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Intel Processor Power Consumption

For more than four years Intel hide real power consumption by a number called TDP - Thermal Design Power. TDP is a power consumption of a processor while executing normal software. That is not while executing a stress test software like BurnK7. When there is no overequipped cooling solution, a stress test software causes CPU to overheat. Under such conditions some of Intel processors slow down to prevent CPU core destruction by heat. They generate what is known as duty cycles, therefore decreasing computation performance.

While TDP may be a useful number for CPU cooler manufacturers, it's not of any use for end-user. This is because in real world there can be application that forces Intel processor to drain more power than TDP, therefore forcing CPU to slow down. To make sure this does not happen you need to know maximum thermal power and then make sure you have adequate cooling solution. There is a list of computed maximum thermal power of Intel processors that have TDP number in datasheet (all data came from Intel Electrical Specifications). Newer Intel CPUs use controlled decrease of voltage with increasing current - the difference between VID (Voltage Identification) and voltage at maximum load can be as much as 0.15V:

Desktop CPUs:

Intel Pentium 4 and Intel Celeron (someone thinks 150W is impossible?)

Intel Xeon

Intel Pentium III and Intel Celeron on Coppermine core

Mobile CPUs:

Intel Pentium M

Mobile Intel Pentium 4 with 533 MHz FSB and Mobile Intel Pentium 4-M

 

Last Update: 21st February 2005