|AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ (2 Core Load)
|| 173 Watts|
|AMD Athlon64 X2 5000+ (2 Core Load)
|| 207 Watts|
|AMD Athlon64 FX-62 (2 Core Load)
|| 235 Watts|
| AMD Athlon II X2 250 (1
|| 146 Watts|
| AMD Athlon II X2 250 (2
|| 163 Watts|
|AMD Phenom II X2 550 (2 Core Load)
|| 181 Watts|
|AMD Phenom II X3 720 (3 Core Load)
|| 213 Watts|
|AMD Phenom II X4 955 (4 Core Load)
|| 236 Watts|
The two cores of the Athlon II X2 250
were next stressed and the total system power draw measured at
single and dual-core CPU loads. Under load the Athlon II PC test system was
significantly more efficient than AMD's previous dual-core chips, although some
of Intel's Core 2 Duo processors are still more wattage friendly.
Overclocking: Will 45nm improve this chip's
The 3.0GHz Socket AM3 45nm AMD Athlon II X2 processor is
based on an architecture with a long and proud overclocking heritage, and
usually when a processor architecture goes through a die shrink, overclocking
potential increases. It'll be interesting to see how this 45nm Athlon II X2 CPU
handles being pushed to the limit.
Before the overclocking tests got underway, a set
of Corsair XMS3-1600C9 memory was first set to run at DDR3-800 MHz mode,
this way it will not hold the CPU back. Keeping the 15x CPU clock multiplier,
the Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard saw its bus speed increased
slowly from 200MHz on up.
Overclocking in 10 MHz increments, the AMD Athlon II X2
250 processor was slowly pushed to 210 MHz... 220... 240... and 250MHz before
the system began experiencing any signs of instability. At that point the
processor voltage had to be increased +0.1V, the CPU NB to +0.1V and memory
+0.25V to stabilize the system.
The AMD Athlon II X2
250 maxed at a motherboard clock speed of 250 MHz (or 3.75 GHz), anything higher
and the system was just too unstable to run.
In the end, PCSTATS was able to squeeze a 750MHz
overclock out of the new 65W, 45nm process technology AMD Athlon II X2
processor. Not bad at all for a chip that costs less than $90!
Now for the bit you've been really looking forward to.
The Athlon II X2 250 is strapped into the test bench, and we've got a full suite
of benchmarks waiting to see how well AMD's new processor line holds up.
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