Power Consumption and Conclusions
Edit: I’ve had a couple people ask for information on how I got these power numbers, so I’ll share here. Using a Seasonic Power Angel reader that reads power consumption at the wall plug, I got the “idle” power consumption numbers from the Windows Desktop and the “load” from a run of CineBench 2003’s rendering test.
The Venice core processor definitely brings some good power savings to the Athlon 64 platform. At idle it comes in at 20 watts lower than the Newcastle core and with a load on the processor, it is actually 37 watts lower! When overclocked, it obviously uses a lot more power under load, a total of 204 watts.
At stock frequencies and voltages, the new Venice core doesn’t offer any performance advantages, even with the inclusion of SSE3 instructions. If you have a specific application that you frequently use that takes advantage of those SIMD instructions, then you may see more improvements than I saw here. The E3 stepping does use significantly less power than the older Newcastle core based on the 130nm process technology and users of SFF cases and power supplies might find that to be very useful. Obviously this means less heat as well.
The Venice core is also the opening for 90nm technology and power savings to reach the upper-end of AMD’s processors. Currently slated to be released in the middle of April, the Venice core is scheduled to be placed at least into the 3800+ model, and I would expect it to go beyond that very soon. Our overclocking results pretty much show that this core is more than capable of reaching higher speeds without a voltage bump being required.
The only anomaly was the consistently lower synthetic memory scores we saw on SiSoft, AID32, Cachemem and ScienceMark. I have no way of knowing why we got these results, but I assume it is caused by the slight changes to the memory controller. Since the controller has been improved for compatibility, it’s possible that they had to pull back some of their more aggressive settings and thus resulting in slower memory tests.
Speaking of overclocking, I can’t help but be incredibly impressed by the results we saw here. While reaching 2.8 GHz with an Athlon 64 has been done before, I don’t know if the same can be said about not having to increase the voltage or upgrade the cooling. The really hardcore overclockers are surely reading this, licking their lips, with their phase change coolers in one hand, and the other hand on their mouse searching for a Venice CPU to buy. Who could pass up a 40% frequency overclock for basically nothing?!?
AMD definitely has another ace up their sleeve with the Venice core — and they’ll be revealing it soon to enthusiasts.
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