Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500
Memory: 2x 1GB DDR2-1186 Geil (Supplied by Geil)
Hard Disk: 500GB Western Digital SE16 (Supplied by Western Digital)
Graphics Card: GIGABYTE 9800GX2 (Supplied by MSI)
Cooling: GIGABYTE 3D Galaxy II (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista SP1
Drivers: Intel INF 126.96.36.1998, Forceware 175.16
We used a common ground of components to determine the overall power drain of each system. While the software of each system does give a current power usage, this can't be fully trusted. To get a real power reading we use our wall power meter to determine the amount of power consumed.
Our stock clocked power consumption tests were done at idle in Windows Vista SP1 with no background systems running or any additional applications loaded. We used the stock 3.16GHz clock of 9.5x with a 333MHz FSB.
It should also be noted here that all three motherboards are based on the same Intel P45 chipset so as to stick with the most even playing field possible.
Stock Clockspeeds - Power Consumption
Here we see that at stock levels ASUS manages to get just a tiny bit ahead of the GIGABYTE board with the power management enabled. With it disabled GIGABYTE manages a slight win here. MSI brings up the rear, but not by a huge gap, that's for sure.
Stock Clockspeeds - Temperatures
In terms of heat we see that MSIs Circu-pipe manages to keep things quite cool, and the DrMOS technology does help keep it cooler than the traditional components.