AMD’s new Ryzen 3000 processors have arrived, and while reviews have been very positive, many of them (including our own AMD Ryzen 9 3900X review) noticed the very high power consumption of the new CPUs, even when idle.
However, according to tests performed by the ExtremeTech website (opens in new tab), it looks like this high power consumption could be due to the new X570 chipset in the motherboards, rather than the CPU itself.
Most reviewers tested the new Ryzen 3000 processors in X570 motherboards. However, if you place a Ryzen 3000 processor in an older X470 motherboard, there’s a noticeable drop in power consumption.
One of the best things about the Ryzen 3000 series of CPUs is that they are backwards compatible with the X470 chipset – meaning if you have a motherboard with that chipset, you don’t need to upgrade it if you want to use AMD’s latest processors.
ExtremeTech placed an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X in the MSI X570 Godlike motherboard, then tried the same processor in the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC and found that in the Prime95 tests, power consumption dropped by a remarkable 38W.
Even when the CPU was in its idle state – when the PC is using very little processing power – the idle power consumption dropped from 67W to 52W.
The website ran a number of tests on various motherboards and saw a pattern emerge where the processor drew more power in the X570 motherboards compared to the X470 mobos.
Less power = good
There are several reasons why you’d want a processor to be less power-hungry. For a start, a CPU that consumes a lot of power produces a lot of heat. The hotter a processor gets, the harder the CPU cooler fans have to work – leading to a noisier PC.
A processor that runs very hot can also be less stable, leading to PC crashes – and its lifespan can be impacted as well.
A PC that uses up a lot of power can also be more expensive to run. So, using a Ryzen 3000 CPU in the older X470 chipset is certainly tempting due to the better power efficiency. However, you do miss out on some of the X570’s more advanced features, such as PCIe 4.0 support.
ExtremeTech is a bit stumped as to why the X570 chipset draws so much more power, as the additional features don’t seem to justify the difference. We expect this to be addressed in future updates, but have contacted AMD to find out more.
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