And you thought your ATX Full
Tower packed some serious punch. How about a 2.5"
thick slab not much larger than an 8.5X11 sheet of paper?
HotHardware's Test System - Dell Inspiron 8200
Replacement - Power and mobility
Mobile Processor - 1.6GHz
Chipset based motherboard
PC2100 DDR SDRAM
5400 RPM EIDE Hard Drive
GeForce 4 440
Go Graphics w/ 64MB (220MHz Core / 440MHz Memory Clock)
Sound, Modem, and 10/100 NIC
Inspiron 8200 we had configured for us, is certainly a well
equipped machine. It runs a Pentium 4M 1.6GHz CPU on a
i845M based motherboard. It was also set up with 512MB
of PC2100 DDR DRAM and a very sharp 15" UXGA screen.
We have nothing but great things to say about this system.
It looks fantastic and is as fast as greased lightning.
The design is well planned with a comfortable and
convenient keyboard and control layout. Battery life
is also excellent due in part to the Pentium 4M Speedstep
technology. We were actually able to watch 2 full DVD
titles on this machine, before the battery alert came on.
PowerMizer Setup and Testing
Dusting off the
The Engineers at
NVIDIA walked us through a test setup and methodology that
would allow us to test the relative effectiveness of their
PowerMizer technology. Essentially, this meant
splicing a Multimeter in line between the laptop and AC
adapter power pack. We then removed the battery from
the unit, since battery charging can cause power
fluctuations. After that, we turned the Multimeter to
the 20AMP setting and set it up to drop readings into a log
file text document on the machine via a serial cable.
This setup will
isolate the actual power draw that is being place on the AC
Adapter power source. When we enable the various
settings available to us with PowerMizer, we can then
determine its effectiveness in power savings. Here are
a couple of screen shots of the GeForce4 440 Go drivers and
the PowerMizer settings.
Dell did not have the PowerMizer control panel enabled on
our unit, so we had to modify the system registry (like the
coolbits tweak) to get the control tab to appear. In
any event, you can see here that there are three levels in
PowerMizer settings, Max Power Savings, Balanced Mode, and
Max Performance. Here are the results that were
recorded in our log file, plotted out in Amps.
Here we see
plots for 25 sample readings, taken during a Time Demo run
with Quake 3 Arena. In order to get a reading in
numbers of Watts consumed, you have to multiply the total
Amps used by the voltage. In this case, our AC Adapter
was driving 20Volts into the unit. In Max Power
Savings Mode, the entire system consumed and average
of 1.536 Amps or 30.72 Watts. In Balanced Mode, it
consumed 1.756 Amps or 35.12 Watts. And in Max
Performance mode, the system drew 2.45 Amps or 49 watts.
Keep in mind however, that these are power consumption
readings for the entire system. Regardless, as you can
see, PowerMizer does conserve power quite well.
We know what
you're thinking. What effect does PowerMizer have on
performance? Let's take a quick look.
As you can see
here, PowerMizer does take its toll on frame rate. It
down clocks the GPU fairly significantly and as a result,
fill rate and bandwidth do suffer. Regardless, at
1024X768 in Balanced Mode, with max quality and detail,
Quake 3 is still very playable at approx 60 fps.
Playing a Fist Person Shooter, like Q3, in Max Power Saving
Mode, is not advisable. The action is just too fast
paced for 30 fps.
energy conservation. We're power hungry folks here at
HotHardware, right? Let's plug the unit into the wall
and see what it can do, when we run things flat out!