Intel Core i3-540 'Clarkdale' LGA1156 Processor Review

Author: MAC
Date: May 3, 2010
Product Name: Intel Core i3-540 'Clarkdale' LGA1156 Processor
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Power Consumption / Temperature Testing

Power Consumption

For this section, every energy saving feature was enabled in the respective BIOSes and the Windows Vista power plan was changed from High Performance to Balanced.

For our idle test, we let the system idle for 15 minutes and measured the peak wattage through our UPM EM100 power meter.

For our CPU load test, we ran Prime 95 In-place large FFTs on all available threads for 15 minutes, measuring the peak wattage via the UPM EM100 power meter.

For our overall system load test, we ran Prime 95 In-place large FFTs on all available threads for 15 minutes, while simultaneously loading the GPU with OCCT v3.1.0 GPU:OCCT stress test at 1680x1050@60Hz in full screen mode.

As you can see, Clarkdale-based chips have really impressive power consumption when you use the Intel HD GMA integrated graphics processor (IGP), which is why it is perfect for HTPC or non-gaming PC use.

Even when you use a discrete GPU Clarkdale's power consumption is very low, but then again so is Lynnfield's. Obviously when you start overclocking power consumption ramps up quickly, but that occurs with any processors.

Temperature Testing

For the temperature testing, we used both the stock Intel Clarkdale CPU cooler and a Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme (TRUE). The system was left to idle for 15 minutes, and then we ran Prime 95 In-place large FFTs for 15 minutes. The ambient temperature was 23C/73.4F. Keep in mind that the thermal sensors in most modern processors are not really accurate at measuring idle temperatures, hence the very small delta between the room temp and the idle results.

Even with the stock Intel cooler, the Core i3-540 does run at low temperatures at default clock speed, as we would expect from a 32nm chip. With a high-end heatsink like the TRUE the temperatures were extremely low, low enough that we believe passive cooling might definitely be a possibility with Clarkdale, at least in systems with decent case airflow. When heavily overclocked CPU temps do shoot up, but they are very manageable with a decent quality CPU cooler.

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