Question What is the most low power desktop Intel CPU with built in GPU?

Tristpost

Junior Member
Mar 12, 2022
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As the official Intel TPU figures is such a bad measure of actual power consumption I am a bit stomped about how to find the most low power fairly recent generation Intel CPU with built in GPU? I am open for any socket (that I can buy a desktop or server motherboard for). I am looking for using the CPU in a combined NAS (unRAID) and Plex server (with transcoding for some mobile devices etc. that is why I want to use an Intel CPU with embedded GPU/Quick Sync). I would prefer at least 4 cores and if ECC memory is supported it would be a bonus (for more data reliability for the NAS) but I can compromise on that if there are no options with low power draw...
Happy for suggestions of CPUs or links to review sites that measures the real power consumption (both max and at idle would be ideal)...
 
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maddogmcgee

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Apr 20, 2015
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Would the cpu make a huge difference? Motherboard and PSU might be more impactful if it's going to be idle a lot. I would assume any of the 4 core alder lake CPUs will use a very similar amount of power.
 
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igor_kavinski

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Seems you would need to undervolt the i3-12100 since the T version is not yet available for sale.

You can get ECC support with i5-12600K with a W680 chipset mobo but not available yet.

 
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Tristpost

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Mar 12, 2022
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Thanks for the interesting proposals - I can delay my build until one of these options hit the market. Intel reports the i3-1200T as "launched" so hopefully it should not be THAT long before it actually becomes available.

According to "tweaktown" review the i5-12600K draws between 91 (idle) and 226 (with load) so may be worth waiting for the i3-12100T that I hope will be even lower...

Seems you would need to undervolt the i3-12100 since the T version is not yet available for sale.

You can get ECC support with i5-12600K with a W680 chipset mobo but not available yet.

 

mmaenpaa

Member
Aug 4, 2009
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Thanks for the interesting proposals - I can delay my build until one of these options hit the market. Intel reports the i3-1200T as "launched" so hopefully it should not be THAT long before it actually becomes available.

According to "tweaktown" review the i5-12600K draws between 91 (idle) and 226 (with load) so may be worth waiting for the i3-12100T that I hope will be even lower...
i5-12500 has also ECC support according Intel, base 65W, turbo 117W.

You can set PL1 & PL2 in bios. Techpowerup did that in their 12900K testing, lowest they used was 50/50W.
But I see no reason why 35/35W would not work?

(actually have not built a Intel PC on these 12th gen yet so I have no real experience yet)

Intel Core i512500 Processor 18M Cache up to 4.60 GHz Product Specifications
 
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Tristpost

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Mar 12, 2022
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Thanks for the info - will read up on that...

An existing board for LGA1700 that is speced to do ECC is this one...

i5-12500 has also ECC support according Intel, base 65W, turbo 117W.

You can set PL1 & PL2 in bios. Techpowerup did that in their 12900K testing, lowest they used was 50/50W.
But I see no reason why 35/35W would not work?

(actually have not built a Intel PC on these 12th gen yet so I have no real experience yet)

Intel Core i512500 Processor 18M Cache up to 4.60 GHz Product Specifications
 
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Tristpost

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Mar 12, 2022
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I can already by the Core i3-12300T (somewhat more expensive than what the Core i3-12100T will cost due to slightly higher CPU clock) - is there any other advantage with Core i3-12100T over i3-12100T making it worth the wait?

i5-12500 has also ECC support according Intel, base 65W, turbo 117W.

You can set PL1 & PL2 in bios. Techpowerup did that in their 12900K testing, lowest they used was 50/50W.
But I see no reason why 35/35W would not work?

(actually have not built a Intel PC on these 12th gen yet so I have no real experience yet)

Intel Core i512500 Processor 18M Cache up to 4.60 GHz Product Specifications
 

igor_kavinski

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Jul 27, 2020
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So this might be crazy but if low power is your goal you might try an Intel chip with a good amount of efficiency cores and disable the performance cores...
Now THAT would be unusual. Most people are more likely to disable the E-cores. However, you can't disable all P-cores. At least one P-core must stay enabled no matter what. I suppose with Windows power saving profile, this could work nicely.
 
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coercitiv

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Jan 24, 2014
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Happy for suggestions of CPUs or links to review sites that measures the real power consumption (both max and at idle would be ideal)...
You don't need to know how much the CPUs consume at "stock", since you can reliably dictate the TDP of the CPU through UEFI settings.

Here's an example from another thread where we were discussing performance at low TDP, even as low as 25W Package Power limit for a 12700K:
Here's another test with PL1=PL2=25W in 6+4 configuration. The HWInfo screenshot is taken while the benchmark is running, so it's only showing clocks/power/voltage while under load. The previous score on the left was obtained without HWInfo running.
Therefore bottom line is you can buy whatever Alder Lake chip you want and configure the PL1 and PL2 settings in UEFI based on your own cooling setup. You can go as low as 25W but you're probably going to want something like 35-45W minimum to make the most of it. You can pick anything from their lineup that makes financial sense for you, low power limit won't be a problem even for the i7 12700. Personally I would aim above the i5 12400 just to avoid the (potentially) lower quality silicon of the lowest bin, but even the 12400 @ 35-45W would make an excellent Plex CPU.

So this might be crazy but if low power is your goal you might try an Intel chip with a good amount of efficiency cores and disable the performance cores...
I can confirm this is crazy, both from a hardware perspective since it would result in more energy usage for the same task and also from a software perspective since Plex will eventually need to perform some of the transcoding tasks via software, resulting in poor performance for no other gain.
 
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Insert_Nickname

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I would prefer at least 4 cores and if ECC memory is supported it would be a bonus (for more data reliability for the NAS) but I can compromise on that if there are no options with low power draw...
There are some options for ultra low power consumption, but you'll sacrifice performance. I'd recommend a high efficiency PSU instead. That matters a lot too.

f.x.
https://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/J5040-ITX/index.asp
 
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lakedude

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Mar 14, 2009
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I can confirm this is crazy, both from a hardware perspective since it would result in more energy usage for the same task and also from a software perspective since Plex will eventually need to perform some of the transcoding tasks via software, resulting in poor performance for no other gain.
I'm pretty sure the E cores can handle their business. OP it seems like a 12th gen laptop chip would have a more favorable mix of E cores to P cores...

Screenshot_20220313-222735_Chrome.jpgScreenshot_20220313-223207_Chrome.jpg
 

igor_kavinski

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The only question is, can Plex use the E-cores effectively for transcoding? That is, without having to re-compile the Plex binary with support for E-core's media encoding abilities. Or are the E-cores working in software mode and yet delivering great media encoding results?
 
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coercitiv

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I'm pretty sure the E cores can handle their business.
I'm pretty sure you don't have a clear idea of how much energy P cores and E cores consume to perform energy intensive tasks, video conversion in this case.

Here's a clear analysis made by Chips & Cheese:
1647247740710.png

When using as low as 2W / core, P cores are more energy efficient, with a crossover point around 1.5W. This means that even at 25W TDP an 8+8 Alder Lake chip would make equally good use of P cores and E cores in terms of encoding. Increasing TDP past this point, or using a lower core count CPU such as 8+4 or 6+4 SKU, will see P cores pulling ahead in terms of energy efficiency. Furthermore, disabling ANY cores (E or P, doesn't matter) will definitely result in lower efficiency, and higher energy usage for finite transcoding tasks.

So rest assured: disabling P cores with the aim of lower energy usage in video transcoding is a crazy bad idea for any Plex owner looking to use a 35W+ TDP Alder Lake CPU.

The only question is, can Plex use the E-cores effectively for transcoding? That is, without having to re-compile the Plex binary with support for E-core's media encoding abilities. Or are the E-cores working in software mode and yet delivering great media encoding results?
There are no "E-core media encoding abilities", the hardware media encoding block is not located inside any core type. Moreover, we're discussing software transcoding efficiency, since using QuickSync will be just as efficient no matter the core count or core configuration of the CPU.
 

dullard

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DDR5 memory includes in-chip ECC. Meaning that it can detect errors that occur within the memory chip itself, but not memory errors that occur in transmission from CPU to memory and back. So, it would be up to you if you want this halfway ECC version or not. If you want full ECC, the W680 chipset is needed. The chipset was launched 5 days ago, so I'm not sure if any motherboards are on sale yet. But many have been announced, see this article for links to the announced ones:

For the CPU, the 12100T fits your requirements the best if you can get by without ECC and the 12500T if you want ECC. As others have said above, these chips are hard to buy. As far as I can tell, there isn't a way to buy them directly in the US. But some European stores have been selling some of the lower powered desktop chips (models that end in T) just not the 12100T. Here is one example that lists the 12300T and 12500T as available, but I don't know if you you can get it shipped out of country: https://www.mindfactory.de/product_info.php/Intel-Core-I3-12300T-tray_1441408.html or https://www.mindfactory.de/product_info.php/Intel-Core-I5-12500T-tray_1441405.html

Your other alternative is to just have a good motherboard and use it to set the powers lower. Just because a CPU can use a lot of power doesn't mean you have to let it use a lot of power. But, if you don't want to mess with that then I think you'll need to wait a couple more weeks for everything to be easily purchasable.
 
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Tristpost

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Sounds like the "on-chip" ECC of DDR5 would be good enough for my needs if the price difference compared to "full ECC" is significant - thanks for mentioning it!
Is power consumption generally listed for motherboards? Can't say I have seen it specified...
For PSU I suppose 80 Plus Titanium or Platinum is what to look for. Is getting an as low as possible maximum effect of the PSU important for power consumption or is that more a matter of getting a lower price of the PSU?
 
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igor_kavinski

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Cheapest platinum psu I could find: https://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-Technology-Silverstone-SX700-PT-Certification/dp/B07Y49P3Y4

Some love it. Others hate it.


Cheap and 1001 ratings with a lot of satisfied customers.


Not gold but cheap and over 2000 ratings.


Now this seems to be a real price/performance champion. Over 9800 ratings.
 
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coercitiv

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Is power consumption generally listed for motherboards? Can't say I have seen it specified...
Sadly no, but you can use a simple rule of thumb for the mobo: buy the smallest board that still fits your I/O needs. For example, if an mITX board is good enough for you then you'll have a better chance of excellent idle power usage. When configuring the board don't forget to disable hardware that you may not need (such as sound codec, additional network adapters, etc)

For PSU I suppose 80 Plus Titanium or Platinum is what to look for. Is getting an as low as possible maximum effect of the PSU important for power consumption or is that more a matter of getting a lower price of the PSU?
You may want to consider a SFX power supply, even if you'll end up mounting it with an adapter on the case of your choice. The reason is these small factor PSUs tend to be offered in high efficiency & low wattage combinations, something that's no longer readily available anymore in ATX form factor. You want lower power as they tend to hit peak efficiency at lower loads.

My personal recommendation would be the Corsair SF450 (either the Gold or the Platinum model), just make sure cable length won't be a problem as SFX PSUs tend to have shorther cables (and Corsair in particular has them quite short). IIRC with this PSU I was able to hit 15-17W idle power consumption on a 6600K + Z170 ITX board + 8GB RAM in dual channel + SSD. Obviously real-world idle power consumption was higher as the final Plex server also used a number HDDs for media storage. For reference, the lowest idle power consumption I ever got was around 12W with an AM1 Kabini + 8GB + SSD and a 300W Gold rated PSU.

If you stay with ATX form factor, aim for lowest wattage & highest efficiency (Gold/Plat) you can find from vendors such as Corsair or Seasonic, and check that they have hybrid fan profiles (both vendors have models that keep fans off until ~30-50% load on the PSU). There may be other good vendors around so feel free to look around, but my limited research time was devoted to these two brands as they're readily available in my country.

Sounds like the "on-chip" ECC of DDR5 would be good enough for my needs if the price difference compared to "full ECC" is significant - thanks for mentioning it!
I would not consider the on-chip ECC of DDR5 an actual advantage towards secure data retention. This was already discussed in the media, and the consensus is the on-chip ECC is used to increase yields, in the sense that more chips pass validation once ECC is added. This is very similar to the additional error correction used in NAND to enable decent metrics while using smaller nodes (which had a negative effect on data retention, a similar effect to what modern RAM cells are experiencing when moving to denser nodes). Combine the above with the high cost of DDR5 and you may simply want to use DDR4 ECC and call it a day.

In the ned none of tis may matter anyway, as you need to see ECC enabled mainboard availablity first, and this may force you towards DDR4 or DDR5 anyway.
 

lakedude

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Coercitiv

I'm going to give you the win on this but you must admit that "P" cores being more efficient than "E"fficiency cores is a bit counter intuitive...

They don't pack battery powered laptops with a higher ratio of Efficiency cores because they are less efficient...

Any chance an Apple based or ARM based chip could be used?

We use a phone on a DeX as our streaming client, works even when the internet is out. In fact before we got fiber we canceled our internet in favor of just using the phones for a couple years.
 
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