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Power Consumption

The new AMD Athlon II X3 CPUs belong to the series of solutions with 95 W TDP. However, not only quad-core Athlon II X4, but also the majority of Phenom II X4 processors boasts the same thermal design power. It means that in reality the new processors should in fact consume less power because at least they have one less core. So what is the actual power consumption of the new Athlon II X3?

To answer this question we performed an additional separate test session. The following numbers show the total power consumption of the tested platforms (without the monitor). During our tests we used 64-bit LinX 0.6.3 utility to load the systems to the utmost extent. Moreover, to ensure that we estimate the power consumption in idle mode correctly we activated all power-saving technologies, such as C1E, Cool'nQuiet 3.0 and Enhanced Intel SpeedStep.

Unfortunately, Athlon II X3 435 based platform cannot compete against the one on Intel Pentium E6500 even in idle mode.

The situation during 100% CPU utilization is even less promising. Athlon II X3 435 based system loses over 40 W to the Intel platform. In other words, if you are planning to save some power, triple-core AMD processors are not the best way to go. Even AMD processors with two cores can offer much better performance-per-watt. However, if we take energy efficiency seriously, then we should probably pay more attention to a few other new AMD processors announced today: Athlon II e-series with 45 W maximum TDP.

Nevertheless, to get a better picture of the situation we also tested the power consumption of the Athlon II X3 435 processor under heavy load without taking into account the rest of the system components. To be more exact, we measured the power consumption along the 12 V power line connected directly to the processor voltage regulator on the mainboard and along the mainboard power lines.

Athlon II X3 435 power consumption really doesn’t go as high as 95 W. But compared with Pentium E6500 its power consumption looks too high: the new AMD processor requires twice as much power, but in a significant number of tests performs slower than the competitor. This way, now that we have tested all the “standard” (meaning non-energy-efficient) AMD CPUs on 45 nm cores we have to conclude that all of them yield to Intel solutions in price-to-performance aspect. Unfortunately, the new Athlon II X3 didn’t turn things around here.

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