Power consumption numbers for my 2011 home machine
It's been about five years since I did my last set of power consumption numbers for a desktop. Since I now actually have a new machine, that makes it time for a new set of numbers. I've tried to make the measurements as comparable with the old numbers as possible, but it's not quite an exact match.
The new machine has a CPU with a nominal 95 watt TDP and an efficient 650 watt power supply (vast overkill, but it came with the case). I don't think there's any particularly power hungry components apart from that, especially as I don't think I managed to stress the graphics card at all.
Watt readings taken from our (consumer) power meter, as in the past:
|in the BIOS's hardware monitor screen
|idle in Linux, with or without the screen blanked
|streaming writes to one disk
|streaming writes to two disks
|one core busy with a simple CPU soaker
|(+34 watts from idle)
|two cores busy
|three cores busy
|all four cores busy
|four cores busy plus streaming writes to both disks
|four cores busy with a CPU soaker plus an OpenGL program (glglobe) doing things
(I tested the power draw when the machine was powered off because the old machine drew three watts at that point. And it's not a difference between power meters; I'm actually using the same power meter I used five years ago.)
The glglobe test was my attempt to find an OpenGL program that would actually make the machine's graphics card actually do anything meaningful (and thus draw as much power as it could, since I've seen this make a clear difference). I suspect that the program wasn't making the card work very hard, plus there is the oddity that the power draw actually dropped compared to the four CPU soakers alone. (And yes, this wasn't a measurement artifact; when I quit glglobe, the power draw immediately jumped up.)
All of this was under Fedora 15 with Gnome 3. I didn't attempt to optimize or change any power profiles from the default setup.
Overall I'm happy to see that under full load the new machine draws no more power than the old machine, and it idles at significantly less power than the old one did (54 watts versus 98 watts). Since I last did this check in an era when machines were drawing more and more power every generation and every year, it's a pleasant change.
(Admittedly I think that five years ago may have been the tail end of that era, when everything started slowing down and people began to care about issues like machine noise.)
PS: if you know a better OpenGL stress test that's packaged for Fedora, let me know.