Low power consumption PC with 3-4 core CPU

By wert56boom · 9 replies
Aug 13, 2010
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  1. As you can see from title, i would like your ideas which components to use to have as low as possible power consumption when pc idles but still be able to watch hd movies, work with photoshop and web disign and some general office work.

    And it has to be cheap. Really cheap.

    I was thinking about Athlon II x3 and X4 with hd55xx or hd56xx graphic with hmdi output

    is it possible to get deskop pc sub 70 Watts when it idles, but still have 3 or 4 cores? Every review of cpus i read results shows power consumption @idle over 100W.
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,553

    Well, if absolute low power consumption is a priority. I would not bother with AMD. The lowest power consumption numbers reside with Intel 32 nm parts. The Core i3-530 idles @ about 27 watts at the desktop. That puts your number within reach with a very modestly equipped PC. The i3-530 is not a true quad, but it is a dual core with hyperthreading. It's built in graphics will easily run Hi-Def recorded TV and DVD, and probably Blu-Ray as well. Although, I can't speak knowledgeably to that, since I haven't allowed them to sell me Blu-Ray yet.
  3. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    How cheap are you looking for?

    The Athlon II X2 has a 65W TDP compared to the 95W of the X4 variant. I recommend a motherboard that features an integrated graphics platform (IGP) instead of buying a cheap GPU as this will save you a bit of money, and there are plenty of options to choose from.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,553

    OK Rit, 65 watts TDP isn't exactly big news. C2D has been that for ages.
  5. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    No, no!!! I wasn't saying it's big news. I just mentioned it to the OP as he was considering the Athlon II X2 / X4 CPUs. :)

    The i3 530 is a much better CPU but is more expensive.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,553

    Well, I especially like it when the OP creates a scenario where almost nothing, if not nothing, would meet the criterion as specified. "It's gotta, be cheap", it's gotta use almost no electricity", "it's gotta be really powerful". Groovy, that'll be out the year after next, would you like a rain check?

    A PC based on the i-530 would be the most economical to run at this time, while meeting the needs posted. It would be a bit more than our OP is already unwilling to spend. That's not my problem, and two out of three ain't bad.
  7. wert56boom

    wert56boom TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I am looking to spend 280€ max for a machine without monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers.

    athlon II x3 (70-75€), ASrock mobo am3 (40-45€), case + PS(35€ max ), 1TB HDD(67€), DVD unit(20€).
    Maybe i can get older GC with HDMI output for 40-50€ dx10 compatible and i already have 2s sticks of ddr2 Ram so i don't need those. spec like that would cost me around 230€ + graphic card.

    I will do some research to see if there is some cheap mobo with ''good'' integrated GPU IMO they are crap at best, at least those i had experiences with. I don't know about hd5 series.

    For 20-40€ more i can get x3 or x4 e- version, which has TDP of 45W, but a couple of tests i saw showed, they don't really have much of an effect when idle .

    If i go for a i3, than i have to get an expensive ddr3 ram which will set me back for at least 70€, mobo costs at least 25€ more and so does cpu. So i prefer AMD at the moment.

    Maybe i get lucky and find a rig like that on ebay or other sites.
  8. wert56boom

    wert56boom TS Rookie Topic Starter

    i just found this
    Athlon II x2 rig 30watts idle

    w w w.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=58228&sid=202f71167deea7c42358422d00e03bcd#504651
  9. samsarmi

    samsarmi TS Rookie

    Regarding the GPU "question" and since noted you find IGP's "crap", then we go to as originally posted whether HD55xx or HD56xx... The ATI Radeon HD5570 is aok with just 42W power draw. Just go for the 512MB version as the GPU is not powerful enough to make full use of the 1GB (version) which ends up just costing more.

    1. ATI Radeon HD5670 has 61W power draw with some more performance than HD5570.
    2. ATI Radeon HD5550 has 39W power draw but the performance penalty wouldn't make it worth the odd 3W difference.
  10. wert56boom

    wert56boom TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So, finally i've built new PC.

    I went for Athlon II x3 445, Gigabyte Ma785gma-us2h MB, 420 Watt PS, 1tb hard drive and 4x1 gb ddr2 (because i already had 2x1gb ram) and dvd-r/rw unit. I didn't buy graphic card just yet because i have no plan to play games at the moment.

    First thing i wanted to check was power consumption, because it was the most important espect next to cpu power i was interested at. After turning on some power saving options i let my PC to idle while i did some power consumption measuring.

    I can say i am preaty satisfied with results, at idle my PC uses between as low as 44 and up to 51 Watts of power, and with better PS it could get even lower, for instance when i turn my pc off, it still uses 9 Watts of electric power.

    For comparison, my old e4400 with GF 8600GTS 3 gb of ram used at lest 81 watts of power at idle, and when turned off it still used 11 watts of power.

    I can say it is great step forward, hopefully i get top tear PS and improve efficiecy even more.

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