Power Consumption

We’ve covered in detail across multiple articles the story of Intel’s turbo: about how the TDP on the box doesn’t mean a whole lot, the motherboard you’re using can ultimately determine how long your CPU does turbo for, and how the power limits of the processor are ultimately decided by the motherboard manufacturer’s settings in the BIOS unless you change them. Intel only gives recommendations on peak turbo power and the length of the turbo: the only thing Intel defines is the peak frequency based on load when turbo is allowed.

Talking Intel’s TDP and Turbo
Interviewing an Intel Fellow about TDP and Turbo
Comparing Turbo: AMD and Intel

This means that an extremely conservative system might not allow the power to go above TDP, but the system capable of all the power might allow the processor to turbo ad infinitum. The reality is usually somewhere in the middle, but for a high-end desktop platform, where most of the motherboards are engineered to withstand almost anything that comes at it, we’re going to often see the situation of an elongated or persistent turbo.

It’s worth noting that for consumer workloads, most of the work can happen within a reasonable turbo – and thus sustained performance metrics aren’t that important. But today we are testing high-end desktop hardware, and because Intel doesn’t explicitly define peak turbo power or turbo length (it only provides recommendations that motherboard manufacturers can and do ignore), I obviously asked Intel what it believes that reviewers should do when trying to compare performance. The answer wasn’t very helpful: test with a range of motherboards’.

In our previous review of the Core i9-9900KS, I did two sets of tests: benchmarks at the motherboard default, and tests at the Intel recommended turbo settings. The motherboard defaults, for that motherboard in question, were essentially full turbo all the time. Intel’s recommended settings gave some decreases in the long benchmarks, around 7%, but the rest of the tests were about the same.

For this review, we’re using ASRock’s X299 OC Formula motherboard. This is a motherboard designed for high-end and extreme overclocking, and is built accordingly. As a result, our sustained turbo and power limits are set very high. This is a HEDT system, and most HEDT motherboards are built and engineered this way, and so we expect our results here to be consummate with most users’ performance.

For our power consumption metrics, Intel actually does some obfuscation on its high-end platform. Unlike AMD, we cannot extract the per-core power numbers from the internal registers during a sustained workload. As a result, all we get are total package numbers, which show the cooling requirements of the processor but also include the power consumption of the DRAM controller, uncore, and PCIe root complexes.

The TDP of this chip is 165 W – normally Intel recommends a peak power of 1.25x, which would be 207 W, and so the 189 W value we see is under this. The chip we got is technically an engineering sample, not a retail part, although we usually expect the final stepping engineering samples to be identical to what is sold in the market. Despite this, your mileage may vary.

When we compare this peak to other CPUs:

Power (Package), Full Load

It’s a Cascade of 14nm CPUs: AnandTech’s Intel Core i9-10980XE Review Test Bed and Setup
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  • milkywayer - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    Thank you AMD for strong arming the serial-milker Intel. Price cut from $1900 to $900. Hard to believe Intel would cut down on the core count milking. Am I dreaming?
  • regsEx - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    Mind it was Intel and without any competition who lowered mainstream price from $500 to $300 back in 2011. 3700X would cost $500 now if not that. So thank you, Intel.
  • Spunjji - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    Balderdash. Near the end of 2010 you could get a 6-core AMD Phenom II CPU for $270. By 2011, an "8 core" 4-module Bulldozer cost the same and Intel's products were priced to compete with that.

    So, uh, thanks again AMD..?
  • karmapop - Monday, November 25, 2019 - link

    Sorry, but you may want to dig back into the review archives for some untinted perspective on that info. In fact, you're both incorrect. That mainstream performance pricing shift happened in 2008, with the introduction of the Yorkfield Core 2 Quad chips, and more importantly the Bloomfield Core i7 (with the i7-920 becoming that $300 darling entry point for the enthusiast platform).

    Those mid-2010 Thuban Phenom II X6 chips? Passably competitive with the lowest end quad-core Bloomfield chips (which were already on the market for a year and a half prior). And let's just forget about the dumpster fire that was Bulldozer, given that fabled FX-8150 had trouble matching the old Thuban Phenom II X6 at launch.
  • nt300 - Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - link

    The FX 8350 & FX 8320 Piledriver CPUs saved AMDs bacon and proved to be more than enough for modern PC Gaming back in the day. They held great price/performance and were highly cost effective. Among Steamroller, then Excavator for the APU markets, they've held AMD afloat just in time for the superior ZEN launch. Now sit back and watch Intel finally struggle, deservingly so.
  • yeeeeman - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    They were so crap that AMD could boast 50% better ipc with zen over bulldozer, while still being lower than Skylake.
  • Korguz - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    too bad zen has better ipc then intel now...
  • Gondalf - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    According to the official Spec submissions nope, Zen 2 is on pair with Skylake (bypassing the huge L3). More or less AMD enlarged the L3 just to have the lead, this have a cost obviously, the 7nm silicon is pretty expensive. Try to image a 9900K with 32MB of L3 with the same latency.
    You will have a winner.
  • Korguz - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    sorry but zen 2 does have better ipc then intel does now.. why else does intel need such high clocks to compete with lower clocked chips ?? explain that one.. clock for clock.. zen 2.. has better ipc...
  • Qasar - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    gondalf : According to the official Spec submissions " what spec submissions page ? also.. if you think having a large L3 cache is the reason why zen has more ipc then intel, then there is something wrong. if that was the case, WHY didnt intel do the same with the 10xxx series they just released ? keep in mind, 10xxx series, as 10 megs more of L2 to play around with... lets see you explain that as well.

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