Asus M3N78 Pro: Geforce 8300 & HybridPower Explored

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RESULTS WITH PHENOM

We recently received one of AMD's new 65W Phenom 9350E chips recently. This is the lowest power quad-core CPU available; Intel's current lowest has a 95W TDP. For those considering it as a low-cost, low-power quad-core alternative, we tested it out briefly to see if was as energy efficient as claimed.

X2 4850e vs. Phenom 9350E
Test State
X2 4850e @ 2.5Ghz
Phenom 9350e @ 2.0Ghz
Mean CPU Use
Peak CPU Use
System Power
Mean CPU Use
Peak CPU Use
System Power
Idle
1%
2%
37W
1%
2%
50W
Rush Hour
7%
10%
~44W
7%
9%
~64W
Coral Reef
32%
44%
~53W
18%
25%
~72W
Flight Sim.
48%
62%
~67W
30%
39%
~77W
Drag Race
58%
72%
~65W
31%
40%
~79W
CPUBurn x2
100%
93W
50%
91W
CPUBurn x4
NA
N/A
100%
124W
CPUBurn + ATITool
100%
102W
100%
130W

The X2 4850e has a TDP of 45W, so the Phenom 9350e measured as specified. Power consumption during idle and video playback was 10-14W higher, and almost the same with two instances of CPUBurn stressing the CPU. At maximum load with all four cores pushed hard as well as the IGP, the difference was 28W in total system AC power or about 22W DC if you assume 80% PSU efficiency.

FAN CONTROL

For customizable fan control, SpeedFan is our application of choice. If properly supported, it can be configured to raise/lower multiple fan speeds to designated limits when any specified temperature threshold is breached.


EasyTune's Smart Fan configuration screen.

The screenshot above shows the correlation between SpeedFan's readings and the temperature and fan speed sensors. Most of the readings in SpeedFan were corroborated by Asus' PC Probe utility. Please note that though there is a "MB" sensor, it did not seem to correlate to the chipset temperature. The MB temperature changed very little during testing, even when we placed it on full load or put a 80mm fan blowing over the chipset heatsink.

We found that SpeedFan could be configured to fully control both the CPU and Chassis fan. Setting the PWM modes 1-3 in the Advanced menu from "SmartGuardian" to "Software Controlled" enabled the speed controls. Both headers were controllable from 0 to 100%, except in the case of a PWM fan hooked up to the CPU fan header. A Xigmatek PWM 120mm fan connected to it could only be controlled from between 790 to 1460 RPM approximately.

CPU Fan Speed (RPM)
CPU Temp.
Fan Profile
Silent
Optimal
Perf.
30-42°C
820
830
1220
44°C
820
860
1270
46°C
820
900
1310
48°C
820
980
1340
50°C
840
1070
1430
52°C
870
1180
1430
54°C
950
1240
1430
56°C
1020
1300
1430
58°C
1070
1380
1430
60°C
1120
1420
1430

To test how well the automatic fan profiles worked, we connected the fan on the CPU cooler to a variable DC fan controller set to a relatively low 6V and proceeded to stress the processor using CPUBurn. A Xigmatek PWM 120mm fan was connected to the CPU_FAN header and its speed was monitored and graphed using SpeedFan. Throughout testing, the fan speed increased gradually depending on the CPU temperature.

The range and starting and end speed was basically what differentiated the settings. "Silent" was the most conservative with the fan speed only having a range of 300 RPM and a high threshold temperature near 50°C. "Performance" had a range of only 200 RPM, a high starting speed and a low threshold temperature. "Optimal" used the fan's entire range as the CPU heat up. The Chassis fan header produced very similar graphs — it exhibited the same basic behavior as outlined above.



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