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If I have two graphics cards set up, will they both draw power even if only one is being used?

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I don't game much any more but I have a nice 2700X and I'd like to take my media server offline and be able to take advantage of a lot of the stuff Unraid offers in general really. I've sketched out a build that currently looks like this

 

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 3.7 GHz 8-Core Processor

Scythe Mugen 5 Rev. B 51.17 CFM CPU Cooler

Asus TUF GAMING X570-PLUS ATX AM4 Motherboard

MSI GeForce GT 710 1 GB Video Card

Fractal Design Define R5 ATX Mid Tower Case

SeaSonic Platinum 400 W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully Modular Fanless ATX Power Supply

Noctua NF-A14 PWM 82.5 CFM 140 mm Fan x 3

 

I might move the graphics card up to the slightly more expensive but also passively cooled and fairly low power 1030 2GB but I hope the theme is clear that I want this thing to be quiet, have stacks of SATA 6gb/s ports, be efficient with the power it uses and use as little power as possible in roughly that order. I'm months away from the final build and I'm expect to have to navigate potential compatibility problems, particularly if I try and do what I'm about to ask. Feel free to point out if anything is currently a glaring problem but assume my question is about parts that play nice together.

 

I still have a GTX 1060 6GB. I had planned on selling it as it's currently selling for more than I paid for it, but I've read about Unraid users who have several graphics cards passed through to separate VMs and I'm contemplating keeping it.

 

I'd be using it very sparingly. I do some transcoding/encoding from time to time and especially not having Intel QSV on board having a decent graphics card on standby has benefits there. I am also drawn to the idea of still having the option to game if the feeling caught me. 

 

What I really want to know is when I boot up the VM that has the beefcake GPU passed through to it, is the beefcake GPU off/not drawing power/not spinning its fans or is the beefcake jogging on the spot waiting for its moment to shine?

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I have two cards in my system: a P2000 used exclusively for transcoding by plex, and a retired GTX 970 that I pass through to a windows 10 VM for occasional media use and gaming.  I usually keep the VM spun down when not needed but sometimes I might forget and just leave it on. In either case, the passed through GTX 970 *seems* to be in a powered down state when the VM is shutdown (i.e. not significantly drawing power).  Even with the VM running, the card doesn't seem to affect the power draw much - maybe 10 W or so difference as measured by my UPS.  Likewise, the P2000 card which the system actively has control over also seems to be in a lower power state.

 

Anyway, to answer your question, no my card does not run full speed when the VM is powered down so yours should be fine.

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Modern cards are pretty good about idling-down when not in use.  My guess is the card may use <5 watts just to keep the 'idle' circuits energized, but its really not enough to worry about.  

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