Intel Core i3-530 and Supermicro X8SIL-F Power Consumption (plus Xeon X3440)

The Supermicro X8SIL-F Motherboard
The Supermicro X8SIL-F Motherboard

To update to my review of the Supermicro X8SIL-F, I took some Kill-A-Watt power consumption numbers with the Supermicro X8SIL-F to answer a few questions regarding power consumption with real server hardware compared to consumer-level hardware. Below I am focusing on idle power consumption as with the Intel Core i3-530, Xeon X3440, and other LGA 1156 CPUs the CPU utilization while running a NAS application will be very low. After a bit of testing I found the i3-530 again leading the pack in idle power consumption and the Xeon X3440 turning in very respectable idle power consumption numbers.hus728t8tale6l4

Test Configuration

One will notice some differences between this configuration and what I used for the motherboard review. The reason for this is that I wanted the results to be closely comparable to the other power consumption numbers. This necessitated the addition of an Intel SSD, to replace the Hitachi 2TB drives and the subtraction of 4GB of RAM. Furthermore, I changed PSU’s to my reliable PicoPSU 150XT and ensured only one fan was running (the Intel stock retail heatsink/ fan).

  1. CPU(s): Intel Core i3-530 and Intel Xeon X3440
  2. Motherboard: Supermicro X8SIL-F Rev. 1.02
  3. Memory: 4GB of Kingston ECC 1333MHz DDR3 KVR1333D3E9SK2/4G (Unbuffered)
  4. Case: Norco RPC-4220
  5. Drive(s):  Intel X25-V 40GB
  6. Power Supply: PicoPSU 150XT
  7. OS(es): Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

Power Consumption Testing

The first question is, how much power does the combination take when the server is powered down and the motherboard and power supply are drawing current from the wall socket (or battery back up unit)?

Supermicro X8SIL-F BMC Power Consumption 4w with spikes to 8w
Supermicro X8SIL-F BMC Power Consumption 4w with spikes to 8w

As one can see above, the power consumption of the Supermicro X8SIL-F’s on board Nuvoton WPCM450 Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) does take a bit more power when the machine is turned off. I will mention that I did see some spikes to 7w and 8w before dropping again to 4w. Typically, I see 1w to 3w consumed by H55 and H57 systems when the power is off with the PicoPSU 150XT according to the Kill-A-Watt. When the motherboard has power, the BMC is providing the WebGUI that allows one to remotely power cycle the server and do other things through IPMI 2.0. This extra functionality seems to make the X8SIL-F consume 4w to 8w when the server is powered down. Then again, for most users, storage servers will stay online 24×7 to keep virtual machines, backup targets, file repositories, and media streaming folders available.

Next, the Supermicro X8SIL-F with an Intel Core i3-530 CPU idle power consumption.

Supermicro X8SIL-F with Intel Core i3-530 Idle Power Consumption
Supermicro X8SIL-F with Intel Core i3-530 Idle Power Consumption

This power consumption is a bit higher than I normally see on consumer level boards. Then again, IPMI 2.0 is probably worth the few additional watts.

After running the Core i3-530 for a few days, I realized that I wanted something slightly faster. I turned to a Xeon X3440 which is a Lynnfield CPU similar to the Core i7 860 and 870, just with ECC memory support and a lower clock speed of 2.53GHz. Interestingly enough, I could still easily power the Xeon X3440 CPU, the Supermicro X8SIL-F, an Intel X25-V, and either an Intel Pro/1000 PT Quad or Adaptec 5805 raid controller with the PicoPSU 150XT. To keep numbers comparable to the i3-530 numbers, I did not have those add-in cards installed when these measurements were taken.

Supermicro X8SIL-F with Xeon X3440 power consumption at idle
Supermicro X8SIL-F with Xeon X3440 power consumption at idle

I think this is a key result. One will note that the idle power consumption of the Xeon X3440 is fairly close to the Core i3-530. I tried this several different times, waiting hours to makes sure no processes were still running in Windows 7 64-bit. Still, the idle power consumption remained very close to the Core i3-530.

Perhaps the biggest finding here is the comparison to the Phenom II X4 955 BE which used 57w at idle using the PicoPSU 150XT, however that result I got by significantly underclocking the Phenom II X5 955 BE to get it to boot into Windows with the PicoPSU. Using a PSU that was sufficient for daily use (i.e. one that provides enough power to normally boot into windows at stock clocks) the lowest power consumption I saw was 64w at idle. Given, the AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition is higher clocked than the Xeon X3440 and was on a motherboard (MSI 890GXm-G65) with USB 3, SATA 3, and a Direct X10 capable onbaord GPU so that may account for some of the delta. On the other hand, the Xeon X3440 had a motherboard with the BMC, IPMI 2.0, and three NICs. For a home server (WHS, Linux, or otherwise) or small business server, it is fairly clear that the Supermicro X8SIL-F has a superior feature set to the tested AMD consumer level platform.

The Core i3-530 is now enjoying testing duties in an Intel S3420GPLC server motherboard. Expect a review in the next few weeks.

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