Asus P5N7A-VM: Geforce 9300 IGP

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TEST RESULTS

Our test system was fairly basic, featuring a Core 2 Duo E7200 (45nm, 65W TDP) cooled by an Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 Pro, and a single stick of Corsair memory. The heatsink fan is connected to an external DC fan controller so that the fan's power draw does not come into play. The rest of our test platform consists of an Asus Blu-ray drive, a 5400RPM notebook hard drive, and an OEM Seasonic 400W power supply. The operating system used is Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit).


P5N7A-VM with CPU, memory and heatsink installed.

We tested the board with the CPU at stock settings with SpeedStep enabled and underclocked to 1.2GHz with the minimum stable voltage which turned out to be 0.93125V. It should be noted that our CPU is stable at 0.85000V on other boards.

Test Results: Asus P5N7A-VM
Test State
E7200 @ 2.53GHz (EIST)
E7200 @ 1.2GHz (0.93125V)
Mean
CPU Use
Peak
CPU Use
System Power
Mean
CPU Use
Peak
CPU Use
System Power
Off
N/A
2W
N/A
2W
Sleep (S3)
N/A
3W
N/A
3W
Idle
N/A
41W
N/A
39W
Rush Hour
6%
11%
~45W
7%
15%
~44W
Coral Reef
11%
37%
~49W
37%
50%
~45W
Flight Sim.
41%
55%
~53W
75%
90%
~50W
Drag Race
53%
64%
~53W
78%
88%
~49W
Disturbia*
32%
50%
~54W
44%
71%
~50W
Prime95
N/A
67W
N/A
50W
Prime95 + ATITool
N/A
68W
N/A
54W
*Our only Blu-ray title was played directly off the disc so CPU usage and system power measurements are a slightly higher than if it were played off the hard disk.

At stock settings, the system idled at 41W, drew between 45W and 54W during video playback, and pulled a modest 68W at full load. Stressing the IGP did not significantly increase power consumption. The GeForce 9300 graphics chip did not have any problems with our test suite, passing it with flying colors. The CPU usage was relatively low during video playback, and  the CPU stayed at 1.6GHz (thanks to SpeedStep) during the majority of playback except in the case of the Flight Simulator and Drag Race clips when it increased to its full 2.53 GHz frequency. We did not encounter any playback problems with our Blu-ray title, HDCP-related or otherwise.

At 1.2GHz and 0.93125V, power consumption was 2W less at idle, about 4W during video playback (except during the Rush Hour clip) and approximately 15W lower on full load. Despite the extremely low clock speed (none of Intel's desktop dual core processors are less than 1.6GHz), our entire video test suite played smoothly without any problems.

Test Results:
Asus P5N7A-VM vs. Asus P5Q-EM @ 2.53GHz/EIST
Test State
P5N7A-VM (GF9300)
P5Q-EM (GMA X4500)
Mean
CPU Use
System Power
Mean
CPU Use
System Power
Off
N/A
2W
N/A
2W
Sleep (S3)
N/A
3W
N/A
3W
Idle
N/A
41W
N/A
44W
Rush Hour
6%
~45W
55%
~53W
Coral Reef
11%
~49W
39%
~51W
Flight Sim.
41%
~53W
49%
~54W
Drag Race
53%
~53W
63%
~55W
Prime95
N/A
67W
N/A
74W
Prime95 + ATITool
N/A
68W
N/A
76W

Few boards we have tested can claim the functionality of the P5N7A-VM — the one that comes closest is the Asus P5Q-EM. They are both from the same manufacturer, and they have similar feature-sets and prices. It the closest we can get to a direct nVidia to Intel chipset comparison without using reference boards.

At stock speeds, the P5N7A-VM is more power efficient across the board. It had a savings of 3W at idle, 8W during H.264 playback, and 7-8W fully loaded. It required fewer CPU cycles to play our test clips — a testament to the strength of nVidia's GeForce 9300 video subsystem. Overall, it's the most efficient mATX LGA775 board we've ever come across.

Test Results:
Asus P5N7A-VM vs. Asus P5Q-EM @ 1.2GHz
Test State
P5N7A-VM (GF9300)
P5Q-EM (GMA X4500)
Mean
CPU Use
System Power
Mean
CPU Use
System Power
Off
N/A
2W
N/A
2W
Sleep (S3)
N/A
3W
N/A
3W
Idle
N/A
39W
N/A
41W
Rush Hour
7%
~44W
59%
~47W
Coral Reef
37%
~45W
38%
~46W
Flight Sim.
75%
~50W
67%
~48W
Drag Race
78%
~49W
73%
~48W
Prime95
N/A
50W
N/A
51W
Prime95 + ATITool
N/A
54W
N/A
55W

The P5N7A-VM could not run our E7200 processor stably at 1.2 GHz with any less than 0.93125V (the P5Q-EM required only 0.85000V). As such, the P5N7A-VM's superior power efficiency all but evaporated when compared in our underclocked 1.2 GHz test. There was only a 1-2W difference between the two boards in this state — not enough to make a meaningful difference — though it should be noted that, even with the higher CPU voltage, the P5N7A-VM was still the more efficient of the two.



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