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Eco Gamer - Energy Efficient PC Gaming Info, Tips and Guides

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Ivy Bridge Previewed, Efficiency On The Rise

Over at AnandTech a few days ago, they released an Ivy Bridge Preview; of the Core i7 3770K which had results of both gaming performance and general consumption readings.

The gaming performance of the integrated Intel graphics are still a long way off competing with the AMD APUs, so we are still in the era of the graphics cards for a while yet.

We have already seen the affect that upgrading from an older CPU can have on efficiency, and this preview does not disappoint on that front.

Intel Pentium G850 Efficiency Analysis

I have already expressed my expectations on the Intel Pentium G850 processor, but how will it stack up against the trusty old AMD Athlon X3?

I knew at the beginning that the G850 would consume far less energy than the Athlon X3 at stock clocks and voltages, though I was unsure of how it would fare against the X3 with power saving measures in place. For this reason, I will be concentrating my efforts on not only new vs. old, but also on new vs. the tweaked old.

Intel G850: The Poor Mans Energy Efficient CPU

After getting feedback from a reader on a blog entry I started look into the possibilities for Energy efficient Intel upgrades.

The Intel G850 shares the same architecture of the more expensive Core i3/i5/i7 processors, but has some fancy bits missing. When compared to an Athlon II X3; you can get a 40-50 watt reduction in consumption, while retaining the same performance is games, and as the price is also acceptable this seemed like something I had to look into.

All Games Re-test Power Consumption Analysis

The results are in for the re-test of all the games tested so far on Eco Gamer, an accurate comparison can now be made as they have all been tested on a 'level playing field'.

I have been testing more CPU intensive games and when considering the results and where they fit in with my existing results, I found that the CPU measures I had tested could not be accurately compared to the more recent due to changes to the system such as the PSU upgrade in-between. I have posted a blog on this and now this article is the outcome.

What I am hoping to find out if games benefit most from the processor or graphics card based measures for increasing energy efficiency, and if there are any which won't benefit at all.

Supreme Commander 2 Consumption Analysis

The third game in the expansion of my investigation into processor demanding games is Supreme Commander 2. This game is said to be very CPU intensive and so is a great candidate for this investigation.

Supreme Commander 2 has a much bigger real-time strategy scope than the games I have looked into so far as it allows a much bigger unit count, I expect that this will create a much bigger demand on the CPU. I would like to see this game show the opposite, with a greater energy efficiency shown from underclocking/volting the CPU.

Dawn of War II: Retribution Consumption Analysis

Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II: Retribution (or DoW II:R to it's friends) is the most recent real-time strategy game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and is my second processor intensive game in this series of tests. When armies are engaged in all out battle, the on-screen mayhem is very impressive and so I would expect this to challenge both processors and graphics cards equally.

Being a much more recent game than X3: Terran Conflict, which I tested last week; I am expecting this to make much better use of the PC resources and so in turn we should see a higher energy consumption. I would expect to see a high CPU usage in crowded sections and so the reduction of the CPU orientated power saving measures should show a larger reduction.

Intel Core i7 3960X New Efficiency King

Tom's Hardware have today followed up their Intel Core i7-3960X Review with an Intel Core i7-3960X Efficiency Review. The initial review looked into the basic power consumption readings and performance of the CPU and found that the i7-3960X is the fastest desktop processor available, but that the new motherboard socket and high price make it terrible value for an upgrade.

The new efficiency orientated article compares the performance and consumption of the high end processors and finds that while the new Intel Core i7-3960X has the highest peak power usage; it also gets things done quickly, and so for tasks such as encoding a set piece of multimedia, it is the most efficient.

X3: Terran Conflict Consumption Analysis

I recently wrote a Blog entry stating that I am going to look into Real-time Strategy and simulator games, as these tend to tax the CPU rather than GPU. Hoping to see if this will show different results to the First Person Shooter games that I have already tested.

First up is X3: Terran Conflict (X3: TC) which is a space simulator game though not exactly a new game. What I expect is for it to hammer the CPU with massive numbers of calculations.

As you explore the universe and open up new sectors of space, the number of space station product prices and transport routes that need to be calculated in real-time increases, and eventually this demand on the CPU starts to affect frame rates significantly.

Why No Intel Processor?

Is a question that my brother asked me recently, and at the time I fumbled together a bad answer involving money, upgrading and motherboards.

I have since been thinking further into this as I was not happy with this response on why I always seem to chose AMD over Intel processors.

The biggest issue is that most who know PC hardware will know that Intel CPUs from the last few years are much more energy efficient than the equivalents from AMD, and so as someone who is trying to improve energy efficiency; choosing AMD over Intel must seem like madness.

Eco PC Gaming - Progress So Far

Over the past few weeks I have been engaging in Eco Investigations in a bid to discover the best ways to increase the energy efficiency of my PC while playing games.

This is my first 'Progress so far' piece since I started my energy saving mission (and indeed this website), and I must say that I am very pleased with the results so far and really feel that it is time to recap what have been achieved in the past few months.

I have looked into ways of increasing energy efficiency without compromising performance in several ways, most were free but time consuming and one cost me some money but was a 'quick win'. I have singled out the methods that were effective and have compiled them together into my normal gaming routine.