Articles: Graphics

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Power Consumption

Trinity graphics core indisputably outperforms the graphics in contemporary Intel processors. However, what is the price of this success? As we know, AMD processors have never been particularly energy-efficient. And the APU could actually use low power consumption: these hybrid processor often end up in compact systems, such as HTPC. AMD doesn’t talk much about energy-efficiency in respect to Trinity. It is also manufactured using the same production process as Llano, and the official TDP also remained unchanged. Does it mean that power consumption and heat dissipation of the new Trinity processors are the same as by Llano?

To answer this question we performed a round of special tests. The new digital power supply unit from Corsair – AX1200i – allows monitoring consumed and produced electrical power, which we use actively during our power consumption tests. The graphs below (unless specified otherwise) show the full power draw of the computer (without the monitor) measured after the power supply. It is the total power consumption of all the system components. The PSU's efficiency is not taken into account. The graphics cores of the tested processors were loaded by FurMark 1.9.1 utility. Moreover, we enabled Turbo mode and all power-saving technologies to correctly measure computer's power draw in idle mode: C1E, C6 and AMD Cool’n’Quiet.

In idle mode the Socket FM2 system with AMD A10-5800K processor consumes about the same power as the system with AMD A8-3870K, i.e. a little less than an Intel system with Core i3-3225.

Under full graphics load Trinity starts to lose its ground a little bit. The graphics in this APU is faster than that in Llano, but it is also more power-hungry. The power consumption difference is very noticeable and reached as much as 20 W. Intel’s processor with HD Graphics 4000 becomes an example of energy-efficiency here. No wonder, since it is not only manufactured using finer technology, but also has half the TDP of AMD processors.

Another type of operational load – HD video playback. Here all platforms consume about the same amount of power as they do in idle mode. As a result, Trinity scores really high here: the power consumption of the A10-5800K based platform is very close to that of a platform with Core i3-3225. In other words, the graphics core of the new Trinity processors is only hungry for power under serious operational load.

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