When I was swapping my motherboard in for a different one, I found something interesting. I used my kill-a-watt to measure how much my old motherboard + CPU + memory was using compared to my new (used) one.
I swapped out a Pentium D 930 (yes, I know, old hardware, but it served its purpose) with a Core2Duo T5500. Impressive! The motherboards are nothing impressive (read: I forgot the brand and model), and the only thing noting was the difference in memory: from 2 GB to 4 GB. Other than that, they are pretty similar in performance (I measured with 3DMark2006: 6500-ish vs 7100-ish, respectively).
The interesting thing wasn’t the power usage difference between them (well, I expected a drop in power usage and got it), but the difference in power usage when I used a 400 W PSU with the new setup compared to a 500 W PSU. For the record, the only thing I changed was the PSU. No settings changed, no other hardware changed. I didn’t even run windows updates in between them. Unfortunately, I don’t have the numbers for the D930 with the 500W PSU, because I already swapped it for the other motherboard when I thought about trying that.
In the table below you can see power usage that I measured (it was oscillating a bit sometimes (a few percentage of the total), I took a number that looked average). The activities are: Busy (Battlefield: Bad Company 2, ingame), Idle (Windows desktop, no programs running), Windows Standby (as the name implies), Off (shutdown, cable plugged in).
Anyway, the measurements:
|Activity||Pentium D 930 400W||C2D T5500 500W||C2D T5500 400W|
|Busy||210 W||145 W||120 W|
|Idle||133 W||85 W||69 W|
|Windows Standby||121 W||6 W||4 W|
|Off||3 W||6 W||3 W|
As expected, there is some difference between the Pentium D930 and the C2D T5500 (max 115 W, min 3 W), even forget that the D930 is terrible at being Standby (I mean: 121 W? really?) but look at the difference between the same C2D with a 400 W and 500 W PSU (max 25 W, min 2 W). I guess the 400 W PSU I have is more power efficient. By the way, I rechecked 3DMark2006 for both the 400 W and 500 W PSU, both are around 7100-ish, so no big change there.
Update: 400 W PSU is FSP Group Inc, 500 W PSU is Coolermaster