Video Card Power Consumption & Savings

The primary system in my homelab is a Dell Precision 7920 Tower. I recently had the case opened and looking inside I saw the video card. This is a physically large Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080ti GPU, but for my purposes was overkill. The system typically runs virtual machine workloads that do little to nothing video related. I noticed that this GPU had extra power running to the card and it made me wonder how much extra power it would consume, even in an idle state.

I have a Kill A Watt monitor which can measure power usage, so I connected it up and powered on the system. It booted to ESXi and sitting in maintenance mode the system used between 160 and 180 watts of power, typically running at the lower end of that range.

I then removed the GPU and replaced it with a lower end MSI Geforce 210 ( for $40USD. This card gets all its power from the PCI bus, no extra power input required. Checking this configuration with the same Kill A Watt, from the same maintenance mode state previously tested, I was using between 100 and 120 watts.

Using an electricity calculator, this savings of 60 watts running 24/7, at around $0.15USD/kWh, is a savings of $79USD. The ROI for this replacement video card is great, paying for itself in about 6 months. I had incorrectly assumed that the GPU wouldn’t be consuming much power in an idle state, but this test confirmed that significant energy savings could be realized with a minor change, not impacting the specific use case.

This entry was posted in Lab Infrastructure. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.