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A comparison of stock vs efficient gaming

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Power costs are quite high in many countries so I thought I could share my experiences using a wallplug measuring powerdraw. This is pc with 5600X 76W lim, 3060ti 200W, 3 case fans. Motherboard, SSD, fans etc draws 30-40W, CPU typically 30-60W in games and GPU 200W if uncapped, stock and GPU limited. Tweaked setting using UV on GPU (1620@731mv) and 60fps limit with RTSS:

Age 4 1080p high/highest:
Stock 280-300W (80-110fps)
Tweaked 130-140W (60 locked)

Cyberpunk 1080p high/highest dlss performance:
Stock 290-320W (90-140fps)
Tweaked 135-150W (60fps locked)

The gpu UV accounts for 80W savings when gpu bound, the rest is due to fps cap. If you are satisfied with 60fps and game 3hours a day this can save you up to 200kWh (typically a kWh cost 0.1-0.5usd depending on where you live) a year if that is something you care about, maybe more if you live in hot climate and can reduce AC usage, less if you live in cold climate and use your pc as a heater. Further improvements could be running 1560@700mv on GPU, this drops max powerdraw to 100W vs 120W at 731mv on my GPU, but vram downclocks to 10GHz so performance drops to 80% of stock vs 90% at 731mv. A lower powerlimit on CPU also can help, 45W limit makes allcore run at 3.7GHz vs 4.6GHz using 76W, performance multicore is around 15-20% lower, but SC is the same.
 
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That's a good topic. I've been tweaking my PC for power-efficiency for the past 6-7 years, though it all started with temperature concerns in my old ITX rig, and ended up being a pursuit of the best performance at the least watts in pretty much all of my rigs.
I think my entire server rack pulls only ~150W from the wall at full load. My main rig also has separate profiles in afterburner for daily use, gaming, and high performance. Normally my GPUs run at 80-85% TDP limit. Though, the biggest and most critical benefit for me was not a lower power bill, but a longer runtime off an UPS.
 
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So you buy a 500$ GPU and let it run at lower performance just to save 20~100$ an year?
Why not just buy a lower grade card with lower power draw?
 
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So you buy a 500$ GPU and let it run at lower performance just to save 20~100$ an year?
Why not just buy a lower grade card with lower power draw?
I used it for GPU mining last year and I earned over 2000usd plus could turn of an oven in the winter. If I had not been mining I probably would have bought a cheaper, more efficient card. Since most games I play run very fine at 60fps I see no reason why I should run stock and use more power, get more noise and still same performance. In some games like Fortnite etc I run 140fps cap (144Hz g-sync monitor), but in Age 4 and Cyberpunk I barely notice the difference in fps between 60 and upcapped. 60 feels very fine :)
 

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The gpu UV accounts for 80W savings when gpu bound, the rest is due to fps cap. If you are satisfied with 60fps and game 3hours a day this can save you up to 200kWh (typically a kWh cost 0.1-0.5usd depending on where you live) a year if that is something you care about, maybe more if you live in hot climate and can reduce AC usage, less if you live in cold climate and use your pc as a heater. Further improvements could be running 1560@700mv on GPU, this drops max powerdraw to 100W vs 120W at 731mv on my GPU, but vram downclocks to 10GHz so performance drops to 80% of stock vs 90% at 731mv. A lower powerlimit on CPU also can help, 45W limit makes allcore run at 3.7GHz vs 4.6GHz using 76W, performance multicore is around 15-20% lower, but SC is the same.

Power costs not so much a problem here as much as the fricking heat from 450W system power. The NF-A9 exhaust on my Cerberus is a couple feet away, basically pointed at me.

When I wake up in the morning ambient is a brisk 20C ish. Without an undervolt GPU power shoots up to 300W+, the heat is noticeable just a few minutes in and it friggin sucks. On the hottest summer days, GPU heat sometimes makes me think twice about gaming......undervolted GPU power is about 210-220W worst case (DCS) and usually below 200W, so still tolerable. CPU-wise there's not much that can be done, 2CCD needs upwards of 100W in games to even avoid affecting ST clocks, but it's still chump change compared to GPU heat.

With custom loop the heat usually "feels" much more gradual and comfortable since water temp takes a long time to climb and dissipate, but at the end of a long day the rise in ambient temp is still obvious.

That's a good topic. I've been tweaking my PC for power-efficiency for the past 6-7 years, though it all started with temperature concerns in my old ITX rig, and ended up being a pursuit of the best performance at the least watts in pretty much all of my rigs.
I think my entire server rack pulls only ~150W from the wall at full load. My main rig also has separate profiles in afterburner for daily use, gaming, and high performance. Normally my GPUs run at 80-85% TDP limit. Though, the biggest and most critical benefit for me was not a lower power bill, but a longer runtime off an UPS.

At one point I had a BIG wake up call when I accidentally had both monitors and my PC connected on the battery side. When a blackout came during gaming, I had much less time than I thought I did...

Funny enough, my UPS is having a better time with the 3070 Ti. Turing undervolts well but doesn't seem to actually reduce GPU power in any way, but Ampere does. Usually I draw less system power than I did with the 2060S, since multi-monitor idle is better on 30 series.
 
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So you buy a 500$ GPU and let it run at lower performance just to save 20~100$ an year?
Why not just buy a lower grade card with lower power draw?
Some people like to not cook themselves in the summer time.
 
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Power costs not so much a problem here as much as the fricking heat from 450W system power. The NF-A9 exhaust on my Cerberus is a couple feet away, basically pointed at me.

When I wake up in the morning ambient is a brisk 20C ish. Without an undervolt GPU power shoots up to 300W+, the heat is noticeable just a few minutes in and it friggin sucks. On the hottest summer days, GPU heat sometimes makes me think twice about gaming......undervolted GPU power is about 210-220W worst case (DCS) and usually below 200W, so still tolerable. CPU-wise there's not much that can be done, 2CCD needs upwards of 100W in games to even avoid affecting ST clocks, but it's still chump change compared to GPU heat.

With custom loop the heat usually "feels" much more gradual and comfortable since water temp takes a long time to climb and dissipate, but at the end of a long day the rise in ambient temp is still obvious.



At one point I had a BIG wake up call when I accidentally had both monitors and my PC connected on the battery side. When a blackout came during gaming, I had much less time than I thought I did...

Funny enough, my UPS is having a better time with the 3070 Ti. Turing undervolts well but doesn't seem to actually reduce GPU power in any way, but Ampere does. Usually I draw less system power than I did with the 2060S, since multi-monitor idle is better on 30 series.
I would strongly consider a fps cap (unless you already have) slightly below monitors refresh, especially if you use g-sync as it will improve input lag. Powersaving can be substantial aswell :)
 
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Some big power savings there, imagine lots will look at doing this to save electricity $. Also be interesting to see how next Gen cards get on with rumoured 900w power draw in the coming economic environment.
 

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I would strongly consider a fps cap (unless you already have) slightly below monitors refresh, especially if you use g-sync as it will improve input lag. Powersaving can be substantial aswell :)

agreed, I do it for just about every game, usually ranging from 90 up to 142. Although, I haven't actually noticed fps cap helping input lag at all - at higher refresh rates it's Vsync off and Nvidia Reflex that make a huge difference. And the high fps itself, cap at 60fps as opposed to 120 or 144 in an FPS and you can really feel the difference, not changing any other settings
 
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I wonder how much of a difference does undervolting make, isn't most of the power saving simply due to 60fps cap?
 
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Some people like to not cook themselves in the summer time.
Then they really should invest in a window AC unit depending on the size of the room. Even a gaming laptop can make a room toasty if its small enough. A small AC unit in my window makes a lot of difference keeping the room temp at 75 F. If I were using just two window fans(one for blowing air out & one for sucking in air in the adjacent room), the room temperature on a warm day stays around 85-90+F, which is no good since the VRM temps on the primary graphics card get 5-7 C warmer when light gaming with those higher ambient temps. The room would become a sweat box & possibly cause the A6000 to throttle if I tried rendering with those high ambient temps since it still hits 80 C with the room cooled at 75 F.
 
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Then they really should invest in a window AC unit depending on the size of the room.
Or just not fill their room with heat in the first place, only to burn more energy just to vent it.

I have AC and the power draw levels we are talking about (over 450W) are still problematic.
 
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So you buy a 500$ GPU and let it run at lower performance just to save 20~100$ an year?
Why not just buy a lower grade card with lower power draw?
I actually think its unusual to run hardware maxed out. I see all the people with 99% gpu utilisation I am like wtf.

But i can answer the question.

I have a 3080, I play at 60fps maximum. I undervolt.

So why have the latest tech and such a high level GPU?

Well I also in some games run SGSSAA or 4k downsampling. So a lower GPU like say a 1070 doesnt cut it.
GPUs become less power efficient, the higher the clocks and the higher the utilisation, his saving was actually quite conservative.
Next you looking at the cost of electric in America which is fair to say is in a completely different world to Europe.
Hardware requirements of course also vary per game, I might play a lot of games where the 3080 is jogging at worst, but then put a game on which makes it sweat. Some of us are variety gamers, and dont just spec out our PC for one game. FF7 remake is an interesting example, for most of the game the 3080 is at low 3D clocks and no higher than 60% utilisation, but then every time I use a limit break the particles required spike it to the 90s at max clocks. A lower end GPU would stutter every time I use a limit break, but because I cap the frame rate the rest of the time its running in a much lower power/heat state.
I have access to latest NVENC, hardware integer scaling, the latest DLSS stuff as well, so buying a GPU isnt as simple as do I just buy one enough to get those high frames.

Undervolting can also actually increase performance as less likely to hit power limits as well as improve longevity on the hardware, level of cooling required and so on.

For reference I spend circa £50($61) a month now on electric to use my PC. I think with no CPU/GPU undervolt, and uncapped FPS, it would easily be double that, one year savings paid for my RTX 3080.
 
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Undervolting done right can get you the same performance or in some cases even more. It worked great on my 5700XT, i did it mostly because it was a hot card as balls. Didn't bother with the 3060Ti, it's always cool even in full load.
Saving power is a extra bonus.
 
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Or just not fill their room with heat in the first place, only to burn more energy just to vent it.

I have AC and the power draw levels we are talking about (over 450W) are still problematic.
There's no way around it for me as I have all my computer stuff upstairs, so warmer air is going to go right up to it, even with the door closed. I damn near died the one day trying to put the AC unit in the window when it was 92 F in the room. I probably felt like someone that was on DNP.
 
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I actually think its unusual to run hardware maxed out. I see all the people with 99% gpu utilisation I am like wtf.

Why would you buy something and not use it? That surprise of yours makes no sense. A well optimized PC should see the gpu at 99% most of the time.

That's like buying a big SUV to go to the coffee shop
 
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Why would you buy something and not use it? That surprise of yours makes no sense. A well optimized PC should see the gpu at 99% most of the time.

That's like buying a big SUV to go to the coffee shop
Do your drive your car in low gears to keep the engine fully revved? Funny enough I do know people who do like your said, my dad has a 4 wheel drive Jeep to drive around town in.

I think the contrast here is between the 60fps gamers and uncapped fps gamers, to me there is no practical benefit going over 60 so I am simply wasting resources doing so. If you think how things were before this high refresh rate stuff started, people were not deliberately buying weaker GPUs so they could max them out, headroom was considered common sense as it make room for the future and for playing more complex games.
 
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Do your drive your car in low gears to keep the engine fully revved? Funny enough I do know people who do like your said, my dad has a 4 wheel drive Jeep to drive around town in.

I think the contrast here is between the 60fps gamers and uncapped fps gamers, to me there is no practical benefit going over 60 so I am simply wasting resources doing so. If you think how things were before this high refresh rate stuff started, people were not deliberately buying weaker GPUs so they could max them out, headroom was considered common sense as it make room for the future and for playing more complex games.

You can do whatever you want, i play anno and cap at 60fps, i take nothing from 144hz on that game, that was not my point. My point is your surprise at someone using the gpu at 99%, makes no sense.
There are no moving parts on a gpu besides the fans, this is nothing like a full revved car. And my fans don't spin nowhere near 100% even at 99% utilization. Not even with the hot 5700xt i let the fans spin at 100%.
Buying a bigger gpu for "headroom"? i'm not a fan of future proofing, it doesn't make sense, it's money lost. And buying for headroom makes even less sense to me.

Buy what you need. There's a new game you can't play, sell the card and buy another, it will even be more efficient.
 
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buys a high tier GPU and cripples it back to a low tier one.
just buy a low tier card in the first place then.
 
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I like the direction Apple are taking with their M1 chip, with such a high performance/power ratio.
 
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That's a good topic. I've been tweaking my PC for power-efficiency for the past 6-7 years, though it all started with temperature concerns in my old ITX rig
Ditto for me - noise concerns in an HTPC rather than temperature concerns but noise and temperature are both related to GPU power draw.
 
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I also Underclock and Undervolt all my PCs most of the time.

If you are gaming 1080p 60 most ZEN 3 cpus are just way too fast.

If I run both of my 5600X and 5600 in ECO mode I can still easily get a locked 60fps @ 1080p in all my games.

My RX480 is underclocked to 1150Mhz and undervolted -100mV and still get locked 60fps in the Witcher 3 and DARK Souls 3. Custom-High settings 50W AVG GPU Power
DS3 RX480 UC UV.jpg
 
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agreed, I do it for just about every game, usually ranging from 90 up to 142. Although, I haven't actually noticed fps cap helping input lag at all - at higher refresh rates it's Vsync off and Nvidia Reflex that make a huge difference. And the high fps itself, cap at 60fps as opposed to 120 or 144 in an FPS and you can really feel the difference, not changing any other settings
Reflex may improve this, but especially if using v-sync how you set cap can be significant.

I wonder how much of a difference does undervolting make, isn't most of the power saving simply due to 60fps cap?
As stated running stock GPU limited uses 200W, running 1620@731mv it uses max 122W in games so 80W is due to undervolt, rest is framecap.

Why would you buy something and not use it? That surprise of yours makes no sense. A well optimized PC should see the gpu at 99% most of the time.

That's like buying a big SUV to go to the coffee shop
Noise, powerconsumption etc is also important for many of us :) For instance my previous 3060 runs SOTTR at 122fps stock using 170W, my 3060ti stock runs it at around 150fps, with UV it runs at 132fps using 120W so faster a much more efficient than 3060 stock.
 
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So you buy a 500$ GPU and let it run at lower performance just to save 20~100$ an year?
Why not just buy a lower grade card with lower power draw?
50% power limit on games.
100% power draw when needing to do some NVENC or CUDA workloads.
Bigger cards give users choice. You can scale down with a superior card, you cannot scale up with an inferior one.

Not to mention the VRAM differences between tiers (for SKUs released simultaneously, at least).

Besides, undervolting (or even power caps, to some extent), don't necessarily translate to performance drop to that of a lower tiered card.
Used to undervolt my GTX465 and 580s back in the day for roughly the same performance while shaving off a few Cs off load temps. Underpowering my current 1080 doesn't fall to 1070 perf unless I set the limit to something very low (60-ish-to-late-50s%).

A well optimized PC should see the gpu at 99% most of the time.
Not if your optimization constraints included headrooms and safety factors.
And I honestly don't know of any discipline that runs anything at or near 100% capacity. That's just bad planning.
 
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I am all for NOT wasting power. And power consumption/efficiency is something I do take into consideration when making my purchasing decisions. But I feel some go overboard when it comes to conserving power with their computers. This makes no sense to me - especially for a computer being used for entertainment.

What I find puzzling is how some folks will spend a lot more money for a device that is only 3 - 5% more efficient. Computer power supplies are a perfect example. It takes many years to make up the difference in costs between a Titanium (94% efficient at 50% load) and a Gold (90% at 50% load) certified PSU. Yet people buy the Titanium, often in part, because they believe they are helping the planet. Yet the reality is, in many cases, it takes a lot more energy to manufacture those more efficient products.

Except to prevent overheating issues that cannot be resolved with conventional solutions, I see no reason to intentionally restrict performance just to save a few pennies.

I actually think its unusual to run hardware maxed out. I see all the people with 99% gpu utilisation I am like wtf.
It may or may not be unusual, IDK. But what seems to be too often forgotten (or perhaps just ignored) is that the majority of the time our computers are powered on, percentage wise, they spend more time running closer to idle than they are to being maxed out. Of course there are exceptions - mining rigs, for example. But exceptions don't make the rule.

Gamers are not gaming the whole time they are using their computers and even if they are, games are not maxing out demands 100% of the time. I note too, for example, even if the GPU is running at 99% utilization, it would be very rare for the CPU to also be running at 99% at the same time. Same with drives, RAM, motherboard, etc.

If you live in a house, there most likely are much bigger power hogs than your computer. Refrigerators and freezers are huge hogs that cycle on and off 24/7/365. Space heaters are horrible. Electric ovens, clothes dryers and water heaters love energy. Dishwashers (unless you air dry), vacuum cleaners, clothes irons are all much worse than most PCs.

And don't forget, most electronics these days don't power off when you press the power button. They just go into standby mode. And one of the worst offenders there are cable boxes - especially if a DVR too.

IMO, if you are that concerned about saving energy, set your AC thermostat to 75°F instead of 72° and close the drapes and blinds. Set your furnace thermostat to 68°F instead of 72° and wear a sweater. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Know what you want before you open the fridge door.
 
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