Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

They make noise, too.

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Jordan
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Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by Jordan » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:28 am

My system is mainly used for work and for that I like it to be as quiet as possible. However, when I play StarCraft 2 (HotS expansion) I have the speakers on and I don't have to worry about PC noise.

Normally the only moving part in the system is a top mounted 120mm Nexus RS controlled by the Mobo that is inaudible at all times. I have a passive Radeon 4670 and a rear-mounted 120mm Nexus RS that I switch from 0v - 12v when I fire up the game. The card hits about 90C max with no artefacts, which I'm comfortable with. However, I do very occasionally forget to turn the fan up before every gaming session and the system slows right down to remind me...

I'm not able to max out the settings in SC2 so ideally I want to upgrade to a card that will let me do that but run near-silent when idle and ramps up itself under load. Is there anything out there that efficient?

Mats
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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by Mats » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:23 am

Some cards can be set to stop the fans when they're in idle and uses about 15 W or less.
I know some people here have done it with Nvidia 660 (Ti).

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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:47 pm

I'm not able to max out the settings in SC2 so ideally I want to upgrade to a card that will let me do that but run near-silent when idle and ramps up itself under load.
At what monitor resolution?

Jordan
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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by Jordan » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:22 pm

1600x1200

CA_Steve
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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:06 pm

1600x1200 - ah 4x3, we knew you well. :D

That's about 7% less pixels than a 1080p monitor. Ok, Blizzard games aren't very GPU demanding compared to some others. That said, there's a big step in gpu needed between running at high quality and ultra/extreme. Here's a couple of benchmarks for Wings of Liberty:
Tom's Hardware @ 1080p, High Quality (probably using 4x AA) in DX11
Anandtech Bench @ 1920 x 1200, Ultra Quality and 4x MSAA in DX9. This is the worst of the worst cases. DX11 will bump fps by 10 or more. MSAA is a resource hog. 1920 x 1200 is 20% more pixels to push.

Notebookcheck benchmarked HotS, showing a tad less fps than WoL.

That said, the low end is probably the HD7750. Figure your fps will be in the 30-40fps range maxed out, or above 60 with some bells/whistles turned down. You can still go passive with this card. If it has a thermal issue in your case, it's easy to just zip tie a 500rpm silent 120mm case fan onto it and call it a day.

The next step up is fanned, and there's the HD 7770 and the new HD 7790. On the NVidia side, there's the GTX 650 and the GTX 650 Ti Boost. Go for the 2GB versions as games are starting to creep up in the amount of RAM they are using. Asus and MSI seem to have the quietest versions out there. Once you settle on the class of card, we can drill down into which one is the best for you.

Mats
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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by Mats » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:45 pm

The extra RAM may be good to have in the future, but it doesn't make much difference for 1600 x 1200. I guess it depends on the model.

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Club ... en/28.html

Jordan
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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by Jordan » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:36 pm

Hi CA_Steve, thanks for the in-depth post :)

I love my dual Dell 20" IPS screens - wouldn't trade them for any other set-up! Dual 24" IPS screens would be nice, but my desk/room couldn't handle the width!

I'd looked up the reviews so I had an idea what cards will run it, it was more specific models that I could trust would be SPCR-quiet when idle. The HD7750 Ultimate was the obvious upgrade, but I'd really rather not have to rely on my terrible memory to turn a fan on/off like now if I can avoid it! I was really hoping there'd be a simple slot-in, silent when idle but fan ramps up freely under load solution that I could just install and forget about! Wishful thinking :lol:

You think the HD7750 ultimate with a fan strapped directly to it at 5/7V (it is a Nexus RS) would be enough to cool it under load, despite my ridiculously low case airflow? I should really do some testing with my 4670 to see how its temps are affected with the fan strapped to it, shouldn't I...

@Mats - The only game I'm likely to play in the future is the next SCII ad-on :lol: It's the only game I've had installed on a PC in probably 7 years.

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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:18 pm

You think the HD7750 ultimate with a fan strapped directly to it at 5/7V (it is a Nexus RS) would be enough to cool it under load, despite my ridiculously low case airflow?
Probably. It's rated at 5W less power than the 4670. It really doesn't take much airflow over the big honking heatsinks typically found on passive cards to keep them cool. That said, let me sway you toward a different solution.

I think the GTX 650 will perform better for SC II than the HD 7750 for similar $'s. It'll also use less idle power with 2 monitors....most of the AMD cards with GDDR5 RAM don't idle the memory clock when there is more than one monitor connected.

The downside is there aren't passive GTX 650s. However, the MSI card listed looks to be pretty quiet - double chack it has the outputs you need for your two Dells. The Gigabyte version looks good...but haven't seen any reviews with quantifiable noise levels.

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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by Dmesg » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:51 pm

CA_Steve wrote: I think the GTX 650 will perform better for SC II than the HD 7750 for similar $'s. It'll also use less idle power with 2 monitors....most of the AMD cards with GDDR5 RAM don't idle the memory clock when there is more than one monitor connected.
Hi Steve,

The figures from those charts are striking. Do you have any more information about the multi-monitor power issues? In particular, is this a widely known -- or more important, acknowledged by AMD -- issue that could potentially be fixed with a driver and/or firmware update?

You refer to "....most of the AMD cards with GDDR5 RAM". I don't suppose you know of any models that DO provide proper power management in multi-monitor setups?

I'll see what I can dig up in the meantime.

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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:38 pm

Feel free to trawl through the Techpowerup and HT4U reviews. It's been a problem since GDDR5 was first used by both Nvidia and AMD. I found out the hard way when I bought this HD 5770 a few years back. Nvidia figured out a way to solve the problem with the release of the 6xx, AMD didn't. I'm guessing it would involve a new memory controller rather than firmware. But, who knows.

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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by kakua » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:41 pm

7750 has issues when one use two monitors, you say. I have a monitor as well as my TV connected to the computer. I'm guessing that qualifies as "two monitors", right? If yes, does it only have the problem when they are both on, or all the time, as long as they're connected?

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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:43 pm

As long as the card recognizes two monitors are plugged in, it will keep the memclock freq high.

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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by ggumdol » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:56 pm

FWIW, I can confirm that my GTX 650 and GTX 660 idle at very low power with low memory frequency with "dual" monitor settings. However, I recently found that GTX 660 does not idle properly at low memory frequency for "triple" monitor settings.

I think the sweet spots these days are GTX 650 2GB, GTX 650 Ti 2GB, GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB. Anything superior to these are less cost-effective, not to mention high heat emission, which will be alleviated within a year with the advent of Maxwell, GTX 8xx Series.

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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by kakua » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:14 pm

CA_Steve wrote:Feel free to trawl through the Techpowerup and HT4U reviews. It's been a problem since GDDR5 was first used by both Nvidia and AMD. I found out the hard way when I bought this HD 5770 a few years back. Nvidia figured out a way to solve the problem with the release of the 6xx, AMD didn't. I'm guessing it would involve a new memory controller rather than firmware. But, who knows.
So does that go for the 6450 too? My local store has 6450:s that, at least according to their specs, have GDDR5. Asus Radeon HD6450 2048MB Silent Low Profile to be precise. I tried to do a search on the forum for the answer but I couldn't find anything.

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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:50 pm

First, it's a little funny to see 2GB of memory on the 6450 :) How could that be at all useful?

Second, if it has GDDR5, then it'll exhibit the lack of mem downclock in multimonitor mode.

kakua
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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by kakua » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:15 am

Ah, so there's not much point in getting the version with 2GB memory then?
But aren't there loads and loads of cards with this problem (GDDR5) then? I don't get it, it seems like a very important oversight and big problem.

*edit* When I looked up the P/N on the stores site for the card, and found the card with the same P/N on ASUS own site they say that it has DDR3, nothing else. It does seem to have 2GB memory though.

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Re: Any midrange graphics cards quiet when idle?

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:24 am

kakua wrote:Ah, so there's not much point in getting the version with 2GB memory then?
If you are using Adobe products or the like (photoshop, illustrator, premiere..), then it could be useful. Any game that might need 2GB won't run on a 6450. Normal browsing, videos, etc don't need it.

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