Asus M4A78T-E AM3 motherboard

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TEST RESULTS

Our test system features a Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition with unlocked multiplier, a Zerotherm Zen FZ120 CPU cooler with Nexus 120mm fan connected to a variable DC fan controller so the fan's power draw does not come into play. The rest of the system consists of two sticks of Corsair Dominator DDR3 memory running at 1333MHz (9-9-9-24) in dual channel, an Asus Blu-ray drive, a 5400RPM notebook hard drive and an OEM Seasonic 400W power supply. 128MB of system memory was assigned to the IGP in addition to the included SidePort memory.

Test Results
Test State
X3 720 BE @
2.8Ghz (C&Q)
X3 720 BE @
1.6Ghz (0.9125V)
Mean
CPU
System Power
Mean
CPU
System Power
Off
N/A
2W
N/A
2W
Sleep (S3)
N/A
3W
N/A
3W
Idle
N/A
54W
N/A
50W
Rush Hour
(H.264)
7%
~57W
3%
~56W
Coral Reef
(WMV-HD)
21%
~64W
22%
~56W
Drag Race
(VC-1)
35%
~71W
40%
~58W
Disturbia
(Blu-ray H.264)
20%
~70W
23%
~61W
CPU Load
N/A
117W
N/A
63W
CPU + GPU
Load
N/A
135W
N/A
82W
C&Q minimum state: 800MHz, 1.025V.

With a high speed triple core processor at stock settings, our regular IGP video playback tests were easily handled by the M4A78T-E. Typically we use a lower speed dual core processor to more easily gauge differences in CPU utilization, but there are no dual core processors on the market for AM3 socket yet. Power consumption was fairly good — on average we see idle and CPU load power consumption of 40W and 90-95W respectively on an AM2+ motherboard with a 45W X2 processor. The M4A78T-E with a 95W X3 720 increases power usage by only 15-20W.

The lowest CPU multiplier the BIOS would allow was 8x, resulting in a minimum clock speed of 1.6GHz. We were able to get the CPU stable at this speed with a core voltage of only 0.9125V, lower than the 1.025V the processor runs at when idle using Cool 'n' Quiet (though C&Q reduces the CPU speed to 800MHz when idle). This reduced power consumption when idle and during video playback by 5-10W. CPU usage was comparable underclocked — an AM3 system is overkill for media playback alone.


CPU-Z screenshot: Phenom II X3 720 idling with C&Q functioning.



CPU-Z screenshot: Phenom II X3 720 minimum underclock/undervolt.



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