How Much Power Does A CPU Use – It’s Surprising

The CPU is the main processing component of a PC, this means it will consume a considerable amount of power especially at load.

With that being said, you need to be wary of the power supply you use to ensure that you supply enough power to your CPU.

But how much power does a CPU specifically use? Well, that question depends on many factors such as the core count, clock speed, and CPU generation.

How Much Power Does A CPU Use?

A processor’s power usage will vary, but the more cores, and the higher the clock speed, the more power the CPU will consume.

Also, power consumption also depends on the architecture of a processor, and how efficient it is.

The CPUs architecture plays a huge role in the power consumption, CPUs with a desktop architecture will consume more power compared to a CPU with a laptop’s architecture.

CPU Power consumption graph
Figures Compiled From

With Intel, the power consumption tends to increase by generation, this is likely because Intel focuses more on the performance side of things.

AMD takes a more balanced approach, they tend to focus on both performance and efficiency of the processor which is why the power consumption doesn’t increase that much by generation.

Power Consumption Depends On The Type Of CPU

A CPUs power consumption will depend a lot on what type of processor it is, for example, high end CPUs such as the I9s will consume more power than the I5s and the I3s.

This is because the I9s will come with more cores, and higher clock speeds compared to I5s and I3s, so it’s natural to experience higher power usage.

The same thing applies to AMD processors, the Ryzen 9 CPUs will consume more power than the Ryzen 5s and the Ryzen 3s for the exact same reasons.

Do Ryzen CPUs Consume Less Power?

In general, Ryzen processors are known to be more power efficient compared to Intel processors, this means they will consume less power whilst performing similar levels of performance.

This has a lot to do with Intel being stuck on the 14nm lithography process which is significantly less efficient than the 7nm process which AMD Ryzen chips used.

Pair that with the extremely high clock speeds that Intel pushes, and you get a power hungry chip with little efficiency.

Clock Speed And Power Usage Relationship

The relationship between the clock speed and the power usage is linear, due to this, pushing purely for clock speed is inefficient.

This is also why overclocking will increase the power usage significantly even if the voltage is not increased.

CPU Power consumption graph

With each clock cycle, nodes on the CPU are being charged or discharged, this is the reason for the significant power consumption increase.

Also Read: What Is A Good CPU Frequency

Mobile Processor Power Consumption And Architecture


Desktop processors will consume more power than laptop processors mainly due to the architectural differences.

With Intel processors, you can find mobile processors that consume only 15W of power, you won’t find that level of efficiency with desktop CPUs.

Also, AMD has mobile processors which consume very little power, it ranges between 10-28W of power usage which is significantly less than desktop CPUs.

BrandSuffixUsePower Consumption In Watts
IntelG1-G7Made to conserve battery life (limited to 4 cores)~15W
IntelUMobile power efficient5-28W
IntelYMobile extremely low power7W
AMDUUltra Low Power10-28W

Even on the higher end, with mobile processors with an ethos to high performance won’t consume as much power as a desktop CPU.

The HX mobile processors by Intel are supposed to use “Desktop-Caliber Silicon“, but only have a max TDP of 55W which isn’t that much in comparison to desktop CPUs.

BrandSuffixUsePower Consumption In Watts
IntelHHigh performance optimized for mobile28-45W
IntelHKHigh performance optimized for mobile, unlocked45W
IntelHXDesktop-caliber silicon for High Performance~55W
AMDHHigh performance mobile processor35-54W

Does Overclocking Increase Power Consumption


When overclocking, you’re pushing your processor to work past its rated limits, and this requires more power than usual.

Even if you’re not overvolting, and just increasing the core clock speed, the CPU will still consume more power, it can add up to 100W more to its requirements.

If you really push your CPU to the limits, you can see more than an 100% increase in power consumption

This is why it’s important to ensure that you have a sufficient CPU cooler as well as a decent enough power supply to handle the overclock.

Does Undervolting Reduce CPU Power Usage?

Yes, undervolting will usually reduce the amount of power the CPU will draw, this is because CPU manufacturers will usually assign a higher voltage value than necessary to the CPU.

This is usually to ensure that everything works fine out of the box, but this will also increase the amount of power it draws, and also generate more heat.

So, you can usually mitigate this by undervolting your CPU, and you typically can keep the same clock speed if you don’t get unlucky, this will reduce the power draw of the CPU.

Undervolting is popular among laptop users, this is because it reduces the heat and power consumption which can negatively affect the performance.


In conclusion, a CPUs power usage depends on many factors such as clock speed, architecture, and whether it’s overclocked or not.

Mobile processors are known to consume less power than desktop processors, this is necessary for preserving battery life.

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