[mythtv-users] System specifications review...

Michael T. Dean mtdean at thirdcontact.com
Mon Nov 16 16:39:58 UTC 2009

On 11/16/2009 09:47 AM, Patrick Doyle wrote:
> On Sun, Nov 15, 2009 at 9:45 PM, Jarod Wilson wrote:
>> On 11/15/2009 09:37 PM, Patrick Doyle wrote:
>>> For the moment, I'm considering using the built in chipset until such
>>> time as the fanless '220 is available.  I'm hoping that the dual core
>>> 3 GHz CPU will be able to handle the ATSC HD decode.
>> Srsly? Um. I watched my ATSC HDTV stuff on a core duo 1.66GHz box for quite
>> some time, with Intel graphics. *Pretty sure* you'll be okay.
> So if I go with this processor, which I selected based on reports of
> it's idle and max power consumption (6.8W and 31W),

Note, though, that every single processor off the line will draw 
different amounts of power in real-world usage.  AMD's 240e comes off 
the exact same line as the 240.  In truth, I'm pretty sure the 250 comes 
off the same line, too.  The processors work stably at different 
speeds/voltages based on natural variances in production quality.  And, 
they draw different amounts of power based on leakage.

Therefore, it's quite possible that with the current product lines, AMD 
will choose to make a dual-core Regor processor that runs stable at 
3.0GHz or higher--which is enough for the 250--an Athlon II 240e if it 
can run stable at 2.8GHz at under 45W.  Then again, it may have a 
processor that runs stable at under 45W at 3.0GHz or faster that it 
makes into a 250.  It would depend a lot on demand/supply and 
bottom-line price (where the 240e is selling for more than the 250 right 
now - http://www.amd.com/us/products/pricing/Pages/desktop-athlon.aspx ).

In general, though, if you're going for the "best real-world power 
usage", I'd recommend going for the 240e (most expensive/fastest of the 
"e" line) or the 250 (non-"e"--the most expensive/fastest of the non-"e" 
Regor line).  However, since it's /very/ hard to find a 240e (some UK 
vendors seem to sell them, now), that probably means going for a 250.

To give you an idea, I just got an AMD Athlon II X2 240 (non-e) (65W 
TDP) system--running with a single hard drive, 4GB RAM, an 
"all-integrated" motherboard based on AMD 780G/AMD SB750 chipsets, a 
nice 80 PLUS PSU.  It's currently pulling an average of 76.216kWh/mo 
(based on a 30-day month, calculations based on a test run of 64h54m, 
pulling a total of 6.87kWh).  That's an average draw of 105.86W for the 
whole system.

I have another similar system (single hard drive, 4GB RAM, 
all-integrated mobo based on AMD 740G/AMD SB700, and the exact same PSU) 
and the only differences are the motherboard/chipset and CPU.  The 
second system has an AMD Athlon X2 5050e (45W TDP).  It's currently 
pulling an average of 81.213kWh/mo (based on a 30-day month, 
calculations based on 2 test runs--one of 18h05m and one of 29h05m).  
That's an average draw of 112.80W.

Note that /both/ CPU's are running at max (100% CPU, both cores) all the 
time because I run BOINC/SETI at home on them.  If you use CPU frequency 
scaling and have more idle time, you'll get much less power usage.  (I 
tested the 5050e without BOINC and got an average of 40.482kWh/mo on 2 
tests runs of 17h08m and 29h36m, for an average draw of 
56.225W--basically half of the full-load draw.)

Therefore, it seems that I got a pretty good CPU for the 65W 240--it's 
power characteristics seem good--and I didn't even try to game the 
system by going with a 250.  Both the 45W and 65W systems seem to be 
drawing about the same power.

BTW, /definitely/ get an 80 PLUS PSU.  For me they're saving between 8 
and 15kWh per month per computer over the non-80-PLUS PSU's I had before 
(more savings for the computers with more components/pulling more 
power).  I just bought a new 400W 80 PLUS for $29.99 after $20 MIR (free 

>  is there any point
> in adding a VDPAU graphics card later?

I'd say start without VDPAU and, if it serves your purpose, don't waste 
the power on another GPU.


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