With power limits of CPUs and graphics cards climbing ever higher, and news reports of chips hitting sky-high temperatures appearing almost weekly, it seems that now is as good a time as any to ask a simple question – just how hot is too hot for today's PC components?
Every few years new processors with ever-higher demands for energy are launched. Is 250W for a CPU too high? Should any GPU need 450W? Let's peel off the heatsinks to look at the truth behind power numbers.
A big point of contention with Zen 4 CPUs is that they run very hot. AMD says it's all by design, but how about we throw a basic air cooler to see if the 7600X throttles when under load?
The big picture: Since the announcement of Nvidia's RTX 40-series graphics cards, some consumers have been curious or even worried about their power supply, wondering if it can safely run a new GPU. Thankfully, Nvidia has cleared the air and reassured users regarding the power requirements for its cards.
The first 3D graphics cards appeared 25 years ago and since then their power and complexity have grown at a scale greater than any other microchip found in a PC. In going from one million to billions of transistors, smaller dies, and consuming more power, the capabilities of these behemoths is immeasurably greater, but what can we learn about efficiency?
Today we're going to perform some AMD TRX40 motherboard VRM thermal testing using the powerful 64-core Threadripper 3990X. To apply load we're using Blender with the system running at stock and overclocked to 3.8 GHz. The typical power draw for this system is around 450 watts, but once overclocked we are hitting as much as 850 watts. Toasty!
Today we're revisiting our original Core i9-9900K review and updating it with 95 watt TDP limited results, basically results based on the official Intel specification. For better context about this please read our opinion article from earlier this week titled "Do We Need to Re-Review the Core i9-9900K?".