GeForce 8800 Ultra - great silent card potential?

They make noise, too.

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SoopahMan
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GeForce 8800 Ultra - great silent card potential?

Post by SoopahMan » Fri May 18, 2007 6:07 pm

The GeForce 8800 Ultra is one of those 2-slot cards that doesn't LOOK quiet, but I ran into the following article:
http://techreport.com/reviews/2007q2/ge ... dex.x?pg=1

Which notes, "Nvidia says the Ultra packs a new revision of G80 silicon that allows for higher clock speeds in a similar form factor and power envelope." That's a nice thing to hear since when I build a silent PC my goal is to build an efficient PC - the best way to stay quiet is to avoid heat, and the best way to avoid heat is to not produce it in the first place... without getting a computer the speed of a 486. Efficiency is good.

That all leads to this page:
http://techreport.com/reviews/2007q2/ge ... dex.x?pg=8

Which basically states that it's no louder than its predecessor and quieter than some solutions out there. At load the system draws 305 Watts of power but the Test Configuration is using other unnecessarily high-wattage parts, like an Extreme Edition Intel chip.

So, I'm wondering what this card's underclocking potential is. That massive fan and cooler on it are actually a bonus for running silent - run it a little under its max performance and you have a great heatsink/big fan combination that should quietly push the heat out - and because of the enclosure on the card the heat goes straight out the back, not into your PC like most cards, especially most passive cooling solutions discussed here on SPCR.

I have a GeForce 6800 now and have never found a way to significantly lower its heat output - I've tried underclocking it with RivaTuner but the changes seem to have no heat impact whatsoever. So I'd like to get a super-efficient Ultra and play with underclocking it but I don't know how.

Has anyone tried this with this card or another high-efficiency GeForce card? How did you underclock it effectively and what were your results?

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Post by Max Slowik » Fri May 18, 2007 7:36 pm

Well, I definitely wouldn't recommend an Ultra to anyone who didn't win one in a giveaway, seeing how it's just a highly-binned and overclocked GTX, and costs $300 or more dollars extra.

But any 8800-series card is very, very quiet, and doesn't really need undervolting. . .which doesn't mean it's not possible, it's just less necessary.
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JazzJackRabbit
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Post by JazzJackRabbit » Fri May 18, 2007 8:37 pm

What's the point of buying $800+ card if you are going to undervolt/underclock it and therefore lose all of the performance perks? You will essentially spend $800+ for the card with performance of lower 8800 models such as 8800GTS or even 8600GTS. I think you'd be better off buying passive Gigabyte 8600GTS.

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Post by aztec » Fri May 18, 2007 9:44 pm

JazzJackRabbit wrote:What's the point of buying $800+ card if you are going to undervolt/underclock it and therefore lose all of the performance perks? You will essentially spend $800+ for the card with performance of lower 8800 models such as 8800GTS or even 8600GTS. I think you'd be better off buying passive Gigabyte 8600GTS.
so true! I still can't believe people buy the highest end cards with downclocking in mind. downclocking for the sake of making it quieter? (see GTS reference above)

Those cards are made to run games...uber fast! If you'r playing Sims or something that doesn't need high framerates....you definitely do NOT need ULTRA, or XTXXXX cards.

I could understand for CPU's where there's an overhead the CPU provides, between stock performance and the computing power the user actuall needs. (Word doesn't need to open .003 secs faster)...but on a video card? 10FPS is significant for gaming.

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Post by Tzupy » Sat May 19, 2007 2:31 am

Instead of underclocking an Ultra, you'd better use a HR-03 Plus on a stock 8800 GTX.
You'd save money and lengthen the life of the 8800 GTX too, but also lose the warranty.

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Post by Max Slowik » Sat May 19, 2007 3:06 am

eVGA, XFX and BFG allow changes to the stock cooling and overclocking without voiding the warranty.
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SoopahMan
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Post by SoopahMan » Sat May 19, 2007 12:32 pm

JazzJackRabbit wrote:What's the point of buying $800+ card if you are going to undervolt/underclock it and therefore lose all of the performance perks?
Well, that's the beauty of hardware - sure it costs $800 right now. But people clicking the below link in 6 months will see a dramatically lower price:
http://www.google.com/products?um=1&tab ... 8800+ultra

And in another 6 months even lower, etc. I'm trying to buy for efficiency specifically, and some Ultra cards get where they are by just running hot and clocking very high - no more efficient just a lot of power draw.

As for losing the performance perks, well that's part of the benefit - if I hit a game where I'm willing to accept some noise for max performance, this card has the potential to do it.
JazzJackRabbit wrote:I think you'd be better off buying passive Gigabyte 8600GTS.
I'll have a look at it. One thing that really disappointed me in reviews after posting this is that it appears the 8600 can accelerate a lot more types of video than the 8800, despite the 8800's price. Neither is really the better all-around contender. I suppose it's just time to wait for the 9000's.

As for passive cooling, as I posted to start I'd like to avoid passive cooling - it just bleeds that massive heat source back into the case leading to everything else running hotter. I used to reject the double-stack graphics card design as a sign of waste, but now I've reconsidered that you can provide less power to the potentially wasteful card and the double-stack design becomes a very efficient way of getting your biggest heat source to shed its heat directly out the back. The heat sinks installed inside that enclosure are usually nothing to sneeze at either.

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Post by gourdo_1 » Tue May 22, 2007 3:19 pm

I just installed an 8800GTX in my new E6600 rig. Though it's not an ultra, I think it's safe to say that it's pretty close.

The 8800GTX is *quiet* when idling. To give you an idea, I have a modded P180B, with 4x 120 S-flex E fans running at 50%, E6600 @3.2GHz /SpeedStep:2.1GHz, with Thermaltake Ultra 120, Corsair 520HX PSU and I can barely hear the system from about a meter away when idling. It is very powerful, yet behaves itself enough to stay on when I sleep in the same room.

So far, I've been successful underclocking the GTX to 175/250MHz core/mem @ 2D idle with ATITool, which seems to take off at least 30W of power consumption at the wall socket. I just started playing with it, so I've got a lot more tweaking to do... including a possible undervolt with NibiTor. The point is, I'd like to get it to idle really quiet, cool and low power and then ramp up to an OC beast as necessary when playing games.

Power consumption is a different story: It's well over 300W during stress testing, and around 225W when idling. With the GTX underclock, I knocked it down to 195W @ idle, but I think I can do more with undervolting CPU/GPU if I work at it.

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Post by SoopahMan » Wed May 23, 2007 9:22 am

Are you finding that ATITool is the best underclocking option despite it being an nVidia card? Any worries that "ATI"Tool could mess up an nV card?

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Post by SoopahMan » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:10 pm

Follow-up: The price has in fact fallen - $595.19 from that link above.

I realize the card is expensive, but it seems it's also the most efficient. If I want to think in terms of being green rather than minimizing costs, it still seems like my best bet.

Redzo
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Post by Redzo » Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:45 pm

SoopahMan wrote:
JazzJackRabbit wrote:What's the point of buying $800+ card if you are going to undervolt/underclock it and therefore lose all of the performance perks?
Well, that's the beauty of hardware - sure it costs $800 right now. But people clicking the below link in 6 months will see a dramatically lower price:
http://www.google.com/products?um=1&tab ... 8800+ultra

And in another 6 months even lower, etc. I'm trying to buy for efficiency specifically, and some Ultra cards get where they are by just running hot and clocking very high - no more efficient just a lot of power draw.
Most high end cards are taken away from market before that huge pricefall that you are talking about. And not to mention that in 6 or 12 months there will be other, more powerfull and most likely even quiter and more efficient cards out, since most GPU manufactorers are realising that this powerhungry beasts are getting harder and harder to cool. So if you want to get one get it now becouse in 6 months you will want something else...

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Post by Flandry » Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:48 am

There are a few problems with your idea. First, the 8800 is a monster chip and will draw a lot of power under any circumstances in its current incarnation. It really should be fabbed on a smaller process.

Second, you can't undervolt one -- at least, that's what all my investigation has concluded. Without undervolting, your power reduction options are significantly reduced.

Third, the 8600 is a much more efficient chip (iirc on a smaller process) which is better suited for what you're proposing.

Finally, next month the next revision of the chip will be out on a smaller process. It will probably combine the feature improvements of the 8600 with better performance, and at better performance/ Watt.

Of course, the latter is always going to be the case: wait a few months and you can do better.

But seriously, why spend $200+ on a card if you're not even sure you need the power of it. Get a passive 8600 for $150, underclock it like crazy when you dont' actually need acceleration, and when something better comes along, upgrade with the $350 you save. That loses you about half the performance, but at less than 1/3 the price.

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Post by Wedge » Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:17 pm

Max Slowik wrote:eVGA, XFX and BFG allow changes to the stock cooling and overclocking without voiding the warranty.
I didn't know that about eVGA. If this is true I will probably try the HR-03 at some point. I knew XFX had this policy; didn't know eVGA or BFG did as well.
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Post by CoolColJ » Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:10 pm

gourdo_1 wrote:I just installed an 8800GTX in my new E6600 rig. Though it's not an ultra, I think it's safe to say that it's pretty close.

The 8800GTX is *quiet* when idling. To give you an idea, I have a modded P180B, with 4x 120 S-flex E fans running at 50%, E6600 @3.2GHz /SpeedStep:2.1GHz, with Thermaltake Ultra 120, Corsair 520HX PSU and I can barely hear the system from about a meter away when idling. It is very powerful, yet behaves itself enough to stay on when I sleep in the same room.

So far, I've been successful underclocking the GTX to 175/250MHz core/mem @ 2D idle with ATITool, which seems to take off at least 30W of power consumption at the wall socket. I just started playing with it, so I've got a lot more tweaking to do... including a possible undervolt with NibiTor. The point is, I'd like to get it to idle really quiet, cool and low power and then ramp up to an OC beast as necessary when playing games.

Power consumption is a different story: It's well over 300W during stress testing, and around 225W when idling. With the GTX underclock, I knocked it down to 195W @ idle, but I think I can do more with undervolting CPU/GPU if I work at it.
gourdo_1

which brand 8800GTX ar eyou running? That's good to know that an 8800GTX is that quiet! I have been holding off putting together a new system as I will need a non AGP card, and am not happy with the performance of the slower passive video cards

I need my PC on at night to render, while I sleep in the same room...so you can understand :)

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Post by MoJo » Wed Sep 26, 2007 3:10 am

I have been looking into this problem for a while now. It seems like you can't undervolt the Ultras, even with a BIOS mod. Downclocking the GPU makes no difference to temps, downclocking the memory can take 8C off at idle but that's still about 53C overall.

Nothing can come close to the Ultra for gaming performance, no doubt. I want to use a 24" TFT for gaming, which has a native res of 1920x1280 so modern games pretty much demand such a card.

However, I'm thinking I might give up on PC gaming and just stick to consoles or running games like Supreme Commander with the details down where it doesn't matter so much. That way I could just use a x1950 Pro. Very cheap (£85) and idle power consumption is far more reasonable.
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Post by WR304 » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:13 am

MoJo wrote:However, I'm thinking I might give up on PC gaming and just stick to consoles or running games like Supreme Commander with the details down where it doesn't matter so much.
An Xbox360 sounds like a hairdryer though. :(

viewtopic.php?t=27205

A PS3 is supposed to be quieter but you can't get half the decent games for it.

A Wii has the same game problem as the PS3 whilst being noisy also:

viewtopic.php?t=41026

.

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Post by MoJo » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:41 am

I don't really mind a bit of noise when playing games, and the 360 is okay. To be honest most of the interesting games are on the PS2 and Dreamcast anyway. Racing and stratergy games is where the PC rules but at least most of them you can get away with just turning the detail down.

I have done some further research and it looks like the x1950 XTX is probably the best card performance/heat wise. It is better than the 8600s and 7950s, but also has a quite low idle power draw.
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Post by WR304 » Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:36 am

The X1950XTX was a notoriously hot card though?

http://xbitlabs.com/articles/video/disp ... dup_8.html

Image
(Chart taken from Xbitlabs.com graphics card review)

An 8800GTS at stock and with low 2D clocks set is going to be cooler than the 8800 Ultra when idling. :)

EDIT: Fixed the typo. :)
Last edited by WR304 on Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MoJo
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Post by MoJo » Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:24 am

Indeed... very interesting. I am not sure which would be better though. The X1950 XTX (note that's the 1950, the 1900 was a bit rubbish) uses 22.6W less at stock idle, and by all acounts is a cooler running card when underclocked. I think the key difference is GDDR4 and better power saving modes. However, in many cases the 8800 GTS is quicker than the x1950. It depends on the game and resolution.

It just strikes me as laziness on the part of nVidia. ATI cards underclock a lot more in 2D mode and use power saving GDDR4 memory. Look at the graph you posted - the X1960 runs 22.6W less than the 8800 GTS at idle and 22.1W more under full load.

This site is quite interesting:

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2007/0 ... 2900_xt/21

I wish manufacturers would not assume that simply because someone wants a high end component they don't care about efficiency or heat output.
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WR304
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Post by WR304 » Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:33 pm

Those Bit-Tech figures are interesting. :)

The main point that comes across is that if you want to cut PC power consumption you need to look at the rest of the PC too. Replacing the Nforce 680i motherboard in your PC should save 50w by itself. :shock:

That might actually go a long way towards cooling the whole thing down a bit too?

If you look at the rest of that Bit-Tech review it really reinforces why you wouldn't want to buy an ATI X1950XTX though. Compared to your 8800 Ultra it's a lot slower in the tested games. With a 1920 X 1200 24" monitor that's going to be really noticeable.

A new ATI X1950XTX card seems to cost about £200.00 or so also. That's a lot for something you're virtually guaranteed to have ditched by the end of the year. :(

If those Bit-tech figures are accurate I'd be inclined to try replacing the motherboard instead. :)

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Post by MoJo » Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:14 am

Indeed, the mobo does run damn hot... I wonder how much of that power is converted to heat. 30W maybe? A worthwhile saving. Most people seem to think the Intel chipset based boards are a lot better.

I am a bit reluctant though. There are loads of benchmark sites but they tell you nothing. The nForce 4 was supposed to be fast, but this 680i chipset is a lot less laggy and far more responsive in Windows. I did a fresh install on both, and opening My Computer or loading FF is much faster on the 680i. Nero loads very fast as well, where it hangs for several seconds on the NF4. Benchmarks of the SATA controllers say there is little difference, but in reality there is so it makes choosing a mobo very hard.

You are right about the x1950 XTX. There is simply nothing in the same league as the 8800 Ultra. It's expensive too. I might be better off waiting until next year when there might be more options. The only alternative is a cheap x1950 Pro and maybe forget about high end gaming for now.

The thing is I like to game now and then. I am kind of hoping that when they return the Ultra it will behave a bit more, idle at say 60C and not go over 90 under max load. I could live with that for now. Sadly I don't have enough money to run a high end gaming rig and a general desktop rig, let alone the space. The P182 has turned out to be a major pain in the ass too. I think I was taken in by all the people saying water cooling is dead and that air cooling is so good now you don't need it. That may be true if you consider a vacuume cleaner quiet or like frying eggs in your CPU.

I think I will either have to stick it out with the 8800 or give up and get a x1950 Pro. I would be interested to know how much cooler the CPU will run with the x1950, but unfortunately I don't have a spare PCI-e graphics card to test. The only other one I have is a water cooled 7800GT, which would be a pain to remove now.

Thanks WR304 for listening to my rambling, you have been of great help.
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