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 Post subject: Article on Tom's about PC energy consumption
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:30 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:59 pm
Posts: 84
Location: IHTFP, MA
Here is an article about energy efficient computing. Most of the text won't be news for readers of SPCR, but Tom's access to lots of hardware means that the plots are interesting. The authors point out something i've been discovering while researching a new system (my last desktop build was 5 years ago): that the graphics card industry is disgustingly inefficient in power usage. It's not necessarily the 100+W draw under load, when the GPUs are drawing huge amps to render -- it's at idle, where almost no effort has been made to reduce the power consumption (unlike modern CPUs). Due to that, the base draw of a discrete graphic solution can be as much as the rest of the system at idle.

I have been inquiring in various fora about how to undervolt a Geforce 8600 card so as to be able to idle it at reasonable Watts. Well, the consensus seems to be -- get this -- that it's simply not possible: nVidia has made no provision for reducing the Voltage of their latest model of GPU. That's not a 21st century design decision, and IMO not acceptable for silent/eco PC enthusiasts.

One other thing i noticed in reading a review of some mATX motherboards there was that the Gigabyte P33 board i was looking at getting consumes a not insignificant greater amount of power than the MSI and ECS alternatives (although it does have more features). I've noticed the same thing on all the reviews i've seen of Gigabyte's graphics cards (specifically, the 8600 models). It makes me wonder what they are doing with their wiring, and whether i should just eschew Gigabyte's products.

Anyway, the latter was a digression, but i thought that resource might be useful. Mike, i know you've consulted for some case designs before. It may be wishful thinking, but perhaps you could approach nVidia or one of their oems (not sure at what level it would have to be) as a representative of silent/eco PC consumers and consultant for making a better video card.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 7:42 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 191
19W idle was one of the factors in my decision to buy a 7600GS card.

I've read that it's somewhat straightforward to overclock a 7600GS to 'GT', although I haven't tried - but that would imply that it might also be straightforward to underclock a 'GT' to 'GS' so as to get the lower idle power consumption when not gaming.

I'm not particularly impressed with the Nvidia drivers (although things are going to get lost worse in the video drivers area as ms pushes its "protected video path" and "video tilt bits" down everybody's throats - off-topic here so I won't go on).

I got the Gigabyte 7600GS as it's passively cooled (and this being SPCR I don't expect I have to explain that).

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