|ASRock AOD790GX/128M AM2+ Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Bruce Normann - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 11 March 2009|
Page 14 of 16
Life is not as affordable as it used to be, and items such as fuel and electrical energy top the list of resources that have exploded in price over the past few years. Add to this the limit of non-renewable resources compared to demand and you can see that the prices are only going to get worse. Planet Earth is needs our help, and needs it badly. With forests becoming barren of vegetation and snow capped peaks quickly turning brown, the technology industry has a new attitude towards Green.
ASRock offers its own version of power-saving design, calling it Intelligent Energy Saver. Like most power saving schemes, it reduces clock speed and voltage in tandem. They've also focused on the design of the voltage regulators and are claiming a 16% increase in efficiency. This is a smart approach, because even though the components draw less current when you feed them less voltage, the "extra" voltage has to be dissipated by the voltage regulator; the power supply is still putting out 3.3, 5, and 12 volts.
During the test period, four different conditions were examined. For the first, the power supply was plugged in and switched on (the actual ON/OFF switch on the PSU itself). The system doesn't "turn on" at this point, but the PSU is always supplying 5VDC to pin 9 of the ATX 24 pin power connection, so that the front panel power switch can function. This is known in energy management circles as an energy "Vampire", and the U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that this class of devices and operating modes (Instant On Anything, Wall Warts, Docking Stations, and device displays) can suck up 5-10% of an average home's electricity use. Each test was repeated three times, and the averages are displayed (although each test result was identical to the previous).
The second test was to start the system without the video card installed. This gets the motherboard into Power On Self Test (POST) mode, where it stops and does not continue to boot, due to the VGA error. The integrated video capability can't be completely turned off in the BIOS, so this adds some additional load that doesn't show up on most of the motherboards we've tested here at Benchmark Reviews. This condition is really the minimum possible load for an operational system, which include a HDD, a DVD drive, keyboard, and mouse. I unplugged all the extra case fans for these tests, the only fans running were the CPU cooler fan and the GPU cooler for the third and fourth tests.
The third test is a normal boot into Windows. I looked at the power consumption at the login screen and after login, once the OS was finished loading all the programs, processes and services. It turned out to be the same power draw in this case, once the OS settled down to. The fourth test was a synthetic 100% load, created by the System Stability Test in EVEREST Ultimate Edition, with all loads enabled.
Note: all these tests were performed in the base configuration without the Intelligent Energy Saver software installed or operating.
The results are somewhat higher than the Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P I tested in January, ranging from 15-25% higher. The results were, however, right in line with the results included in the Gigabyte GA-EP45T-EXTREME Motherboard test, published on Benchmark Reviews in August of 2008. Those results included power consumption of several popular motherboards, with a variety of chipsets:
Results for power testing are not completely standardized across our testing platforms, because different supporting hardware (PSU, HDD, SSD, CPU Cooler, Video card, etc.) is used in many of the reviews. Nevertheless, the results for the AOD790GX/128M are very typical of what a mid-level system will require in terms of power consumption, and very consistent with results that others at Benchmark Reviews have obtained with comparable hardware.