Low power video card

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Icecold
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Low power video card

Post by Icecold » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:30 pm

I was curious if anybody had measured power usage with a Kill-a-watt or had any opinion on the best low power video card to use for a machine with no onboard video. Not for running DC on the video card but just so it POSTs and has video output. Sometimes it is nice to have a machine that is CPU crunching only, and it's certainly easier to manage when bunkering for competitions not having to worry about another instance for GPU tasks, etc.

I had read on another forum about somebody using a PCI to PCI express adapter and some super old low power Matrox PCI card for video output but I couldn't find the thread again when I went looking for it. I just bought a 750ti on the cheap, which is overkill(and I'll be tempted to run GPU projects on even though it's low PPD output). I had some old Radeon 3450's and Nvidia 8400gs's lying around, which were the go to card for that purpose a decade ago or whatever, but they're no longer readily available new and I don't know if the 8400gs's may be part of 'bumpgate' or I just have bad luck since mine artifacts super bad once it gets to the Linux mint desktop. Either way, it makes me not necessarily want to buy them used.

GT710 seems pretty common for this task, but the power usage seems somewhat high based on what I've read. I'm trying to pair it with a Ryzen 3950 that is PPT limited to 88 watts, so I'd really like something that's maybe like 5 watts idle. Anybody else run into this and have any thoughts?

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Re: Low power video card

Post by crashtech » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:52 pm

I haven't measured low power GPUs. The assumption might be to buy a card with the smallest (newest) process, and the smallest heat sink. I think there are a few out there that will run passive, that would indicate low power consumption.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by WDP » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:53 pm

I use one of these: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS (256MB) driver: 342.01 OpenCL: 1.0
It's now in a 3970x on Ubuntu 20.04 and uses whatever drivers that comes with, Boinc doesn't see it.
Never measured how many watts it uses, expect the fan on it uses more than the GPU itself.

Was taken from a dead or dying PC many years ago and put aside, I found it lying around when I needed something for a new build, it will be replaced when I can get a 3080 for it.

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10esseetony
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Re: Low power video card

Post by 10esseetony » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:57 pm

I have a bunch of these, haven't measured them though:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/NVIDIA-Quadro- ... ition=3000

TDP is 34 watts. Eh, too high.

Maybe try NVIDIA Quadro NVS 285 or 315, use 18 and 19 watts.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by crashtech » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:59 pm

I ran across this while Googling:

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ge ... 122-6.html

Something to look at. Here's a 7300 GS on ebay:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Gigabyte-Nvidi ... SwTwZfzU3z

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Re: Low power video card

Post by 10esseetony » Fri Jan 01, 2021 4:04 pm

crashtech wrote:
Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:59 pm
...Something to look at. Here's a 7300 GS ...
23 watts, not bad

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Icecold » Fri Jan 01, 2021 4:34 pm

I appreciate the suggestions, and I'll look into those. Fortunately most of these cards are really inexpensive used, so maybe I should just pick up a few and test them out. I was hoping to get something fairly recent, but it doesn't seem like there's much market any more for low power cards for just display. The GT710 seems to be the modern equivalent to an 8400gs type card, I may pick one of those up as well to try it and test it with my kill a watt. The TDP I found listed is 19 watts, which if the rest of the system for 32 threads + ram + ssd is around 80-90 watts an extra 19 is a ton, but I'm sure that's not when it's just idling at desktop. I would like to move a few things around though, and not run my higher power usage Xeons full time, but they currently have some of my better video cards in them, so I need to consolidate some things to accomplish that, and would need low end video cards to put in those.

There seems to be a ton of the various quadros on sale for cheap on eBay I guess if I start with finding ones that are fanless they should be lower TDP and then I can narrow my search from there.

I may attempt a pci to pci express adapter as well. It's a total kludge in my opinion, but somebody was swearing by it(if I can ever find the thread again) and something like this doesn't even have a heatsink how much power could it possibly use - https://www.amazon.com/Generic-Rage-Vid ... B003FP95Q2

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Re: Low power video card

Post by endgame124 » Fri Jan 01, 2021 4:56 pm

I’m guessing that the older the card, with the older manufacturing process, the higher the idle / 2d power draw. Should check idle power of something like a 1650.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Icecold » Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:06 pm

endgame124 wrote:
Fri Jan 01, 2021 4:56 pm
I’m guessing that the older the card, with the older manufacturing process, the higher the idle / 2d power draw. Should check idle power of something like a 1650.
I appreciate the suggestion. I should have been more clear in my original post about what I'm looking to accomplish, but I was hoping for the low power card to be inexpensive as well. I think my 2070's idle pretty low, so I could put one of those in, but ideally I want a card that is inexpensive, very low power usage, and low BOINC performance so I'm not tempted to crunch GPU tasks on it. If I threw a 1650 in there it would never idle because I'd be running tasks on it :D

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Re: Low power video card

Post by endgame124 » Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:13 pm

A number of motherboards will let you run headless (no video card). I have a GeForce 710 as a spare that I can toss into a headless system for when I need to troubleshoot.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by WDP » Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:17 pm

If I needed something that old I would (pre-covid) happily go down to the recycling centre with a screwdriver and take the old boxes apart, if anyone bothered to ask I'd just say I'd forgotten to take a hard disk out.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Icecold » Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:36 pm

endgame124 wrote:
Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:13 pm
A number of motherboards will let you run headless (no video card). I have a GeForce 710 as a spare that I can toss into a headless system for when I need to troubleshoot.
I'll have to try that again. Last time I had tried it most wouldn't POST, and the ones that did were really weird about how remote access worked, but that has been awhile. Although, that's pretty much all machines, I've been using HDMI or displayport dummy plugs because it makes remotely controlling them with Teamviewer, etc. run way faster.

That will be another project to tackle is figuring out how best to manage my machines over the network, setup boinctasks, etc.
WDP wrote:
Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:17 pm
If I needed something that old I would (pre-covid) happily go down to the recycling centre with a screwdriver and take the old boxes apart, if anyone bothered to ask I'd just say I'd forgotten to take a hard disk out.
I looked through my old parts. I have a PCI soundcard and some other assorted PCI devices but no video cards(to use with a PCI to PCI express adapter). I already used my old low end PCI express cards, but the one doesn't work right. I do have a couple AGP cards though, and had no idea that some of them are worth $$ now. I need to decide if putting my ti4600 up on eBay is worth it, or if I should source a high end CRT and setup a sweet late 90's, early 2000's gaming PC :D

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Re: Low power video card

Post by WDP » Fri Jan 01, 2021 6:48 pm

Icecold wrote:
Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:36 pm
or if I should source a high end CRT
Have 1 of these available: https://www.visualalchemy.tv/1999_17_so ... er_hmda200
Has useful USB ports on the side, very modern for the time

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Re: Low power video card

Post by crashtech » Fri Jan 01, 2021 7:08 pm

I'd heard that those Sonys had a really nice picture.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by endgame124 » Fri Jan 01, 2021 7:22 pm

Hmm, I have a fairly large collection of AGP video cards and sli 12mb voodoo 2s. Perhaps I’m sitting on something valuable

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Icecold » Fri Jan 01, 2021 10:34 pm

I wonder if I should pick up one or 2 of these and see how it turns out - https://www.ebay.com/itm/DELL-Matrox-MG ... Sw-uRfDMun

Matrox cards aren't known to be high performance(which is a good thing in this situation), and with such a tiny passive heat sink you'd have to think it doesn't use much power.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by crashtech » Fri Jan 01, 2021 10:48 pm

That does look low power!

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Re: Low power video card

Post by biodoc » Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:43 am

I have a GTX 980 on my Ivy 2P (headless). When I log in via SSH and run nvidia-smi, the card is pulling 13 watts at idle.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by StefanR5R » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:25 am

1080Ti is generally at circa 8 W when idle (in Linux, measured by the board sensor). Or maybe more like 9 or 10 W for a GPU which displays an idle Cinnamon desktop, and 7 W for an unused secondary GPU.

If I remember correctly, 1070 and 1080 had the same idle consumption.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Icecold » Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:35 am

This thread has gotten fairly interesting. I didn't expect modern cards to be as efficient as they are at idle. I think ultimately this is going to end up being a preference issue, not a technical issue. My methodology for DC used to be having low end CPU machines that have video cards(and only crunch on the video cards) and separate machines with more CPU that only crunch on the CPU. This was several years ago though with Intel that had onboard video, so it was easier to accomplish. As my number of machines and video cards grew I started combining them, but I still really like the idea of them being separate, or least as many of them separate as they can be. It's just easier to manage for me not having to worry about leaving a couple threads open for the video card, bunkering projects that download at different rates, multiple instances, etc. plus you can then more easily shut down high power usage CPU crunchers without having a video card attached to them that you would like to crunch on. My 56 thread Xeon is the most hassle free cruncher I have, and I think a big part of is that I'm not trying to run GPU projects on it.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by StefanR5R » Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:29 pm

BTW, idle power consumption of Turing and Ampere is higher again than Pascal — as far as I have read.

Also, I concede that 1070/1080/1080Ti are a little off-topic here, as you specifically looked for GPUs which don't give you the idea to run BOINC on them.
Icecold wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:35 am
My methodology for DC used to be having low end CPU machines that have video cards(and only crunch on the video cards) and separate machines with more CPU that only crunch on the CPU.
I am having this same separation of computer types currently.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by pututu » Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:05 pm

I have 3 GT710s which I swapped out the high end cards when running CPU only for more than a few weeks. It saves about 5W compare to 1080ti, iirc. This translates to about 840Whr per week of power savings. With three PCs that's about 2.5kWhr. I think GT 710 is the most efficient card for a desktop. According to techpowerup, the max TDP for this card in only 19W. https://www.techpowerup.com/gpu-specs/g ... -710.c1990.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Fardringle » Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:42 pm

I don't see anything official, but I found an article on Tom's Hardware that says the GTX 1050 (not ti) uses 3-5 watts when idling. Not sure it fits the "cheap" category, though, since pretty much all graphics cards are ridiculous right now...

This chart doesn't include some of the least power hungry cards, but it might be helpful:

Image

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Howdy » Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:32 pm

There is a GTX 1030 too, passive and with a fan. Not sure on the power though idling.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Fardringle » Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:49 pm

The GTX 1030 is cheaper than the 1050, but from what I can find it idles a few watts higher than the 1050 at around 8 watts. It's not a huge difference so could be worth it for the cost difference between the cards.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Icecold » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:37 pm

Curiosity got the best of me, and I ordered a low powered passive AMD card(I think a 6450, but it wasn't real clear) and a Matrox card(from 2005!). I have an ATI 3450 currently in use, and it seems to work fine, but I haven't measured the power usage. The Matrox is $21 shipped, the AMD card is $13 shipped. Even if a 1050 or something would end up being slightly lower power usage, I was looking for something less expensive. I'll post back once I get them and can test it with my Kill a watt.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by StefanR5R » Wed Jan 06, 2021 7:50 am

Baseboard Management Controllers (BMCs) are not only low-power video cards, they also allow for remote management, even down to remote access to the BIOS. Downside: They don't come as add-in boards; you need to buy a mainboard with them.

Related news:
https://www.anandtech.com/show/16349/th ... d-with-bmc
Gavin Bonshor wrote:ASRock Rack, the professional arm of ASRock, has launched an interesting B550 model which is aimed at the server and workstation market, but uses the mid-range chipset. The ASRock Rack B550D4-4L benefits from support for AMD's latest Ryzen 5000 series of processors [as well as 4000G and 3000], with a BMC controller, support for up to 128 GB of [ECC and] non-ECC [unregistered] DDR4-3200 memory, and includes a single PCIe 3.0 M.2 slot from the chipset.
Form factor is ATX.
Retail availability and price are not yet known.
B550D4-4L specifications

Other ASRock Rack boards with BMC: (Besides these AM4/TR4/TRX40 boards, naturally all SP3 boards feature a BMC.)

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Fardringle » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:33 pm

Another possible cheap option if you can find one, is the GTX 750ti. GPU-Z is saying that the 750ti in my daughter's computer uses 0.9W at idle. I don't know if I trust that number, but it's pretty impressive if true.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Icecold » Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:23 am

I have a 750ti sitting here waiting to be installed but I was under the impression there were options with lower power usage. Once I receive the other cards I ordered I'll do some comparisons including with the 750ti. I'm still considering trying a PCI Express to PCI adapter and one of those PCI ATI rage cards as well. They don't even have a heatsink let alone a fan so you'd have to assume they use very little power. Ideally the matrox card I ordered will be an acceptable power usage since they are very inexpensive.

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Re: Low power video card

Post by Icecold » Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:17 am

I setup a PC today, and I'm using it to test the video card power usage. It is a 3900X that I have set to 88 watts PPT and has a gold rated Seasonic Focus power supply. I'm running Windows currently since it has more options for graphics card monitoring software, but once I'm done testing it the machine will be dual boot between Windows 10 and Linux Mint 20. I'm using Numberfields currently at 100% CPU usage to get full system load power usage numbers.

With the Matrox G550 power usage at 100% cpu utilization is 128 watts. I'll edit this post as I test other configurations. My AMD card hasn't arrived yet.

With the 750ti power usage is pretty steady at 131 watts when the card is idle, but if I start moving stuff around in Windows(just navigating through Windows, opening explorer, etc.) it will jump up 10 watts or so and then go back down. If I'm remote desktop'd(through Windows RDP) to it, though, navigating Windows doesn't affect it.

Interestingly enough(interesting to me, I know a few people said it would but I thought there was a good chance it wouldn't POST), it does boot up without a video card hooked up. Power usage like that is 122 watts. If the Matrox is really only consuming 6 watts that seems probably worth it to be able to easily access the bios, or access dual boot menu, etc. without having to throw a video card in. 6 watts is going to be pretty hard to beat I think.

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