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Power Consumption

We performed our power consumption measurements using an Extech Power Analyzer 380803. This device is connected before the PSU and measures the power draw of the entire system (without the monitor), including the power loss that occurs in the PSU itself. In the idle mode we start the system up and wait until it stops accessing the hard disk. Then we use LinX to load the CPU. For a more illustrative picture there are graphs that show how the computer power consumption grows up depending on the number of active execution threads in LinX (both at the default and overclocked system settings). The mainboards on the diagrams are sorted out in alphabetical order.

We often point out that on many mainboards certain power-saving technologies are disabled by default. Therefore, besides power consumption in nominal mode with all default settings, we also measured the power consumption of test systems with all power-saving technologies (including the proprietary ones) manually enabled. The difference between these two tests is usually quite obvious, but in case of MSI Big Bang-XPower II we detected a very slight lowering of the power consumption in idle mode. As we have already mentioned, the CPU works with non-nominal settings in the default mode, but if we reset it to all standard defaults, then Micro-Star’s proprietary power-saving technologies will get disabled. In fact, the board could have been more energy-efficient, but unfortunately, it is unable to show its best because of some BIOS issues.

The following numbers can confirm the point made above: our measurements showed that the board consumed around 95 W in idle mode with default settings and around 92 W with all power-saving technologies manually enabled, although these numbers could be 88 and 85 W respectively. As a result, if we compare the power consumption of our testing participants in idle mode, then MSI Big Bang-XPower II won’t differ that much from all the others, except for uniquely energy-efficient Intel board.

If we turn on all power-saving features, then the power consumption of all mainboards drops, but it practically doesn’t change for MSI Big Bang-XPower II and this is where it starts looking worse than the rest of the competitors, though the difference is not dramatic.

We were forced to overclock the CPU on MSI Big Bang-XPower II mainboard without any changes in the processor Vcore, the obtained results were the lowest, so it is no surprise that its power consumption in this mode is relatively low. However, look how significant the difference is between MSI and ASRock, which overclocked the processor 100 MHz higher? The difference in power consumption is enormous. Obviously, overclocking without changing the CPU Vcore does have its benefits in those cases when low power consumption is key. In fact, a few years ago we dedicated an entire article to the power consumption of overclocked processors, in order to investigate this matter in detail.

Conclusion

All manufacturers try to present their products in the best way. Therefore, you will never come across any mention of the fact that MSI mainboards are the only ones out there that are unable to change the processor Vcore in Offset mode. Therefore, no one will ever tell you that MSI Big Bang-XPower II is so huge that there are very few cases out there that can actually accommodate it. However, it looks like no one really thought about possible incompatibility when they designed MSI Big Bang-XPower II. And that is because this mainboard wasn’t intended for common everyday work inside a system case. It is a platform for extreme overclocking experiments and breaking records, and therefore there is no need for normal dimensions, nominal settings or power-saving modes. In fact, I think this line from one of the recent press-release could be a good illustration of the situation today: “ASRock, one of the three largest mainboard makers…” That’s it: ASRock has already become No.3, and it looks like MSI lost its positions in the top-three category. Of course, there are many ways to attract attention in the overclocker and enthusiast world, but unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook the fact that despite multiple advantages, the sales of MSI mainboards continue to drop and the company has really hard time maintaining its position in the market. Does it mean that something is wrong with MSI mainboards after all?

 
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