What Cheap Graphics Card Should I Get for Folding@home?

Discussion in 'Video Cards and Graphics' started by LOL_Wut_Axel, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. LOL_Wut_Axel

    LOL_Wut_Axel Diamond Member

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    So basically, I want to get back into folding but don't want to deal with the hassle of not being able to use my computer for browsing or gaming because f@h is running. I will be buying a new graphics card specifically for that purpose, and I want it to be under a budget of $100. I also don't want astronomical power consumption because electricity here costs ~4x higher than in the US. Since I'm going for bang-for-buck, buying used is completely okay.

    I was browsing on eBay and I saw that I can pick up for under $80 a GTX 460 768MB, a GTX 465 (unlockable to GTX 470), or a GeForce 9800GX2. Which one of those would you guys recommend on a performance/dollar and performance/watt basis?
     
  2. Rvenger

    Rvenger Elite Member <br> Super Moderator <br> Video Cards
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    If you can pick up a GTX 465 for under $80 I would say that would be the best deal, hands down. If you can unlock it then that will give you even better performance but it won't be so light on the electricity bill. 9800GX2 is too old IMO, even though it might do well for folding@home. Not sure of the power requirements but I'm thinking it would be relatively high given the nature of pre DX 11 cards. With the GTX 465 you always have the option to downclock/undervolt.
     
  3. VirtualLarry

    VirtualLarry Lifer

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    I would go with the GTX460 myself.
     
  4. moonbogg

    moonbogg Diamond Member

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    460 or 560ti
     
  5. aaksheytalwar

    aaksheytalwar Diamond Member

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    If your power costs 4x then won't you end up in a loss regardless?
     
  6. LOL_Wut_Axel

    LOL_Wut_Axel Diamond Member

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    Well, I decided to go for the GTX 465/470.

    One of the reasons was, of course, that it's unlockable. One of the other ones was that it has an external exhaust system, meaning the hot air won't be going to my other components and, finally, I already have a GTX 460 so I should try something new.

    How should I set these up given they use different exhaust systems?
     
  7. Rvenger

    Rvenger Elite Member <br> Super Moderator <br> Video Cards
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    IMO I would put the blower fan on bottom because if you have an internal exhaust style on bottom, it would blow up into the blower style cooler.

    Plus heat rises and I would recommend you to add a side fan if you already don't have one. :)
     
  8. DominionSeraph

    DominionSeraph Diamond Member

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    Oh god you went with a GF100 when you're concerned about power?
     
  9. dave_the_nerd

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    200w vs. 150w TDP, probably a commensurate increase in performance - more if he can unlock it.

    Much below 150w and you start getting into the non-gaming cards that don't have the GPU oomph to make the process worth the time and effort.

    At 4x the residential rate here in the US, you're looking at about $60/month to run the card 24/7. (Depending on exact rate.)
     
  10. DominionSeraph

    DominionSeraph Diamond Member

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    [​IMG]

    Ain't seeing the increase in performance.

    [​IMG]

    For a 60W increase in power usage.

    And, from what I've heard, GTX 465's almost never unlock.
     
  11. Ben90

    Ben90 Platinum Member

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    "I want a card that has good power/performance"

    "Get the card you currently have"

    "I got a card that has horrible power/performance"
     
  12. dave_the_nerd

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    Well, see what happens when I assume? :oops:
     
  13. LOL_Wut_Axel

    LOL_Wut_Axel Diamond Member

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    I'll under-volt it. Then, I'll do a comparison between both on performance/watt although I'm sure the GTX 460 I have will win out because it's a binned model that comes with an 850MHz factory clock on stock voltage.

    What really put me off about the GTX 460 was that the fan sends all the heat into the other components. Also, the compute performance of GF100 is much higher. I'll see what I can do about the power consumption, but I'll do some measuring with the kill-a-watt, see if I can get the same WUs on both to compare.

    Also, this GTX 465 is one of the PNY black PCB cards with 10 memory chips, so it will unlock to a GTX 470. The question becomes how much I can undervolt it to keep power consumption, heat, and noise at bay.
     
  14. dragantoe

    dragantoe Senior member

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    what's wrong with an hd7770?
     
  15. Hospitaller

    Hospitaller Junior Member

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    If you're buying a card just for folding, why not simply donate the money to some place that will do it more efficiently?
     
  16. OVerLoRDI

    OVerLoRDI Diamond Member

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    Get this common sense out of this thread. This thread is about using inefficient video cards in a place with expensive electricity, efficiently.
     
  17. tweakboy

    tweakboy Diamond Member

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    Grab a 9800 GT for 30 bucks or a 465 for 80 like he said.
     
  18. LOL_Wut_Axel

    LOL_Wut_Axel Diamond Member

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    :rolleyes:

    If you didn't realize, this is a hobby. And the whole point of buying the GTX 465/470 was seeing how efficient I could make it, and compare it with my factory OC GTX 460.

    Anyway, it successfully unlocked. I did some tweaks to find the sweet spot between performance, power consumption, and noise and as of now I'm getting 15K PPD on P8045 work units. Card is clocked at 683MHz/1366MHz, is under-volted to 0.937V, and temps are hovering between 78-80C... on 30C room temperature. Fan is running at 80%.

    One of the things I found is that folding@home doesn't care at all for memory bandwidth, and that Fermi in general hates high memory clock speeds. If I try to run the memory at stock speeds it'll crash, but I have it at 2496MHz and it runs just fine.

    [​IMG]


    I'll have to compare it with my GTX 460, but I think it's pretty obvious that will win out in power consumption. It'll lose in performance, though. Time to get my kill-a-watt out.
     
  19. LOL_Wut_Axel

    LOL_Wut_Axel Diamond Member

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    Well, here's how it compares to my GTX 460:

    [​IMG]

    To my surprise, they have the exact same performance when folding and the GTX 460 also consumes less power.

    System power consumption with a GTX 470 was 210W and with the GTX 460 it's 175W. That's a good 35W difference, though I still need to see if I can eek out a bit more efficiency out of the GTX 470.
     
    #19 LOL_Wut_Axel, Nov 9, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012
  20. Leyawiin

    Leyawiin Platinum Member

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    Ouch! Might be time to consider solar panels if you own your own home. Sounds like a scenario where it might be worth it in the long run.
     
  21. LOL_Wut_Axel

    LOL_Wut_Axel Diamond Member

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    So GF104 ended up winning in both fronts.

    I did some further tweaking, and came to find out that the only way to get more performance out of the GTX 470 was by raising voltage from 0.937 to 0.962V to go from 683MHz to 713MHz. That increased system power consumption by a further 20W for a meager gain in performance, meaning performance/watt was down. After I re-arranged another system fan I was able to keep temps at bay at 80C while not having to increase the fan from an already-quite-loud-80%.

    As for the GTX 460, I was able to get it to 903MHz from 850MHz by raising voltage from 0.987V to 1.012V. Performance increased by a good amount, from 15K PPD to 16.3K PPD. In comparison, my GTX 470 only increased to 15.5K PPD with the increase in frequency. Also, power consumption rose by a negligible amount from 175 to 183W. Temps also rose a meager 2C to 62C. The GTX 470 started to artifact and crash once temps hit higher than 85C, so my target was to keep temps below that.


    [​IMG]

    Folding@home aside, the GTX 460 also ended up being faster in gaming.

    Moral of the story: yes, GF100 is an inefficient, loud, and hot GPU. But I won't complain too much since I got a GTX 470 for a mere $80.
     
    #21 LOL_Wut_Axel, Nov 10, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
  22. Ben90

    Ben90 Platinum Member

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    What a discovery, lets go back to 2010 and let them know GF104 is more efficient than GF100. Can you buy a 7800 GTX to test it against 6800 Ultra SLI?
     
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