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Intel 1155 Mini ITX Motherboards Power Consumption Comparative

A few weeks ago, Xbitlabs performed a comparison of 8 mini ITX motherboards with Intel socket 1155 for Sandy Bridge. All models have the H67 chipset, the most complete serie excluding chipsets aimed to high-end devices.

In a comparison of this type, we find little differences in the performance theme, but there will be differences in the consumption of the platform, connectivity and ability to overclock.

These are the contenders in this comparison:

  • ASRock H67M-ITX/HT
  • Asus P8H67-I Deluxe
  • Asus P8H67-I
  • ECS H67H2-I
  • Foxconn H67S
  • Gigabyte GA-H67N-USB3-B3
  • Intel DH67CF
  • Zotac H67ITX

 

Individual details

 

Asrock H67M-ITX/HT

The components quality is below standards of Zotac, Asus and Intel, but this was replaced with complete connectivity and many accessories, including an infrared remote control.

 

Asus P8H67-I Deluxe

Besides the typical features of  Asus H67 Intel chipset it adds a set of standard controllers to support up to four USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth, it also integrates Wi-Fi n adapter. This combination of features makes the P8H67-I Deluxe a complete motherboard for connectivity, quality of components and regulation of voltage steps for good energy performance.

 

Asus P8H67-I

This board is a bit more grounded to earth than it’s older brother, without additional connectivity, the strongness is the 6 SATA connectors to put on a media server. The ability to mount normal DDR3 is also an advantage.

 

ECS H67H2-I

ECS is one of the motherboard manufacturers that offer to consumers a wide range and affordable products. It is this aspect in particular that allows ECS to sell millions of motherboards and compete in sales volumes compared to market leaders Asus and Gigabyte. The consequence of the low cost of ECS products is not very wide functionality, and low potential for overclocking, but the latter should not care too much. However, this board is quite complete, with almost all the necessary connectivity.

 

Foxconn H67S

The Foxconn presence is not so great in the motherboard market today. They use very simple designs without too many frills or options in the bios, despite this, some products are very interesting. The Foxconn H67S is a great example of a product. This Mini-ITX MB stands out among the other participants in its simplicity. Almost all of its features and functions are provided by the H67 chipset and as additional controls only a Gigabit Realtek RTL8111E and eight channels of audio Realtek ALC888S. Forget USB 3.0 ports and plenty of SATA connectors.

 

Gigabyte GA-H67N-USB3-B3

The H67N-USB3-B3 has everything you need and nothing too much for a modern platform. This motherboard is compatible with any LGA1155 processor with discrete graphics accelerators and regular DDR3 SDRAM, SATA 6 Gbps, USB 3.0 and features a Gigabit network controller. However, Gigabyte has not added any wireless interfaces and has no mini-PCIe slots.

 

Intel DH67CF

It has become common in recent years that many users do not take into account in their choice to the Intel motherboards. And indeed, there was a very good reason: until recently no motherboard manufacturer offering major processors as much functionality as solutions from other manufacturers. But things are changing. Now Intel developers can design good products, enthusiastic, but good motherboard overall. The DH67CF can be regarded as a great example of his new approach to the development of the boards.

 

Zotac H67ITX

Zotac can be considered one of the main ideologues of the concept of Mini-ITX system. This company was one of the first to begin to aggressively promote compact platforms and even now remains the leader in this market. The Zotac H67ITX emerged far ahead of the competition, but even despite that, this motherboard is still one of the most complete and functional solutions in this class. The secret behind the H67ITX is the integration of additional drivers: Gigabit network controller, a wireless network Wi-Fi, an eSATA controller and another controller for USB 3.0. Along with the chipset, which not only make this small Mini-ITX one of the most complete participants, but also allows it to compete against conventional full-size products.

These were the components for the test:

Processor: Intel Core i5-2400S (4 cores, 2.5 GHz, 65W TDP)
CPU Cooler: Intel Inbox
Memory: 2 x 2 GB DIMM DDR3-1333 SDRAM / 2 x 2 GB DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM SDRAM
HDD: SSD Kingston SNVP325-S2/128GB.
Power Supply: Tagan TG880-U33II (880 W).
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1.
Drivers: Intel Chipset Driver 9.2.0.1030, Intel Graphics Driver 15.22.1.2361 HD, Intel Management Engine Driver 7.1.10.1065, Intel Rapid Storage Technology 10.5.0.1027.

 

Performance

All motherboards have identical pace, their difference is minimal, in daily use we will not know which is which. This means that performance will not be the determining factor when buying any of these mini ITX boards.

Benchmarks in hand, on the set of all tests, the faster boards were: Intel DH67CF, ASUS and ASRock H67M-ITX/HT P8H67-I. Slower models are: ECS H67H2-I and Foxconn H67S.

Power Consumption

Energy consumption is a Mini-ITX systems important parameter, which directly affects the overall acoustic performance and energy efficiency of the system.

This type of equipment will be mounted in small sized and low cooling boxes  so a few watts or less may involve having to include additional cooling with attendant noise nuisance, or having to install a more powerful psu than in the box.

This is the reason why you should pay particular attention to energy consumption of these motherboards. For optimal efficiency, the manufacturers should strive to design it’s control systems for regulating the voltage of the processor and other components, as well as the choice of efficient materials.

The efficiency of the power supply is not taken into account for this test. The CPU was stressed by running the LinX 0.6.4 64-bit utility. The graphics are loaded with FurMark 1.9 software. On the other hand, have enabled all the energy saving technologies and Turbo Boost.

Idle Power Consumption

The winner in this regard is the Intel board, with a 7w offset comparing to the most demanding, the Asus Deluxe.

 

CPU Consumption

In this test is the Asus Deluxe  that wins with ease, taking almost 6w to it’s immediate followers, the Foxcon and Asrock. The Zotac is the most spendthrift. The voltage regulation is effective, in the Asus only when it is at maximum CPU consumption.

The best results in almost all test modes belong to two motherboards, Foxconn H67S and Intel DH67CF. The engineers from both companies worked very hard on optimizing  the CPU voltage regulator. With a loaded CPU they managed to save between 5 and 10 watts, and  in sleep mode the saving was just as good.

The curious thing about this is that Foxconn has no additional on board driver, reducing their energy requirements further. However, the Intel platform has everything on board, so its success is even more surprising. ASRock H67M-ITX/HT also did quite well, but, unfortunately, was very high energy consumption in idle mode.

The article highlights the results demonstrated by the Asus P8H67-I Deluxe. As we said before, this board has a special EPU that adjusts the number of active phases of voltage regulation and even has special BIOS options to select the level of energy efficiency. However, our tests showed that this technology is more marketing than practical purposes.

This motherboard is only eficicient in heavy computational load. In idle mode or when the graphics core is making all the work, the Asus P8H67-I Deluxe have neither the energy consumption readings remarkable. In addition to the Gigabyte H67N-USB3-B3 and Zotac H67ITX not fare as well on tests of energy consumption. The efficiency of the CPU voltage regulators on these motherboards are not the most correct for this type of board, which is why a lot of energy is dissipated into the air. It is a shameful waste for a Mini-ITX system.

1080P Playback

Again the most budget motherboards get the best results.

After reviewing all the evidence, my conclusion is that the more balanced board is the Intel DH67CF, thrifty at rest and peak performance, light consumption when playing HD and good connectivity.

Anyway, all this data flood should not be constrained when purchasing any of the spenders motherboards of this comparative, because despite some differences in consumption, the electricity bill is not going to suffer.

All images belong to Xbitlabs.

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