[Solved] Can you fix the excessive GPU power usage when using multiple displays or video acceleration?

Discussion created by hebu37 on May 22, 2015
Latest reply on Jun 3, 2018 by assiduous





I'm "team green" at the moment, but after the The Witcher 3 Kepler debacle I consider switching to an AMD GPU in the near future.


However, here are the things that are knock-out criteria at the moment:

  • AMD GPUs have excessive idle power usage when more than one display is connected. This is very important to me. I have to do a lot of work with my PC, and my electricity bill would go up rapidly. Nvidia already managed to fix this, so multi monitor usage equals single monitor usage when in idle.
  • AMD GPUs have excessive power usage when using hardware accelerated video. From what I observed is that AMD GPUs go into a higher clock state no matter what's the actual GPU usage. For example, if you are playing a 360p video on YouTube with hardware acceleration enabled, the GPU goes into the same clock state as in the case that you are playing a 1080p Blu Ray. There must be some hard coded clock rates. This is stupid. And if you have a high end GPU this is even more stupid because the GPU would be able to play a Blu Ray even at the lowest clock state. You can see in the comparison below how inefficient an AMD R290X performs. Nvidia already fixed that and their GPUs are using only as much power as actually needed to perform this task.


So, are there any plans that these issues above will be fixed by AMD? (Please do not post any solutions that involve the installation of unofficial third party tools)


I read in the media that AMD has troubles to keep up with Nvidia because AMD GPUs are not competitive (in terms of energy efficiency).

However, this is mainly a software / firmware issue. AMD GPUs would be much more efficient if they had a proper power management like Nvidia GPUs.


Update: Here is a recent article from 28 April 2015 that illustrates the issue: techPowerUp! - The latest in hardware and gaming

AMD R290X (idle / Multi-Monitor / Blu-Ray):          17W / 54W / 79W

Nvidia GTX 780 Ti (idle / Multi-Monitor / Blu-Ray): 11W / 13W / 20W


Update 2: Here are the results for recent R9 390X: techPowerUp! - The latest in hardware and gaming

MSI R9 390X (idle / Multi-Monitor / Blu-Ray)          13W / 89W / 98W (hot as )

In comparison to recent Nvidia Titan X:

Geforce Titan X (idle / Multi-Monitor / Blu-Ray)      11W / 14W / 15W


It's getting worse each generation.

In the meantime, Nvidia improved power usage further and was able to reduce Blu-Ray power usage by 5W.

I have no hope for AMD any more.