How assemble an energy efficient, BOINC running gaming PC?

mikey
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AgentB wrote:The input power

AgentB wrote:

The input power costs are significant in this type of decision. 

At perhaps one extreme you have data centres where UK costs are at around 0.50 GBP / KWh.  This is two to five times residential costs. For that you get a lot of cooling and UPS etc paid for.   Efficiency in PSU has a multiplier effect with cooling and conditioning energy costs.

If you have are concerned about global warming, each 1 KWh adds about 0.35Kg CO2  (average UK). 

As a rough rule of thumb i use in deciding in the UK for each watt saved is a pound saved per watt per year if 24x7x365 running (about 8.8 KWh) .  This includes no cost for cooling or conditioning. 

Over a 5 year life - typical for a good quality equipment, this saving will pay for a high end PSU for me.  Of course if electricity was free or is turned on infrequently, then it is not financially justified.

I need to heat the house in winter and crunchers help a little so i can offset costs - a little.  I also have low cost nightly rates so that is already the case for one of my less efficient crunchers.

I'm not good enough at thermodynamics, to make a call like - if the outside temperature is 20C and a 400W heater raises the room temperature to 30C - what temperature will 440W get to? 

Instinct says 10% - so 32C, but there is probably a flaw in that somewhere.    

You are WAAAAY beyond what I know, I just now when I put my hand behind, or point my temp gun at, a Bronze psu it's hotter than the same brand and wattage Gold psu. Most of my pc's are very similar in cpu, memory and gpu's in them but not exact so there is some possible differences, but probably not 10F difference just from the psu.

I have very little need to heat my house in Winter so the lack of an exhaust is not a big deal at the moment. But if I do go that route I will have to provide an inlet as well, my computer room was taken from my garage so just leaving the door open isn't a good idea 24/7. It also regularly hits in the upper 90's and 100'sF here at the East Coast of the US beaches so in the Summer months I do not want any outside air coming in. It's also gets very muggy and I don't want that either!!

I've now been thru almost one full year here at the beach and for the most part the system works, could it be better..yes it could, but it's much better than no a/c at all!!

Rabenschwinge
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Well, thanks for the gorgeous

Well, thanks for the gorgeous input, that gave me a lot to think about.

The detail that I am still pondering about is the water cooling: It's not just about the energy efficiency, but primarily about the noise. I live in a 30 m² apartment, and the space where I sleep is only separated by a curtain from the place where my computer is. I cannot sleep while the computer is running Einstein@Home; the main problem is the CPU vent. The GPU vents and the case vents run relatively silent. And even when I am not sleeping: I do prefer my computer to be a silent as anyhow possible.

I've got some intel from a co-worker who is not a gamer (but has an amazingly powerful computer for someone who is not running games at all). Ryzen 7 7100, 16 GB ram, GeForce GTX 1050 (that's mid-class if I am not mistaken). Only a single one SSD, no magnetic drives. Result: 165 Watts cracking packages for the World Computing Grid with everything he got.

By the sound of that, 250 Watts should be doable with a upper class (if not necessarily "high end") gaming PC.

A thing to consider is probably the drives as well. It's really important to try and get along with SSD, and maybe use an external 2.5" drive to store big stuff, which is only connected when really needed.

mikey
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Rabenschwinge wrote:Well,

Rabenschwinge wrote:

Well, thanks for the gorgeous input, that gave me a lot to think about.

The detail that I am still pondering about is the water cooling: It's not just about the energy efficiency, but primarily about the noise. I live in a 30 m² apartment, and the space where I sleep is only separated by a curtain from the place where my computer is. I cannot sleep while the computer is running Einstein@Home; the main problem is the CPU vent. The GPU vents and the case vents run relatively silent. And even when I am not sleeping: I do prefer my computer to be a silent as anyhow possible.

I've got some intel from a co-worker who is not a gamer (but has an amazingly powerful computer for someone who is not running games at all). Ryzen 7 7100, 16 GB ram, GeForce GTX 1050 (that's mid-class if I am not mistaken). Only a single one SSD, no magnetic drives. Result: 165 Watts cracking packages for the World Computing Grid with everything he got.

By the sound of that, 250 Watts should be doable with a upper class (if not necessarily "high end") gaming PC.

A thing to consider is probably the drives as well. It's really important to try and get along with SSD, and maybe use an external 2.5" drive to store big stuff, which is only connected when really needed.

Umm most 'high end' gpu's say they want a 500watt psu just for themselves, then if you start adding things in like a dvd burner, or two, an ssd, a magnetic drive, a few or more case fans, a sound card, the cpu the memory, this that and everything else and pretty soon you are into the 650 and up range, 750 and up if you want to avoid adapters for all the plugs required. The 650 watt psu's I have don't have 8 pin connectors for the video cards, high end gpu's need one 8 pin and a 6 pin as well. Then if you want the psu to run forever at less than full speed you could even be looking at an 850 watt psu. There are calculators online for this kind of thing but I don't have the links anymore, sorry. Some 850 watt psu's also come with cables that can be plugged in or not plugged as you need them, this can make for a much cleaner install as you don't have to hide the cables you aren't using. An 850 watt psu is NOT cheap though so think carefully before you make your decision, convenience over cost.

Richie
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mikey wrote:Umm most 'high

mikey wrote:
Umm most 'high end' gpu's say they want a 500watt psu just for themselves, then if you start adding things in like a dvd burner, or two, an ssd, a magnetic drive, a few or more case fans, a sound card, the cpu the memory, this that and everything else and pretty soon you are into the 650 and up range, 750 and up if you want to avoid adapters for all the plugs required.

I looked at my old GTX 670 product page and it says "Recommended PSU 550 W". TDP of a GTX 670 is 170W. Other parts of the system might take let's say 150W. There's purely a large reserve margin that manufacturers want to point out, for their own convenience. They realized long time ago that people will try to use whatever PSUs they find. That includes also this: worst of the worst, totally piece-of-crap PSUs.

A modern PSU with excellent efficiency and 550W capacity can safely power a system that has 2 GPU's, each with about 200W TDP. It can take that stress 24/7. For example Seasonic FOCUS Plus Platinum 550W has "a single +12V rail that can deliver up to 45A (540W) on the +12V output". The only downside is there can be somewhat more fan noise than what would be with a similar PSU with a couple hundred watts higher capacity.

But that's not what the manufacturers are worried about when they choose what to print out on the boxes. There are people trying to connect their 10-years old 400W piece-of-crap PSU to a GTX 1080Ti. Then the result will likely be a bricked GPU, motherboard, PSU or something (possibly a house in fire). GPU manufacturers want to guide plenty upwards when choosing a PSU, because in reality the average PSU level among users is somewhere far below 'Platinum'.

Zalster
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Here's a few

AgentB
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    Rabenschwinge

 

 

Rabenschwinge wrote:

Well, thanks for the gorgeous input, that gave me a lot to think about.

 The detail that I am still pondering about is the water cooling: It's not just about the energy efficiency, but primarily about the noise. I live in a 30 m² apartment, and the space where I sleep is only separated by a curtain from the place where my computer is. I cannot sleep while the computer is running Einstein@Home; the main problem is the CPU vent. The GPU vents and the case vents run relatively silent. And even when I am not sleeping: I do prefer my computer to be a silent as anyhow possible.

 I've got some intel from a co-worker who is not a gamer (but has an amazingly powerful computer for someone who is not running games at all). Ryzen 7 7100, 16 GB ram, GeForce GTX 1050 (that's mid-class if I am not mistaken). Only a single one SSD, no magnetic drives. Result: 165 Watts cracking packages for the World Computing Grid with everything he got.

 By the sound of that, 250 Watts should be doable with a upper class (if not necessarily "high end") gaming PC.

 A thing to consider is probably the drives as well. It's really important to try and get along with SSD, and maybe use an external 2.5" drive to store big stuff, which is only connected when really needed.

In a room that size you will notice a significant temperature increase.

Water cooling is really only needed for top end systems (i would say over 500W) and high states of over-clocking - and it is a misconception they are totally silent. They have pumps to move fluid and fans to cool radiators.  In theory you could have a huge rads and fans would hardly tick over, but this all gets expensive and a little extra maintenance.    If you are going big, then it starts being an option.

If noise is an issue then invest in a good case, and a high quality CPU cooler and fans...  larger fans turning slow generate a lot less noise.  Some GPU cards (blower type) can be very noisy. 

The noisiest fans imho are the server type high rpm.  A cheap CPU cooler will be noisy as the fan will have to work hard to cool.  But they are cheap...

here  is a picture of a dual CPU cruncher which runs about 4m from my bedroom.  It runs 32 threads at 100% 7x24 and it is fairly quiet mainly due to the large fans -mostly the fans are not at 50%.

 I'm a fan (pun intended) of  RAIJINTEK coolers and case fans but there are many good makers. 

Also this is a bit old but a HD7990 (really high power consuming dual GPU) build thread here in hindsight , this was right on the edge of what was possible to air cool - replacing that with an RX-480 returned my power costs and noise levels to normality.

Returning to the PSU, they operate at their most efficient between 20-80% of their rating.  Do not size a system to "just" fit a PSU for a cruncher. Crunching stresses a machine like nothing else other than perhaps some benchmarking software.

A great reference site for PSUs is https://plugloadsolutions.com/80PlusPowerSupplies.aspx

 

DanNeely
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Richie_9 wrote:mikey

Richie_9 wrote:
mikey wrote:
Umm most 'high end' gpu's say they want a 500watt psu just for themselves, then if you start adding things in like a dvd burner, or two, an ssd, a magnetic drive, a few or more case fans, a sound card, the cpu the memory, this that and everything else and pretty soon you are into the 650 and up range, 750 and up if you want to avoid adapters for all the plugs required.

I looked at my old GTX 670 product page and it says "Recommended PSU 550 W". TDP of a GTX 670 is 170W. Other parts of the system might take let's say 150W. There's purely a large reserve margin that manufacturers want to point out, for their own convenience. They realized long time ago that people will try to use whatever PSUs they find. That includes also this: worst of the worst, totally piece-of-crap PSUs.

A modern PSU with excellent efficiency and 550W capacity can safely power a system that has 2 GPU's, each with about 200W TDP. It can take that stress 24/7. For example Seasonic FOCUS Plus Platinum 550W has "a single +12V rail that can deliver up to 45A (540W) on the +12V output". The only downside is there can be somewhat more fan noise than what would be with a similar PSU with a couple hundred watts higher capacity.

But that's not what the manufacturers are worried about when they choose what to print out on the boxes. There are people trying to connect their 10-years old 400W piece-of-crap PSU to a GTX 1080Ti. Then the result will likely be a bricked GPU, motherboard, PSU or something (possibly a house in fire). GPU manufacturers want to guide plenty upwards when choosing a PSU, because in reality the average PSU level among users is somewhere far below 'Platinum'.

 

It's not just garbage PSUs claiming 100-200W more than they can deliver without self destructing.  But until a half dozen years or so the maximum 12V (what all modern CPUs and GPUs run on) was at least 100W below the PSUs nameplate capacity and running it at 100% on 12V and 10-20% on 3.3/5V (typical for any semi-newish system at from then to now) would result in skewed voltages due to the unbalanced cross load; especially on more affordable models.

 

Since then newer PSUs (now just about anything except really cheap low end models) are 12V first designs that can produce the entire headline capacity at 12V (give or take rounding on the amperage and on cheap ones playing fast and loose with adding auxiliary rails to the total) and then use DC-DC converters to make the 3.3/5v rails instead of having a second AC-DC loop for them.

 

You still shouldn't sustain a load much above 80% for extended periods because max loads on the components means maximum heat and maximum rates of aging; but as long as you don't buy a crappy no name unit with a falsified maximum load (will go kaboom on you) there's no catastrophic risk to it.  Just louder fans.

DanNeely
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AgentB

AgentB wrote:

 

 

Rabenschwinge wrote:

Well, thanks for the gorgeous input, that gave me a lot to think about.

 The detail that I am still pondering about is the water cooling: It's not just about the energy efficiency, but primarily about the noise. I live in a 30 m² apartment, and the space where I sleep is only separated by a curtain from the place where my computer is. I cannot sleep while the computer is running Einstein@Home; the main problem is the CPU vent. The GPU vents and the case vents run relatively silent. And even when I am not sleeping: I do prefer my computer to be a silent as anyhow possible.

 I've got some intel from a co-worker who is not a gamer (but has an amazingly powerful computer for someone who is not running games at all). Ryzen 7 7100, 16 GB ram, GeForce GTX 1050 (that's mid-class if I am not mistaken). Only a single one SSD, no magnetic drives. Result: 165 Watts cracking packages for the World Computing Grid with everything he got.

 By the sound of that, 250 Watts should be doable with a upper class (if not necessarily "high end") gaming PC.

 A thing to consider is probably the drives as well. It's really important to try and get along with SSD, and maybe use an external 2.5" drive to store big stuff, which is only connected when really needed.

In a room that size you will notice a significant temperature increase.

Water cooling is really only needed for top end systems (i would say over 500W) and high states of over-clocking - and it is a misconception they are totally silent. They have pumps to move fluid and fans to cool radiators.  In theory you could have a huge rads and fans would hardly tick over, but this all gets expensive and a little extra maintenance.    If you are going big, then it starts being an option.

 

I'm a gamer with a water cooled main system (custom loop) and several aircooled crunch boxes.  With water cooling there's not going to be much of a sound or temperature spread between a good tower cooler and a water cooler with a normal mainstream CPU.  The huge many cored server style CPUs Intel and AMD are putting out for high end desktops are another story; they're pushing enough total power to be right at or a little beyond the maximum power that can be dissipated effectively via air cooling.  But a basic off the shelf closed loop cooler can keep the heat for them in check; and they're only marginally more expensive than a big air cooler while being much lower maintenance than a custom water loop.  The reason why true server chips have gotten away with air is partly lower max clock rates (typical server work loads scale much better across many cores and don't need max single threaded performance like user facing workloads do); combined with the fact that in a data center you can run fans obnoxiously loud without it being a problem.

 

For GPUs and gaming it's a different story.  Air coolers are easily able to keep the chips cool despite their larger headline power levels because the hundreds/thousands of cores in a GPU spread the heat out a lot more than the handful in a CPU.  The catch when gaming is that even quieter open coolers (the sort with 2-3 fans that let the heat all out in the case instead of a single blower to exhaust it directly) get rather loud.  Water cooling is a big help here with noise.  Crunching's a different story though; none of the various projects I've ran on my GPUs have ramped the fans on my aircooled cards up to the obnoxiously loud fan levels that the cards hit while gaming.  As a result water cooling your GPU doesn't really get much.

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