ASUS has also put power savings into practice on some of their new boards, and the P5E3 Wifi Deluxe we have been sent for testing has been incorporated with the EPU or Energy Processing Unit. In short, ASUS does what GIGABYTE's DES does, but in a somewhat simpler form. So far it has only been the higher end motherboards that have been fitted with EPU, and there is no word on whether or not the low end boards will get this. Hopefully they will, as it makes more sense for them to have it than on the high-end offerings, more on this later.
ASUS EPU works in conjunction with a simpler Intersil processor to the one that provides the power saving to the GIGABYTE DES based boards. ASUS' top end boards are given a generation eight phase power system that allows the board to power down in the event of idle and low power states, depending on the CPU load. Like the GIGABYTE board, the ASUS EPU when at idle or low load state shuts down to four phases. The ASUS board only has two states; four or eight phases. There is no stepping up to five, six, seven or eight phases; it's simply "on" (eight phases) or "off" (four phases) which limits its power saving by quite a bit.
What we mean is that if the CPU requires more power than the four phases are able to put out, ASUS turns on the extra four and the board is in full power stage. However, all eight may not be needed to run the system, resulting in power being wasted where five or six phases could do the job.
A Word on usefulness
We have now shown you how each system does its power handling, but what are the useful implications of this? - Firstly, we look at the boards that have been given the DES. So far, both companies have only put them onto their top of the line boards, mostly used by power users who are more into overclocking. This is where the EPU and DES really have no place.
Where DES and EPU come into their element are for computers of the garden variety such as workstations, general office PCs and even Digital Home PCs that sit in idle states or are run at minimal CPU usage. This makes them ideal candidates for energy saving technologies like DES and EPU.
So far, GIGABYTE has committed to bringing DES to upcoming low-end boards, but we haven't heard any details on where EPU is going with the ASUS company. Hopefully we will see their mid-range and low-end boards turn up with EPU, or even ones aimed at the Digital Home sector.
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