Surprisingly, despite the fact the E7200 and E6400 have the same 65W TDP rating, using the E7200 caused the power draw to drop by 14W at idle, 16-22W during video playback and 33W on full load.
I'm not sure what's so surprising. All of Intel's non-Extreme dual-core processors are rated for a 65 W TDP, but testing bears out a wide variation in actual power consumption, even at load (especially given the supralinear relation between clock rate and power consumptionâ€”higher-clocked models in the same line can be expected to consume more power than lower-clocked ones).
It's generally a mistake to equate TDP with actual power consumption; it's just a guideline to system builders to design their cooling solutions around that number, and it allows common cooling solutions to be used for an entire line of processors.
There's a big difference
between the Conroe/Allendale 65 nm processors and the Wolfdale 45 nm processors in terms of power consumption.
A good alternative may be the recently released $85 Pentium Dual-Core E5200. It is also a Wolfdale processor but is clocked slightly slower at 2.5Ghz and is hampered further with less L2 cache and a slower front side bus; it's likely to perform similarly.
Unlike the E7200 it lacks SSE4, which means that codecs that can use SSE4 for decoding will be affected significantly in comparison.
The integrated graphics (GMA X4500HD) do support hardware decode of H.264 and VC-1 via Clear Video Technology, but only in conjunction with PowerDVD or WinDVD
. I imagine you might have trouble utilizing it for computer formats (as opposed to, say, Blu-Ray discs) as well, so I expect that the CPU will be taxed for playback of high-definition high-compression (H.264/VC-1) video, where SSE4 may turn out to be value.
The current version of SpeedFan did not seem to support this board at all. Most of the readings were blank and no amount of tweaking allowed us to initiate manual fan control. Furthermore, Intel does not provide any officially supported monitoring programs.
Intel uses its own new specification (well, new as in it's been around for longer than the past two years and used primarily on Intel motherboards only) called Quiet System Technology, or QST. They have not released the specs for this mechanism, which depends on the embedded Management Engine, which is itself barely documented. This means that SpeedFan is unlikely to support it any time soon.
, however, use Intel's own Desktop Utilities
to monitor temperatures and control fan speeds.