Comparing recent Intel processor power usage at home

16 March 2007


I’m a firm believer in the great line of dual core Intel processors, having owned everything from the original Pentium D through the latest Quad Core Extreme Edition processor.  With each generation, power consumption has declined while performance has improved.

This seems a fitting forum to share the non-scientific energy usage numbers that I compiled at home recently.  I got out the Kill-A-Watt while setting up a new UPS and took the time to observe the approximate wattage being drawn by all my home computers.

I’m interested to observe over time how my energy costs change, as Vista’s default power profile puts machines to sleep after a period of time.

Craziest part? My quad core overclocked PC uses the least power out of the PCs, yet has significantly higher performance.  

·         Intel Core 2 Quad Core Extreme QX6700 processor running at 3.2ghz + NVidia 7600GT + 1x 7200rpm hard drive + 1 optical drive, Windows Vista Ultimate x64: 145 watts during peak usage

·         Intel Core 2 Duo 6300 + NVidia 7600GS + 1x 7200rpm hard drive + 2x optical drives, Windows Vista Home Premium x86: 165 watts during Media Center use

·         Intel Pentium D running at 1.83ghz + NVidia 6600GT + 6x 7200rpm hard drives, Windows 2003 Server R2: 194 watts during heavy disk activity (the hard drives probably contribute to the higher power usage though)

Out of curiosity, I also checked my notebook computer and Apple iMac:

·         Lenovo ThinkPad T60: Intel Core Duo processor at 1.83ghz + 1x 7200rpm hard drive + integrated 14.1" LCD, Windows Vista Enterprise x86: 59 watts when directly connected and under high load (no batteries in unit or charging)

·         Apple iMac G5: IBM G5 at 1.80ghz + integrated 17" LCD, OS X 10.4: 115 watts



Jeff Wilcox is a Software Engineer at Microsoft in the Open Source Programs Office (OSPO), helping Microsoft engineers use, contribute to and release open source at scale.

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