Is it possible to significantly reduce the wattage of a 10 series desktop CPU?

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2020/06/29 10:32:15 (permalink)
I'm interested in making a small computer with the J5040itx that's coming out next month.
Is it possible to set a very low wattage limit (10W) on the i3-10100 to match the J5040 so I can get similar power use but with PCI-E 3.0 support, or should I forget about it?

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    Re: Is it possible to significantly reduce the wattage of a 10 series desktop CPU? 2020/06/29 15:14:31 (permalink)
    Yes, you can reduce the wattage significantly. You would have to under volt the processor with a static voltage, turn off hyper-threading and lower frequency. I doubt you would get it to 10w though, cause that's not just a CPU. It also has the UHD 630 integrated graphics. Not sure what you need it for... If you are looking for 10w CPU you should look into a laptop. I wouldn't even bother with the i3 10100 really... You would be better off finding a power saving CPU. Anything with a T variant, like the i3 9100T.

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    Re: Is it possible to significantly reduce the wattage of a 10 series desktop CPU? 2020/06/30 12:33:50 (permalink)
    I have no idea about CPU compatibility with that board, so I won't comment on that.

    I just tried to set low power limits for my 3770k, as a test.
    My discoveries:
    - Your board or CPU may have a minimum setting which makes 10 watts not achievable.  For me, the minimum setting available is 60 watts.  I don't know what makes lesser values not available; motherboard, or CPU, or combination of the two?  Mine is a 77 watt (TDP) CPU; and my CPU is only stable down to about 0.85 volts at 1.6 GHz (minimum multiplier available), so I suppose it makes sense that too low is not available, because it simply would stop operating.
    - You may be able to select amperage limits, but if you go too low, it may not boot.  For me, since 60 watts is the lowest setting available, I tried setting low power plane amperage limits instead.  Amperage is related to wattate, so if the minimum wattage isn't low enough, I could set a lower amperage limit instead and trick it, right?  Sort of.  If I tried to set too low of an amperage limit, my board wouldn't even make it all the way through the POST process.  I imagine that the CPU hangs if it needs more power than the limit you select, and that is why the POST hangs.  My CPU probably needs about 25 amps to operate at 0.85 volts at 1.6 GHz.  But if I set the limit to 25 amps, the POST just hangs; too close to the minimum required for stability, I suppose.  If I set the primary power plane amperage limit to 30 amps, though, it will successfully POST and boot.  With a 30 amp limit, my 3770k throttles to 1.9 GHz at 0.9 volts under load.  That's about 27 watts.  Not very close to the 10 watts you are hoping to achieve.  And the performance is not very good.
    So, can you set a 65 watt (TDP) CPU to use only 10 watts?  Highly doubtful.  You can probably reduce its power output quite significantly (at a significant performance cost), but probably not all the way down to 10 watts. It really depends on your CPU's minimum clock speed and minimum stable core voltage at that clock speed, and whatever that wattage ends up being; you can't go lower than that, otherwise it will simply stop operating.

    Another thing to consider: if you reduce CPU performance, CPU operations take longer. More time calculating at less wattage may equal the same total power consumption as less time calculating at higher wattage. The slower the CPU is, the longer it takes to finish calculations, the longer it is busy, and the less time it is idle and saving power. So, instead of saving a significant amount of power, you may just be making it significantly slower. I think that the efficiency of the CPU has a lot more impact on the CPU power savings. A CPU with lower efficiency will be less efficient no matter how much you throttle it. Mobile/laptop CPUs tend to be efficient. If you want efficiency, I would recommend that you look for a solution which uses a CPU designed for efficiency.
    post edited by ty_ger07 - 2020/07/01 04:57:16
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