AMD Ryzen X570 Motherboards Draw So Much Power, It’s Warping CPU Comparisons

Because the pre-launch run-up for AMD’s Ryzen 7 3000 family was… hectic, to say the least, a lot of nooks and corners had to be left unchecked, just to get the Navi and Ryzen reviews done on time. There was also a bit of difficulty in making sure that X470 and X570 motherboard cross-compatibility was properly maintained, and not a lot of time to spend screwing with either. For this reason, I elected to test the Ryzen 7 2700X on an older X470 motherboard and the Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X in the new X570 motherboard. In our review, I noted that AMD had fairly high idle power and that it wasn’t clear why.

We’ve done some additional investigating into this and can now clarify part of the problem: X570 motherboards are using far more power than their X470 counterparts. If you put a Ryzen 7 3000 CPU inSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce an X470 chipset, all of a sudden a whole lot of power efficiency appears. We’ve modified the power consumption graphs from our original review and tested an additional X570 motherboard.

The MSI Godlike X570 was our original testbed board, but we’ve added a comparison against the older X470 MSI Gaming M7 AC. The X570 Godlike definitely spends some power on features like an onboard OLED and LED bling, but it doesn’t seem like enough to match the level of difference we see. The other X570 motherboard we tested, the Asus Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi) also shows different — and lower — power consumption, but not as much as the OG X470.

We haven’t retested the 3900X yet, but there’s no reason these findings shouldn’t apply to it as well. Here’s our adjusted/expanded findings.

Switching from the MSI X570 Godlike to the X470 Gaming M7 AC reduces power consumption under Prime95 by 38W. Idle power drops from 67W to 52W, a substantial reduction. Suddenly, the 7nm AMD Ryzen 7 3700X is now only slightly behind the Intel CPUs rather than being separated from them by a gulf.

The Asus X570 board shows less overall power usage than the MSI, but not enough to break the gap between the two solutions.

Compared with the Ryzen 7 2700X on an equal chipset, the gap between them has become a canyon. Under full load in the older Prime95 variant, AMD’s 3700X draws ~70W less power.

The newer Prime95 shows a dramatic reduction in power consumption on X470 compared with what we measured for X570 in this test. We confirmed the result repeatedly but don’t have an explanation for it. Both X570 motherboards maintain relatively steady power consumption between the two Prime95 variants now, but the X470 motherboard drops by 20W. The MSI Godlike uses 15-16W more than the Asus X570 Crosshair VIII Hero.

The gap between the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 7 3700X grows here, to nearly 90W. These reductions put the Ryzen 7 3700X on better power efficiency standing than the Core i9-9900K, even after Intel’s CPU pulls its frequency down.

Finally, Cinebench R20. Here, our lowest-power line isn’t idle power — it’s single-thread power consumption measured during the single-core test. There’s a 17W difference in single-core power consumption, and while AMD still doesn’t match the relatively low single-power wattage of the Core i7-8086K, 80W is a much better result.

Again, however, X570 continues to draw dramatically more power than previously. The MSI board is a top offender, at 174W, but even the Asus board is still pulling 160-165W, compared with 130W for the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X. Again, even compared with Intel’s yanked-back Core i9-9900K, the Ryzen 7 3700X is a positive power-sipper.

Don’t Let X570 Power Consumption Cloud the Waters

The X570 chipset is extremely power hungry at the moment. Some of this may be fixable in UEFI updates. It would also be nice to have the ability to disable any LEDs or onboard OLED panels (like on the X570 Godlike) to confirm they aren’t significantly impacting the power consumption issue.

AMD has always said that the X570 chipset would sit overtop the X470 / B450 rather than replacing them, but the company didn’t really clarify how much power efficiency it would give up by focusing on these chipsets as launch vehicles. The Ryzen 7 3700X is far more power-efficient than it looks at first glance when paired with a chipset that’s less power-hungry. Running at PCIe 4.0 for internal bandwidth, the included LEDs, the onboard fan — even with all of these factors accounted for, there’s still a pretty large gap between the two platforms.

Meanwhile, when you compare the Ryzen 7 2700X to the 3700X in the same motherboard, the degree of improvement is incredible. Apples-to-apples, with the motherboardSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce and PCIe 4.0 support as the only differences, the Ryzen 7 3700X draws 70-90W less at load than the Ryzen 7 2700X.

Update (7/9/2019): The original title of this story, “AMD’s X570 Chipset Draws So Much Power, It’s Warping CPU Comparisons” implied that the power draw differential is entirely a function of the X570 chipset itself. This was an unintentional inaccuracy. It isn’t the X570 chipset alone that’s drawing the additional power, it’s the entire motherboard. The actual X570 chipset only draws ~7W at load. (If the X570 chipset actually drew 30-50W, the size of the heatsink and fan on top of it would be far larger than they are).

The question of why these motherboards draw so much more additional power, and why there’s so much variance from board to board, remains under active investigation. These are all early motherboards, and future UEFI updates may resolve or substantially improve the situation.

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