** Updated on 17th July 2006 **
Due to discrepancies in the initial reported power consumption of the Core 2 Duo processor platforms, notably the idle power consumption, we've since setup and rerun the systems to ensure that the results obtained are repeatable. Thanks to our community, we've now updated the Power Consumption section of the article and the below are our updated findings.
Right from the start, the Core 2 Duo processor based platforms took the lead with over 40% power savings when compared to the Intel Pentium XE 965 system and about 20% when contrasted with the Athlon 64 FX-62 system. Since all of the Core 2 processors throttle down to 1.6GHz at idle, their power consumption ranked similarly.
We spent much time trying out various programs from Prime95 to the highly acclaimed SPECCPU industry benchmark, but after a lengthy trial and error affair, we found that Futuremark's 3DMark06 CPU test happens to tax the CPU more than any other benchmarks with the highest temperatures recorded as well as the highest power draw among CPU related tests. Now that we laid the groundwork, feast on the power draw results graphed below. Once again the Core 2 processor family have the upper hand with up to 40% less power draw.
What about power consumption during gaming? Well, we have that covered with 3DMark06 too. This was again our choice after trying several games like F.E.A.R., Quake 4 and others which seemed to tax the system on a similar level as the 3DMark06 game tests (both in terms of power and CPU temperatures). The brand new Deep Freeze test seemed to have more impact and thus we stuck with it. Again the Core 2 processors had a similar power savings advantage as before, but note that power consumption actually increased here whereas the Athlon 64 FX-62 and Pentium XE 965 system platforms drew similar or less power than the previous test scenario. Our reasoning for this is because the Core 2 processors were actually a whole lot faster in processing such that they were able to load the graphics subsystem more and that subsequently added to the difference in power consumption numbers in both the test scenarios. In any case, the Core 2 Duo and Extreme processors still have a distinct advantage.