Intel Quad-core: Clovertown Performance Reviewed
Posted on: 11/11/2006 06:00 AM

Power Consumption

To get an idea of overall power consumption for the platforms we are looking at in this article, I used an Extech 380803 power meter to measure wattage used at idle and under 100% load. Only the machine itself was connected to the meter (no monitor, etc) to better isolate actual power draw on a system level. I used the multi-cpu rendering test from CINEBENCH 9.5 (x64) as the load. Power saving settings and drivers were enabled and installed for both Intel and AMD platforms throughout the tests.



All three Intel-based platforms used the exact same component setup, so the power differences you see are strictly differences in the power draw of the processors themselves (and added fan loads for additional cooling). The Opteron setup was the odd man out in this test. To be honest, with smaller fans (2x 80mm and 2x active HSF) and a smaller PSU (510w), the Opteron machine should've started with a significant power advantage over the Intel system (700w PSU, 120mm and 92mm fans).

Conclusions

I think it is safe to assume that not everyone will feel compelled to "upgrade" to quad-core right away. We've seen instances where having fewer, faster cores (Woodcrest) offers better performance than Clovertown's greater number of (slightly) slower cores. It doesn't seem like this will be the case for long, though. We've been preaching it here at 2CPU.com for over seven years, but recently the industry has started a migration towards multi-core, and software publishers are taking note. Even game developers are hopping on the bandwagon, and as we see more threaded applications hit the streets, the real benefits of quad-core will become apparent.

That's not to say that there isn't a market for quad-core right now. For users who use multi-threaded software and still want to multi-task, quad-core is a very appealing option. In high-demand business applications and servers, quad-core is a no-brainer. I think that virtualization, though, will be quad-core's "killer app".

As technology has been rapidly increasing, the IT industry has made a big shift towards virtualization. In that space, quad-core offers HUGE benefits. With this sort of power-on-tap and more and more mature virtualization solutions, I think we're starting to see the swell of a tidalwave that will change the face of IT infrastructure as we know it.

But... That's a subject for another article.


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