Lowest power desktop socket 4+ core?

Smoblikat

Weaksauce
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May 28, 2020
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119
Hello all, im on the hunt for (one of) the lowest power CPU's I can get that fits into a desktop form factor (no mobile CPU's), with at least 4 cores. I just "upgraded" from an athlon 2 X2 65W dual core, to a blazing fast 45W Athlon 2 X4 610E quad core. I see some I3's and such at 51W TDP, but not much lower. Performance isnt a huge deal as this is just my home domain controller, im more concerned with price (new proc cost me $18). Anyone know of any quad core CPU's with a lower power draw than an Athlon X4 610E?
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
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Are you sure you need to change out for power draw reasons? Have you used a Kill-A-Watt or similar to determine the actual power usage of the system? Will the money saved on power make up for the cost of buying a new setup? Are there other factors, such as fan noise or heat produced?

TDP is a poor indicator of actual power usage. It's mostly a rough indicator of power usage when all cores are running at their full base (non-turbo) frequency. Most of the time, some or all of the cores will be much closer to idle and will step down their clock accordingly, reducing power draw.

And don't count out laptop CPUs (and their associated chipsets, RAM, etc.). They're built for low power. Something like a cheaper i3 or i5 NUC or comparable AMD setup from a few years back might make a good system for what you're doing.
 

KATEKATEKATE

Limp Gawd
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Jan 20, 2019
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350
Intel CPUs with the -T marker (ie i7 6700T, i3 8100T etc) are desktop socket chips rated for 35W and are fairly readily available. AMD also has the 35W -GE series APUs (ie Ryzen 5 2400GE etc) but those are a little harder to come by.
 

cjcox

[H]ard|Gawd
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While I know it's not "the phrase" anymore, but cores without clock isn't going to be great. It might give you a low power envelope, but it might be real dog.

With that said, if this is still what you want... there's things like the J4125, for example.
 

sinisterDei

[H]ard|Gawd
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For the price? I mean probably not. Your X4 610E is a part most would just throw away at this point, so competing on cost is almost impossible.

However, from a power perspective you can certainly beat it. All of the 'modern' i3 CPUs will absolutely smoke the X4 in both performance and use way less power when doing so. There is a concept that is very popular in mobile CPU design (think cellphone CPUs) called "race to idle". Basically, they want mobile CPUs to be as fast as humanly possible so they can very quickly finish whatever it is you've asked them to do and then drop back into their idle power state. While in that brief moment they may consume a relatively large amount of power, they very quickly reach back to their idle equilibrium. Comparing your X4 to any modern chip is going to be much the same; the modern CPUs are going to be done with their work so much faster that they will spend a significantly larger percentage of their time idle as compared to the X4 610E. In addition, thanks to generations of process technology improvement they'll run at lower voltages and use less power overall given an equivalent workload.

They will *not* be cheaper than $18. At $18, your CPU was around $10 in shipping and $8 for the actual CPU, and that's just not a ratio you're going to find on something unless it's also destined for the bin otherwise.

One other thing to keep in mind, the X4 610E uses the Propus cores and came out in 2010. Propus is actually a salvage part from the Deneb cores, which came out in 2009. You do *not* need a modern 4-core CPU to 'keep up' the performance level compared to a 2009-era 4-core CPU. I would wager basically any modern 2-core CPU would probably run away from the X4 in performance despite a 2-core handicap.
 

Smoblikat

Weaksauce
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
119
For the price? I mean probably not. Your X4 610E is a part most would just throw away at this point, so competing on cost is almost impossible.

However, from a power perspective you can certainly beat it. All of the 'modern' i3 CPUs will absolutely smoke the X4 in both performance and use way less power when doing so. There is a concept that is very popular in mobile CPU design (think cellphone CPUs) called "race to idle". Basically, they want mobile CPUs to be as fast as humanly possible so they can very quickly finish whatever it is you've asked them to do and then drop back into their idle power state. While in that brief moment they may consume a relatively large amount of power, they very quickly reach back to their idle equilibrium. Comparing your X4 to any modern chip is going to be much the same; the modern CPUs are going to be done with their work so much faster that they will spend a significantly larger percentage of their time idle as compared to the X4 610E. In addition, thanks to generations of process technology improvement they'll run at lower voltages and use less power overall given an equivalent workload.

They will *not* be cheaper than $18. At $18, your CPU was around $10 in shipping and $8 for the actual CPU, and that's just not a ratio you're going to find on something unless it's also destined for the bin otherwise.

One other thing to keep in mind, the X4 610E uses the Propus cores and came out in 2010. Propus is actually a salvage part from the Deneb cores, which came out in 2009. You do *not* need a modern 4-core CPU to 'keep up' the performance level compared to a 2009-era 4-core CPU. I would wager basically any modern 2-core CPU would probably run away from the X4 in performance despite a 2-core handicap.
Very interesting point about the "race to idle", I assumed newer CPU's would spend most of their time in a lower power state (even if full load might see them slightly higher), but having it explained so well put it in perspective. Im mostly doing this for fun, power draw isnt a huge concern (I had my dual X5670 server running here before), but I dont think ive ever specifically set out to build a low power system, so im just trying to see if I want any new toys to play with :D

Honestly what I really want is that 6700T KATE^3 mentioned paired with a totally fanless build, seasonic fanless PSU and everything, but the CPU alone is about double what my entire current server cost :) Though one steam download completely maxed out the dual core CPU, hence me trying out the 610E, so maybe ill end up putting one of my I3's in there anyway........but I love these older AMD machines (this athlon has the L3 cache unlock, right?)
 

sinisterDei

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
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1,221
I have a fondness for tiny / inexpensive servers. My router is a really, really tiny ESXi server running an ASUS H110T/CSM motherboard, a mini-ITX case, a Celeron G3900, 8GB of RAM, and 32GB SSD. It runs two VMs, pfSense and pihole. It's adorable, and runs off an old Dell laptop power brick for power. It has an active CPU fan, but it's so dead silent I can hold my ear literally millimeters away from the chassis and can't hear it.
 

rhansen5_99

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 12, 2001
Messages
2,111
Honestly the new AMD 4700u chips are 8c16t parts that can fit in 35w or 45w envelope and have a decent ryzen APU, they are generally in laptops but a few of the mini sff builders like ASUS and Asrock have announced parts, I think these even smoke 95w zen 1 parts. Or even the v1605b 15w parts smoke the 610e https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/AMD-Ryzen-Embedded-V1605B-vs-AMD-Athlon-II-X4-610e/3331vs164 which are in the Udoo Bolt: https://shop.udoo.org/udoo-bolt-v8.html

Problem is they are not going to be cheap.

Looks like Biostar has a a10-9630 board but prob delayed because of human maleware: http://www.biostar-usa.com/app/en-us/mb/introduction.php?S_ID=973
 

Smoblikat

Weaksauce
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
119
Just an update for anyone trying to build somthing cheap AND (somewhat) low power, the 610E is definitely fast enough to run a pfsense firewall with multiple networks/NICs, plus an ubuntu container running DNS/DHCP/(eventually)LDAP, AND a couple other misc servers to handle file sharing and content downloading, could probobly squeeze a few more on there also. I just found several for under $15, could have saved 12.5% on the CPU cost if I had waited :D

Mine didnt seem to have the L3 cache unlock, im not sure if that feature isnt physically present on the die (I thought these were deneb cores rebranded?) or if I genuinely had a CPU with defective L3 cache, YMMV.
 
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