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Passive (Sparkle) GT430 runs *hot* when idling in menu, not when displaying content! - Printable Version

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Passive (Sparkle) GT430 runs *hot* when idling in menu, not when displaying content! - -EaS- - 2011-02-14 03:58

Well, I've just built-in my passive Sparkle GT430 in my HTPC for a few days now, and during the testing and observing I did -during the time I have that card now- I noticed some things that I cannot really 'rhyme' with something I would expect.

This is the card btw:
[Image: 2v93lte.jpg]

First of all: the card is built-in in an Ahanix MCE301 case, which has zero to none airflow (just one noiseless low rpm 80mm fan). I knew of course where I was getting into with placing such a passive card in that case (so that point can be left out of the equation Big Grin).

So what I did expect, was that the temperatures would be a little higher than normally seen on a (passive) GPU. I'm perfectly fine with that. After first testing (menus, playing content etc.) for some short periods of time I never saw temperatures above about 74°C. As expected - almost no airflow, passive card, perfectly fine by me.

But now I have the setup running a little longer there obviously would come a moment that the system would be 'left alone' for a period of time. Running idle so to speak. And indeed - that happened. The HTPC was idling in the main menu for an hour or so before I came back. At that point I decided to check the GPU temperature, hoping to see near refrigerator temperatures, but wow - 84°C Shocked! And that is at normal room temperatures (say about 24°C)! Hmmmm ...!!!

That can't be normal I thought. Displaying some antique OpenGL interface makes the card run hot, but displaying HW accelerated content actually cools it down? So after some more testing here is what I noticed:

System uptime 6.5 hours, so 'stabilized' case environments:
  • Displaying content (Blu-ray, mkv whatever): Temp max 71°C
  • Switching to menu - idle it for about a short (10 min. maybe more) period of time: 84°C!
  • Back to displaying contect, temperatures drop back to about 70°C or even less.

Is *that* normal? I mean: Rendering an OpenGL menu should be peanuts for any card, so why is a GT430 actually running hotter doing that, than when doing its work on HD content?


- Mallet21 - 2011-02-14 04:57

Any way to pop that card in another system with a 'regular' case to get some temp readings? If you end up with similar readings at least you could rule out the case.

Those GT430s run pretty warm even with a fan....hard to imagine a passive card in a case with little airflow.


- ion_man - 2011-02-14 05:13

-EaS- Wrote:Is *that* normal? I mean: Rendering an OpenGL menu should be peanuts for any card, so why is a GT430 actually running hotter doing that, than when doing its work on HD content?

I'm not surprised at all by that, 3D (OpenGL) is a lot more heavy for any GPU than HW decoding of video.
Think about it, HW decoding of video can be done with less than 1-2W with dedicated processors like the Broadcom or Sigma chips, it is really not a GPU intensive task. 3D on the other hand is the heavier job.

BTW, personally I wouldn't recommend a GT430 in a HTPC unless you have good air flow around the card, the GT430 dissipates up to 47 Watts which is a lot of heat!

The only sensible choice in small cases with little airflow is a Nvidia 210 (ION2 equivalent).

Safe long-term temperatures for passive Nvidia cards are around 60 C.


- -EaS- - 2011-02-14 06:42

Mallet21 Wrote:Any way to pop that card in another system with a 'regular' case to get some temp readings? If you end up with similar readings at least you could rule out the case.

Those GT430s run pretty warm even with a fan....hard to imagine a passive card in a case with little airflow.

Thanks for your answer Smile. I do have 2 systems that could be used for that. Both with heavy airflow. There is probably some treshold for my HTPC enclosure at which point it can't flow off the heat anymore adequately. But to me it seems that placing the GT430 in those (desktop/full-tower) systems I would only observe that *that* is indeed the case. If I would test it, I think I would observe that: the temperature stays somewhat flat under all circumstances -> heat is vented off good enough, and tells me that: indeed, I might need better cooling. Or I would observe: temperature higher while in OpenGL menus, lower when displaying content -> Tells me that what I saw already, still will be a problem in a less adequate cooled environment. A sudden reversal of things (HD content resulting in higher temps than in opengl menu) in only another case would defy any (at least mine) logic Smile.

ion_man Wrote:I'm not surprised at all by that, 3D (OpenGL) is a lot more heavy for any GPU than HW decoding of video.
Think about it, HW decoding of video can be done with less than 1-2W with dedicated processors like the Broadcom or Sigma chips, it is really not a GPU intensive task. 3D on the other hand is the heavier job.

BTW, personally I wouldn't recommend a GT430 in a HTPC unless you have good air flow around the card, the GT430 dissipates up to 47 Watts which is a lot of heat!

The only sensible choice in small cases with little airflow is a Nvidia 210 (ION2 equivalent).

Safe long-term temperatures for passive Nvidia cards are around 60 C.

Thanks for your answer too Smile. Well what you say makes some sense! But why then can those "tiny" GPU's (onboard ati/nvidia GPU's, ION etc) render the xbmc interface with a fraction of the power used as by the GT430?

I mean:
"Antique" GPU's (old HD3xxx series or whatever) doing the same job as state-of-the-art GPU's equals to me as atom doing the same job as a Core-i7 - but with a far lower power usage and no perceivable difference!

Is the GT430 wasting horsepower on rendering opengl?

All that aside: 60°C long term safe working temps doesn't sound good (for my scenario). The card was a gamble anyway (did it come with a low-profile bracket, no it didn't!... Or ...), but it does not mean I want it to die fast.

But indeed: Probably the opengl interface takes quite a load. Curious for other input.


- ion_man - 2011-02-15 07:22

-EaS- Wrote:But why then can those "tiny" GPU's (onboard ati/nvidia GPU's, ION etc) render the xbmc interface with a fraction of the power used as by the GT430?

Because they are tuned for low power consumption (slower clock speeds, less shaders, etc.), of course that means they take more time to render the same interface but they are still fast enough so that it's not noticeable.

You could try to set your GT430 permanently to the lowest performace level in the nvidia settings control panel, it should reduce temperatures and still be able to do the HW video decoding and the interface fast enough.

Or else add some decent fans to your case to improve airflow.

-EaS- Wrote:All that aside: 60°C long term safe working temps doesn't sound good (for my scenario).

60C long-term is perfectly safe with Nvidia GPUs, if you look at the nvidia settings panel you will see that it's still in the green when at 60C.

Tmax of Nvidia GPUs is generally around 110-120C!

I have a passive Nvidia NVS290 in my desktop PC that has been running 24/7 for about 2 years so far, idling at 59-60C.


- poofyhairguy - 2011-02-15 23:19

430 GTs run pretty hot. In my system (which is based on the Zotac with a more efficient heatsink) if I didn't have the 120mm fan the 430GT gets so hot it kills my nearby network card.

The only solution is to place (replace) the fans in the case with high performance ones to increase ariflow.