Thursday, April 21, 2011

My PC Power Consumption

Some time ago I bought and posted about buying a PM230 from brennenstuhl.

It's been sitting dormant for bloody ages in a box. But last night I finally decided to put it to good use.

About 2 weeks ago my 2nd hand and trusty Nvidia 8800GT blew up and I replaced it with this beaty - Gainward GTX 460 GLH 1024 MB from Overclockers.

This goes into my aging rig that I bought and put together in Jan of 2008.

Asus M2A-VM HDMI, AMD 690G+SB600, HDMI,Socket-AM2,m-ATX,DDR2,Firewire,PCI-Ex16

Corsair TWIN2X 6400C4 DDR2, 2048MB CL4, Kit w/two 1GB Dimm's, E.P.P Technology

Corsair Powersupply 550W Black, ATX/EPS, 120mm Fan, 4xSATA, SLI, WxHxL

Gigabyte iSolo Black, ATX/mATX

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ 2.5GHz Socket AM2, 1MB, BOXED w/fan

A decent rig at the time for its price and (a tad under £300, delivered) still does reasonably well but the processor is now getting long in the tooth, the CPU fan is also starting to get a bit noisy.

Anyway I started looking at giving the old rig a bit of a boost.

First up I ordered another 2GB ram for ~£30, not too bad considering DDR2 prices at the moment.

Then I started looking at the processor options. Plenty to choose from as listed here. What I soon found out was that getting hold of these processors is another thing altogether. The fasted processor the board could take was the Phenom IIX4 945 (HDX945WFK4DGM), the 95W edition, but as it turns out they are near impossible to find and listing pretty pricey at £130 (usually out of stock). So I started to drop down through the list without any luck on the X4 or X3 processors. The I happened by pure chance to see that had this beauty in stock and at a very reasonable ~£65.

The AMD Phenom II X2 Dual Core 555 3.20GHz Black Edition (Socket AM3) - Retail [HDZ555WFGMBOX] looks like it will push to 4Ghz very easily and there's potential to unlock the third and forth cores (not with this mobo though, but gives me options later).

This those arriving soon I was a little worried about whether my 550W power supply could handle the new GPU, additional Ram and new 80W processor (the 4800+ is a 65W).

So I plugged the rig into the PM230 from brennenstuhl and set it to show the Wattage used.

The results surprised and pleased me.

At windows desktop doing the usual browsing the rig consumed no more than 130W, not bad considering the GPU and 4 HDDs, USB keyboard, wireless mouse, webcam, printer and charging my iPod.

Next was to put it under load, I downloaded 3D Mark '11 and ran the restricted demo, that pushed the rig up to a max of 280W and hovering around 260W.

The CPU test - physics test ran at about 180W (1-3 fps) clearly showing the shortcomings on my ageing processor.

Next I fired up my WWII themed Day of Defeat : Source, a half-life 2 based first person shooter similar to CS:S. This used DX9 and with AA and AF both at 2X at full res and everything else set to high I was getting a clean and solid 60fps. The gfx card fan does not go past 40% playing this, the load is very low and this is reflected in the power consumption where it never went over 200W while playing for a solid 20 mins on 32 player server, I forget the map, probably Donner (UKCS servers).

The new 80W Phenom II X2 should arrive today. But I probably won't be able to swap it out until Saturday as I'm out tonight and tomorrow. I will report back the new consumption rates at stock speed and also with a bit of over-clocking. The ram should arrive Saturday too.

Update: 29 April. It's been a week or so, had a problem with one of the new ram modules. Getting them replaced, hopefully will arrive tomorrow.

Anyway, the new numbers. As I speak I'm using a steady 116W, That's with Windows 7 x64, 2 GB ram, the Phenom @ 3.2 GHz (Stock speed). Posting this via Firefox 4 x32. Nothing else open. I have the usual tray icons, Antivirus, Nvidia and Steam currently open.

DOD:S - I've manage to get a very good 140fps (up to 299 on some clean sniper maps) with 8x AA and 8x AF. Very impressive. Under that load I'm pushing 223 Watts. (205W with 2x AA and 2x AF but no real improvement in FPS)

Under full load of 3D Mark it goes as high as 281W, with the CPU test pushing 6+ fps it maxed at 154W.

yet to do the numbers for COD4 but was getting extremely good fps.

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