Gigabyte H55N-USB3 with i3 540 - has anyone undervolted?

All about them.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

Post Reply
irev210
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:57 am
Location: MA

Gigabyte H55N-USB3 with i3 540 - has anyone undervolted?

Post by irev210 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:17 am

Hi, I am choosing between the Gigabyte H55 ITX mobo and the Intel H57 mobo.

As far as I can tell, the gigabyte allows me to undervolt but uses more voltage under load at "stock" settings. While the Intel ITX mobo doesn't allow undervolt, but is much more efficient.

I am looking for the lowest max power usage and need advice.

If I get the gigabyte ITX mobo and undervolt/underclock it, will I be able to get under the Intel's ITX max consumption?

I am building a system that needs to consume less than 65W total, which includes a 14W cable TV tuner card.

I think that if I build the Gigabyte H55N-USB3 and undervolt, I can be at ~20W idle and ~65W full load.

Planned rig specs-
Gigabyte H55N-USB3 (disable USB 3.0, disable pretty much anything I don't need in BIOS to save power)
Intel i3 540 (is this the lowest power clarksdale?)
GSKILL 2x2GB low voltage ram (will be @ 1.25V)
14W cable tuner
1 or 2 80MM case fans (~1W each) + CPU fan (stock intel)
OCZ Vertex 2 sandforce SSD (best performance/power usage SSD)


The other advantage of the intel board is the built-in intel NIC, which I am a big fan of. The system will be using ISCSI for storage and intel NIC seems better.


Any input or advice is greatly appreciated.

MtnHermit
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:25 am
Location: Colorado

Post by MtnHermit » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:09 pm

irev210 wrote:I am looking for the lowest max power usage and need advice.
I have a Gigabyte H55 MB with a i3-530. Great MB and CPU but forget undervolting. Turns out the CPU dynamically undervolts as required using its 1-million transistor power manager unit. I got down to 1.0V with zero power difference. Below 1.0 it would not POST.

Get the Intel MB or an MSI MB if power is your goal. Good power reviews on Tom's.

BillyBuerger
Patron of SPCR
Posts: 855
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 1:49 pm
Location: Somerset, WI - USA
Contact:

Post by BillyBuerger » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:49 am

I too picked up the Gigabyte H55. Undervolting for me did nothing at idle power but did cut some off under load. If I were buying again, I'd probably just go for the Intel and save the hassle while getting lower power.

irev210
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:57 am
Location: MA

Post by irev210 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 2:44 pm

BillyBuerger wrote:I too picked up the Gigabyte H55. Undervolting for me did nothing at idle power but did cut some off under load. If I were buying again, I'd probably just go for the Intel and save the hassle while getting lower power.
thanks for the feedback billybuerger and MtnHermit.

My main issue is not idle, but load. I know at idle it will auto adjust, I am just trying to stay under 65W peak load. So I will give up a few watts at idle if I can save a few at peak by undervolting.

Do either one of you have a power meter and can figure out how much under volting can save you under load?

Looks like I might have to buy both and just test them to find out. The intel has the H57 which is appealing considering the raid functionality.

Thanks for the help so far guys, any additional info regarding load power and power consumption at different volts would be huge!

BillyBuerger
Patron of SPCR
Posts: 855
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 1:49 pm
Location: Somerset, WI - USA
Contact:

Post by BillyBuerger » Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:26 am

Here's what I measured when I first got it with a barebones setup. MB/CPU, PicoPSU 150 (200W brick), and a 2.5" laptop drive...

Code: Select all

Voltage Idle Load
------- ---- ----
Stock    30   71
-0.15    30   60
-0.1875  30   58
Although I was sure I got more like 27W idle... Maybe that was with a different PSU. The brick for my picoPSU isn't great.

yuu
Posts: 132
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 5:03 pm
Location: eu

Post by yuu » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:53 pm

It doesn't answer you questions, but here it is
http://www.fcenter.ru/online.shtml?arti ... s/29256#08

tutu
Posts: 119
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:26 pm
Location: UK

Post by tutu » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:56 am

Does anyone know if the Intel H55/57 supports low voltage DDR3? e.g 1.25 of 1.35? What about the MSI? Thinking of shaving off a couple of watts.

Not sure if the Atom mobos support them either.

faugusztin
Posts: 450
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:47 am
Location: Bratislava, Slovak Republic

Post by faugusztin » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:06 am

AFAIK in case of S1156 boards it depends on motherboard BIOS. If you can set lower voltage than 1.5V, then yes. If no, the no :).

BillyBuerger
Patron of SPCR
Posts: 855
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 1:49 pm
Location: Somerset, WI - USA
Contact:

Post by BillyBuerger » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:48 am

faugusztin wrote:AFAIK in case of S1156 boards it depends on motherboard BIOS. If you can set lower voltage than 1.5V, then yes. If no, the no :).
I have the G.Skill 1.35V memory. to get it running at a lower voltage, I just had to set the BIOS to XMP profile 1 or something. Then it ran just fine at 1.45V(*). I didn't have to specifically undervolt the memory. So it seems as long as the board supports XMP, it should work without manual undervolting. At least that was my experience.

* Gigabyte seems to either run or report memory voltage as 0.1V higher than it's suppose to. My DDR2 boards run the 1.8V at 1.9V and my standard DDR3 boards run the 1.5V at 1.6V. So it stands to figure the 1.35V memory runs at 1.45V. Never heard anything back from Gigabyte about this.

irev210
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:57 am
Location: MA

Post by irev210 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:30 am

BillyBuerger wrote:Here's what I measured when I first got it with a barebones setup. MB/CPU, PicoPSU 150 (200W brick), and a 2.5" laptop drive...

Code: Select all

Voltage Idle Load
------- ---- ----
Stock    30   71
-0.15    30   60
-0.1875  30   58
Although I was sure I got more like 27W idle... Maybe that was with a different PSU. The brick for my picoPSU isn't great.

Thanks for posting this. That's exactly what I was looking for!!

irev210
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:57 am
Location: MA

Post by irev210 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:48 pm

updated:

Here is where I pretty much ended. I have a few things left to do (swap to a copper base intel heatsink off a i7 860, use better thermal paste, install my two noctua 80mm fans... but here is where I am at now-

Specs:
Core i3 540
Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3
G.SKILL ECO 1600MHz CAS7 RAM
Corsair Force 40GB Sandforce SSD

Setup:
-0.225 Dynamic Vcore reduction (~.85V in BIOS), CPU @ 2GHz w/ hyper threading enabled to support undervolt.
1.1V for the GPU (stock speed)
1.3V for the ram (stock speed)

Idle power draw = 27W from the wall
Max power draw (furmark + prime95) = 66W from the wall

Really fast/snappy system. Perfect for a HTPC, and really does well on power consumption. The ~45% load on the PSU at idle is really just about perfect for maximizing efficiency from the PSU, and max load is about 85% of PSU capacity, which is exactly where I wanted to be.

Everyone always wants to go with a bigger power supply... bigger isn't always better.


Image

MtnHermit
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:25 am
Location: Colorado

Post by MtnHermit » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:30 pm

irev210 wrote:Setup:
-0.225 Dynamic Vcore reduction (~.85V in BIOS), CPU @ 2GHz w/ hyper threading enabled to support undervolt.
1.1V for the GPU (stock speed)
1.3V for the ram (stock speed)
That implies you underclocked the i3-540 by ~30%
Idle power draw = 27W from the wall
Max power draw (furmark + prime95) = 66W from the wall
You don't mention your PSU, makes a big difference.

faugusztin
Posts: 450
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:47 am
Location: Bratislava, Slovak Republic

Post by faugusztin » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:07 pm

Ehm, his PSU is the one from ISK300 :).

irev210
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:57 am
Location: MA

Post by irev210 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:10 am

I am still tweaking the system.

Dynamic vs just auto adjusting power options doesn't seem to make a difference for idle power consumption. I turned off "speed step" and the board now just sits at 2.4GHz all the time.

Voltage is currently in the ~.9x range. It's not 100% stable yet, but I'll get there. I'll update when everything is fully dialed in.

Havoc
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:30 pm

Post by Havoc » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:49 am

Would a HFX mini case (mCubed) have enough fanless cooling capacity for a system like this? I want to build a totally silent HTPC with something a bit more powerful than an Atom or Ion.

http://www.hfx.at/index.php?option=com_ ... &Itemid=58

irev210
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:57 am
Location: MA

Post by irev210 » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:08 am

Havoc wrote:Would a HFX mini case (mCubed) have enough fanless cooling capacity for a system like this? I want to build a totally silent HTPC with something a bit more powerful than an Atom or Ion.

http://www.hfx.at/index.php?option=com_ ... &Itemid=58
given the voltage options, I would think so. Just keep underclocking/undervolting until you get to a comfortable thermal limit.

ntavlas
Posts: 811
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:35 pm
Location: Greece
Contact:

Post by ntavlas » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:12 pm

Thanks for posting the info guys, I`m planning a very similar build and it`s good to know that my pico psu can cope.
Would a HFX mini case (mCubed) have enough fanless cooling capacity for a system like this? I want to build a totally silent HTPC with something a bit more powerful than an Atom or Ion.
You will end up sacrificing a fair amount of clockspeed but it should be doable. The southbridge could do with a better heatsink though, especially on the Gigabyte board.

tramall
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:14 pm

Re: Gigabyte H55N-USB3 with i3 540 - has anyone undervolted?

Post by tramall » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:08 pm

I also did some testing , it is part of my job somehow :)

Tested using kill-a-watt kind a device (cheap power meter) - power usage off the wall

My specs are :

GA-H55N-USB3 Bios F2
Core i3-530
2x2GB Geil 1333MHZ RAM , do not know the specs but nothing fancy,normal voltage 1.5V
320GB 2,5inch HDD - SEAGATE Momentus 7200.4
Ancient PSU : Enlight SI-X145M2 Rev. C (it is almost 10 Years OLD)
Scythe Shuriken rev.B

Everything Stock :

idle : 40W-43W
CPU 100% : 80W-83W (orthos)

Underclocked and Undervolted:

Clock 22x100Mhz (2.2Ghz)
Memory 1000MHz
GPU Clock 600Mhz
CPU CORE 1.0V
QPI/VTT 1.05v
Graphics Core 1.0v
USB 3.0 OFF

Idle: 39W-40W
HD Playback (taxi3.wmv 1080p - from Microsoft site): 46-47W
CPU 100% : 63W-65W (orthos)

I think I can knock few watts off (look at the PSU ;) )

Tomorrow I will play with FSP-180-50LE , it is not an efficiency champ but should be better , also have 2,5inch 5400RPM HDD somewhere. Also need to check max CPU+GPU consumption

My goal is to stay below 60W all the time (Using DC-DC and power brick, and SSD)

Does anyone know if power supplies in Silverstone Petit-03 are any good (efficient) ????

Post Reply