Yes, we are interested in looking at products solely on the basis of efficiency, since it represents an area that is relatively unexplored.
Regarding this review in particular, I would love to be able to explore the effects of power consumption on thermals, but how do you suggest I go about doing this? Even a 15W difference is unlikely to make much more than a degree or two of difference, especially since it is likely to be spread over the whole motherboard. There are real questions of methodology and relevance that would need to be answered before I could answer questions about the direct effect of MB power consumption on noise levels. Suggestions?
I thought about why the review hadnâ€™t looked at thermals before posting on this thread and decided that you must have considered that power differences of between 17W and 24W werenâ€™t significant because the power sources on a motherboard are not localised in the way that say a CPU is; as you yourself also mentioned.
That seems a reasonable assumption to me, but, I do like the rigor of testing assumptions to see how they actually stand up.
Looking at the A8N32-SLI Deluxe, one of the chipsets and the heat-spreader are close to the CPU socket, so I guess it will have some affect on CPU temps.
One idea for a thermal test would be the following:
Build a system using a small ATX compatible HTPC case and use a low power mATX motherboard. Add the hottest components that you can whilst still being able to cool the system (virtually) silently. Then swap the motherboard for the A8N32-SLI Deluxe and see if the temps vary. If the temps climb enough so that the fans need to be turned up above their acoustic sweet spot then we have an issue.
The hardest part is in choosing the maximum safe temperatures for the system and CPU that will be used for calibrating the baseline power level that the system can cool quietly. Itâ€™s a very subjective issue.
If the A8N32-SLI Deluxe doesnâ€™t have a negative impact in this scenario, then itâ€™s unlikely to prove an issue in the real-world, as the above setup isnâ€™t likely to be commonly used.