Should you be looking at various parts to build a PC with, or to upgraded a specific component, you may have come across a term on your travels: TDP. But what exactly is TDP and why should you even care about the value provided by a manufacturer? We break everything down for you.
So, what is TDP?
TDP stands for Thermal Design Power, and is used to measure the amount of heat a component is expected to output when under load. For example, a CPU may have a TDP of 90W, and therefore is expected to output 90W worth of heat when in use. It can cause for confusion when shopping around for new hardware as some may take the TDP value and design a PC build around that, taking note of the watt usage. But this isn't entirely accurate, nor is it completely wrong.
Our 90W TDP CPU example doesn't mean the processor will need 90W of power from the power supply, even though thermal design power is actually measured in watts. Instead of showcasing what the component will require as raw input, manufacturers use TDP as a nominal value for cooling systems to be designed around. It's also extremely rare you will ever hit the TDP of a CPU or GPU unless you rely on intensive applications and processes.
The higher the TDP the more cooling will be required, be it in passive technologies, fan-based coolers or liquid platforms. You'll not be able to keep a 220W AMD FX-9590 with a laptop CPU cooler, for example.
TDP ≠ power draw?
Not quite, no. TDP doesn't equate to how much power will be drawn by the component in question, but that doesn't mean you can't use the value provided as an estimation. The reading itself is based on power so it can actually prove useful when looking at what you will need to provide enough juice. Generally, a component with a lower TDP will need draw less electricity from your power supply.
Actual readings listed by manufacturers can vary as well, depending on their own findings. So while the value of TDP may not exactly reflect how much power a part will draw in a system, it does provide solid grounds to design a cooling system around it, as well as a rough idea as to how much output a power supply (PSU) will need to have. To be safe, we usually recommend a quality brand PSU of 500W for a PC with a single GPU.
If that still has you flabbergasted with TDP, it's essentially a reading that helps determine the power efficiency and performance of a component. Using a CPU as an example, one with higher TDP will usually provide more in terms of performance, but will draw more electricity from the PSU. TDP is not — however — a direct measure of how much power a component will draw, but it can be a good indicator.
Be sure available cooling you have at hand is more than enough to keep components cool, especially when it comes to the GPU and CPU.
Benchmarking the new Surface Book 3 15 with GTX 1660 Ti and 10th Gen i7
Although it's too early for a review, here are some initial benchmarks from the new Surface Book 3 15-inch with a Core i7 and NVIDIA GeForce 1660 Ti (Max-Q) and how it compares to Surface Book 2 and other premium laptops. Spoiler: While the CPU is just OK, that 1660 Ti definitely bumps up the Book 3's potential.
Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004) now available
With just a few days to spare, Microsoft began the rollout of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update. The update includes a new Cortana UI, improvements to Virtual Desktops, and several other changes.
Review: Windows 10 May 2020 Update packs improvements to existing features
Microsoft's next Windows 10 feature update is almost here. Known as the May 2020 Update, this new version of Windows 10 is all about fit and finish. There's not a whole lot new here in regard to features, but plenty of changes and enhancements to features that have already been part of the OS for some time. In this review, we take a look at all the notable new changes and improvements,...
The best motherboards for an AMD Ryzen 5 2600 CPU
There's a wide range of AM4 motherboards available for your AMD Ryzen 5 2600, so I've rounded up a few of my favorites.