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Power consumption and efficiency
The X4 980's TDP rating of 125W puts in firmly in a higher weight class than its most direct price and performance competitors from Intel, all of which are 95W parts—despite the fact that only the Intel processors have a built-in GPU. Nevertheless, power ratings and true power consumption are tricky and can differ substantially in some cases. Here are our results for the X4 980 against, well, nearly everything.

Our X4 980-based test system draws roughly 20W more when idling and 60W more while rendering than a comparable Core i5-2400-based system. Power draw under load has risen only 7W versus the Phenom II X4 975, but AMD wasn't exactly winning this fight prior to the X4 980's arrival.

This puppy isn't going to win any power efficiency awards for this rendering workload, either. Even the old Core 2 Quad Q9400—which, after all, was fabbed on a fairly similar 45-nm process—is more efficient than the X4 980. Only AMD's hexa-core Phenom IIs can come close to Intel's best 45-nm chips, because those Phenoms don't have to live so far up the voltage/frequency curve.

And then there are Intel's 32-nm chips, which occupy the top six spots.