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  1. #1
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    Strix 1060 GPU -- Can It Be Underclocked/Undervolted to 10 Watts?

    I'm thinking of purchasing a Strix 1060 GPU. My intent is twofold:

    1 -- Use it while recording voiceover audio (single voice).

    2 -- Use it to surf the web.

    It's the voiceover audio I'm asking about. In order to do this professionally, I need to be in a silent room. Ideally that means no case fans, no GPU fans, no CPU fans, etc.

    Since case fans are needed to dissipate heat, I would like to generate as little heat as possible. I'm looking at buying a 2560 x 1440 monitor (BenQ 2765). Since my audio recording software (Goldwave) requires so little in the way of graphics, and since it will be the only software running while I record, I assume that I can underclock/undervolt the 1060 quite a bit. Is this true or is this a false assumption?

    I'm looking at using Windows 10 as my OS.

    Basically, while recording, I will be using my computer as an "expensive tape recorder." I'll have an SSD, so hard drive noise should not be a problem. Since recording a single voice requires so little compute power and so few GPU/CPU cycles, I'm hoping to downclock to the point where my computer is "barely on life support."

    I've been looking at GPU Tweak II documentation and I see that it allows you to set goals. One of the goals you can set is the amount of wattage sucked out of the wall.

    Is it possible to get the wattage used by the 1060 GPU down to 10 watts?

    If 10 watts is not possible, is 25 watts possible?

    If 25 watts is not possible, is 50 watts possible?

    If 50 watts is not possible, is 100 watts possible?

    How low can the TDP (total dissipated power?) on the Asus Strix 1060 GPU go? This is my question. Obviously if I can achieve 10 watts, I can turn off the case fans.

    The sound card will be an external one (Lynx HIlo) and thus will not generate any heat off the motherboard. By external, I mean a USB soundcard that is rack mounted.

    I'm looking at using the Asus Sabertooth motherboard that is compatible with the Intel Skylake processor. Of course, the CPU will have to be underclocked/undervolted as well.

    Thanks in advance for tolerating my question! I realize, of course, that saving energy and building a silent build is about as boring as it gets to some people reading this post. Most people wish to overclock, not underclock.

    However, my build will not always be undervolted/underclocked. Just when I need total silence while I'm recording.

    Thanks so much to anyone who can muster even a tidbit of a reply.

    Oh yes, I almost forgot. I'll be using a Seasonic 860W power supply. My understanding is that this power supply will turn off its own internal fan if the power draw gets down to 30 percent or less. That's 258 watts, isn't it?

    Planning for silence takes a lot of thought. I'm thinking of using a Noctua CPU cooler etc. and so on. The list of things I need to think about is quite long.

    Of course, there's coil whine as well. I'm hoping that the Strix 1060 and the Seasonic 860W will have a good working relationship and will not squeal on each other. Any opinions in this regard are much appreciated!


    Ed Abbott
    Last edited by edabbott; 08-30-2016 at 09:05 AM. Reason: remove silly carriage returns and silly comma

  2. #2
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    The fans remain off until the GPU hits 60C more or less. So you don't really have to worry about any noise coming from it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chino View Post
    The fans remain off until the GPU hits 60C more or less. So you don't really have to worry about any noise coming from it.
    Thank you! You are absolutely right, of course. This is the beauty of this particular GPU design. The fans idle when your GPU idles.

    I'm a bit inexperienced here. I've never ever had the experience of turning off the case fans. Since these fans interface with the outside world, I'm mostly concerned with noise from case fans.

    I'm wondering if I can lower the power usage of the Asus Strix 1060 to the point where the case fans go off. Is this possible? Is it possible to make the CPU/GPU combination so power thrifty that my case fans automatically go off? Is it possible to automatically turn off the CPU cooler fan as well?

    I'm looking at an Asus Sabertooth/Skylake/Strix 1060 combination. If no one can answer this question directly, I may just have to buy the combo and try it and see if I can make it work.

    My target is turning off the case fans. If I can't do that, maybe I can lower the speed of the case fans to 300 RPM. That's 5 revolutions per second, right? How much noise can 5 revolutions per second make? That's not a whole lot of energy to make noise with.

    Fortunately my case is underneath a very thick table with 3 interleaving layers of plywood and carpet. My microphone is on top of the table. So, the noise path is a long one that includes a 180 degree turn.

    Ed Abbott
    Last edited by edabbott; 08-31-2016 at 09:58 AM. Reason: math error

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    Can't speak for the GTX 1060. But for my GTX 1080, the lowest you can set the Power Target is 46%.

  5. #5
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    I have a GTX 1060 in a more or less fanless case.

    Be advised that the card starts with fans off (below 55°C) but eventually hetas up even in idle Windows desktop and it will eventually turn on the fans.

    Regarding case fans, if you have an Asus board, you can use the AI Suite to control case fans. It works by using fan curves that can turn off the case fans below a certain CPU temperature, e.g. in my case front and back fans are off below CPU 65°C (which it always stays below in desktop operation). The CPU fan (a 9cm Noctua fan/cooler) runs at lowest possible speed (750 RPM) below 60°C.

    However, the fan from the power supply and the CPU fan will continue to run.

    If you don't need a gaming GPU, go for a passive one, e.g. one of the Saphhire Radeon graphics card (I have a passive HD 7700 in my desktop PC).
    Also I recommend Noctua fans (especially the CPU fan units, I have a 90mm NH-U9B SE2 which is also inaudible at about 800rpm in desktop mode).
    And I can recommend the "be quiet" PSUs (I have a "Dark Power" which is inaudible in desktop operation here).

    But be warned, building a silent PC is major endeavor (and the complexity is akin to overclocking). With every bit you turn off, you hear a new noise that was covered by other noise before.


    Markus

    PS: In my situation "inaudible" means really really low noise. I have extremely keen hearing and when I say inaudible here, it is less noise than any microphone will be able to pick up.
    Last edited by Blueflash; 09-02-2016 at 10:49 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueflash View Post
    But be warned, building a silent PC is major endeavor (and the complexity is akin to overclocking). With every bit you turn off, you hear a new noise that was covered by other noise before.


    Markus

    PS: In my situation "inaudible" means really really low noise. I have extremely keen hearing and when I say inaudible here, it is less noise than any microphone will be able to pick up.
    Thanks for the warning! I suspected as much.

    It's gratifying to learn that you are able to achieve "near silence" by setting your case fans to 750 RPM. I suspect that this may work for me as well. My case will sit underneath a desk that has alternating layers of carpet and plywood, 3 and 3, so my desk insulates against a certain amount of noise coming up from underneath the desk. Since the sound has to take a 180 degree turn to reach my microphone, and since my microphone is a directional one, the decibel level that reaches the mic should be close to zero. At least, that's what I hope.

    Thanks for such a detailed and informative reply! You've given me a lot to think about and to ponder.

    Ed Abbott

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by edabbott View Post
    Thanks for such a detailed and informative reply! You've given me a lot to think about and to ponder.
    Ok, since you seem to take this serious, here's a bit more to contemplate ;-)

    If you don't do serious gaming, you can skip the case fans alltogether. A passive video card (like my Sapphire 7700) and a serious CPU cooler (plus the fan from the PSU) will do.
    If you find the system running hot, you can add a rear fan later (rear fan blowing the air from the CPU coolers outward). With Asus AI Suite you can keep the extra fan off until it's needed.
    The AI Suite also has differnnt profiles. For example during recording you could use it switch to a profile which trades noise for temperature (and CPU and GPU won't take harm running at 70°C for a while).
    Also, I can't stress enough how good and how slient the Nocuta fans are.
    Finally, a lot of this is will be trial and error (e.g. there are 3-pin and 4-pin connectors, which depends on the motherboard or the case space required to install a 140mm CPU cooler).
    Be sure you buy stuff which can return (Amazon is a life saver here :-)).

    If you need a reference point, here is my setup for the case and CPU: FWIW, it's a Asus H87 Pro Board, Intel i5-4670, Noctua NH-U9B SE2 CPU fan and two Noctua S12-A FLX 3-pin case fans (newer boards probably will need the 4-pin PWM fan models and a setup without gamer GPU will be ok with just a rear fan for hot days). Plus a "be quiet" Dark Power Pro 10 (750W) PSU. I do have Strix GTX 1060 too (close to inaudible set to 30% fan duty, but it is the loudest component in the mix). But I would strongly recommend a passive video board to you if you can live with a weak video card (e.g. a passive version of a GTX 720 is really inexpensive and it is sufficienct for what you describe as your intent).

    Fan overview (the 2nd CPU fan is the 2nd fan from the Noctua cooling block (it comes with two fans)).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    CPU fan 35% fan duty (about 650rpm) up to 50°C, raising to 50% duty on the way to 70°C.
    (Fan stays at 35% most of the time).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Rear fan turned off below 55°C and at about 750rpm from 55-70°C
    (Fan stays off most of the time).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Good luck!


    Markus
    Last edited by Blueflash; 09-02-2016 at 03:34 PM.

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