Power Consumption and Acoustics
We have a couple of final data points we'd like to cover before bringing this article to a close. Our goal was to give you all an idea as to how much power each of the system configurations we tested used while idling and running under load. And also speak a bit about Skulltrail's acoustic profile.
Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption here at the outlet, not just the power being drawn by the processors alone. In this test, we're showing you a ramp-up of power from idle on the desktop to full CPU load. We tested with a combination of Cinebench R10 and SANDRA XII running on the CPU.
Despite Intel's recommendation of a 1000W power supply for Skulltrail when using a single high-end graphics card and a 1400W PSU for multi-GPU configurations, our Skulltrail based test system did not consume an astronomical amount of power in our opinion. If you consider the Skulltrail rig has a second quad-core CPU, dual PCI Express switches, and AMBs on each FB-DIMM, its idle power of 262 watts is somewhat impressive in light of the competition. Under load, Skulltrail consumed almost 400W, but considering the amount of horsepower under the hood we don't think that is excessive either, especially in light of the pseudo quad-core QuadFX system.
As for Skulltrail's acoustic profile, we're only going to comment on the motherboard's active Southbridge / PCI Express switch cooler because the CPUs can be cooled using any LGA775 heatsink on the market. Unfortunately, even the quietest CPU coolers won't completely silence a Skulltrail system because the SB cooler's fan is just plain loud. Perhaps this will change with a future BIOS revision that will throttle the fan's speed (there is an option in the BIOS that didn't seem to do anything), but with the configuration we tested the SB fan was the loudest part of the system.