Articles: Mainboards

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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 depending on the number of active execution threads in LinX (both at the default and overclocked system settings). The results of MSI Z77 MPOWER are marked with a darker color for your convenience.

Because of compatibility issues we uncovered in Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH and Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH mainboards with our original CoolerMaster RealPower M850 power supply unit, we had to replace it with Enermax NAXN ENM850EW. Both these PSUs have very similar technical characteristics, but Enermax NAXN ENM850EWT is about 1-3 W more energy-efficient than the Cooler Master unit. In order to be able to use the previously obtained results, we decided to make up for this efficiency difference by adding 2 W to all new power readings, so that we could still compare their results against the power consumption of all previously tested products.

The diagrams show that MSI Z77 MPOWER mainboard demonstrates pretty average power consumption in the nominal mode. However, in reality this isn’t quite true, and the board is, actually, highly energy-efficient. Unfortunately, you can’t see this advantage with the default settings, because in this case the power-saving technologies are only partially operational and “Intel Turbo Boost” works incorrectly. However, as soon as you manually enable all available power-saving modes and return the CPU to its original nominal settings, the board transforms. At only 48 W MSI Z77 MPOWER could easily become the most energy-efficient mainboard in idle mode. Under heavy loads some competitors consume less, but it would still be among the leaders.

In overclocked mode the board looks great, showing lower power consumption than the majority of competitors, because all power-saving technologies remained intact. However, the positive effect from this achievement is overshadowed by the fact that we were unable to overclock our processor to the absolute maximum, since the board doesn’t allow raising the CPU Vcore in Offset mode and therefore we had to overclock without adjusting the CPU voltage.


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