Graphics cards are becoming bigger, faster, and needless to say, expensive every year.
So, if you are upgrading your desktop with a limited budget, not only you want to cut off your spending on your new GPU, you also want to avoid buying a new power supply unit to support your new GPU.
Luckily, there are some low power graphics cards which do not require external power from your power supply unit.
Table of Contents
Best low power graphics cards without External Power:
Here are the low power graphics cards that provide a high-end gaming performance in terms of GPU Clock, Output Ports, Bus Interface, and CUDA Cores.
Best NVIDIA based low power graphics cards
ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB GDDR6 128-bit
MSI Gaming X GeForce GTX 1650
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1630 Series
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Series
Best AMD based low power graphics cards
AMD Radeon RX 6400 Series
AMD Radeon RX 560 Series
Best Intel based low power graphics cards
Intel Arc A380
What to look for when buying a low power GPU?
In general it is a good idea for PC builders to focus on performance per unit cost to choose the best value for money GPU.
But that would hardly leave any low power graphics cards in the top list as often mid to high tier GPUs are best value too.
So we should look performance per watt and exclude all the laptop GPUs. This list should be a good starting point for choosing a GPU for mining as power consumption is the only cost for miners in the long run.
But since we have another limitation of 75Watts max TDP. By this criteria alone, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, and GTX 1650 are our best bets.
FPS performance aside, here are the general specifications you should look out for while choosing your low power graphics card.
- Match the resolution of a monitor
Everyone wants to play gaming at a 1080p resolution with 30 or 60 frames per second. However, all the mainstream cards are enough to play at these settings and provide greater performance with realistic graphics. Whereas, if you would prefer 4K resolution with your gaming experience, then select the high-end graphics card with 1080p 4k resolution with 60fps would be the best choice.
- Keeping in mind the refresh rate
Refresh rate mainly depends on your monitor, if it is providing somewhere triple-digit the fresh rate then you will need to select a powerful card with full performance. On the other hand, if the monitor can provide up to 60Hz or up-to 1080p the resolution, you don’t need to invest extra money for high-end graphic cards.
- Don’t rely on Overclocking
You should always select graphics depending on the performance you need. For the best performance, always select a more-powerful card. However, never rely on over-clocking as graphic cards don’t usually have an extra amount of over-clocking rooms and It may also result in damage.
- Considering power and space
Before buying a graphics card always make sure that you case enough room for a graphic card as buying a large graphic card with a cooling fan and having a small room may result in a wastage of money. Additionally, always check the power supply, whether it delivers the power as required or not. Buying a high-end graphic card spending a huge amount but inadequate availability of power and space could waste your money and time.
Can you run any GPU without connecting external power?
If your computers does not have a dedicated graphic card, the integrated GPU gets all power from motherboard and works fine.
But for computers with discrete graphics cards that comes with power cable/slot, No, it wont run without plugging-in the power cord.
If you try to boot such a PC without connecting the GPU’s aux PCIe power cable(s) to the power supply, it will run in the “limp mode” in lack of enough power (provided that the desktop boots up at all.) In fact, most newer GPUs would not let the desktop boot at all.
However, low power graphics cards are exception as they are designed to run without external power, which we discuss in this article.
How much power do discrete GPUs consume?
The maximum power consumption of a graphics card is rated as TDP in the specifications and it varies a lot.
Almost all GPUs consume a maximum TDP between 15 Watts and 800 Watts.
The GPU with least power requirement (other than integrated ones) is NVIDIA GeForce MX450 rated at 12 Watts.
The GPU with highest power (commercial ones) is NVIDIA RTX Tinan ada rated at 800 Watts.
What are low power graphics cards?
As a rule of thumb, graphics cards with a TDP of 75W or lower do not require external power. They get all their power requiement directly from the motherboard’s PCIe slot (which has a 75W limit). So GPUs with a TDP of 75 watts or below are called low power graphics cards.
So low power graphics card and graphic card without external power is essentially the same thing.
A low power GPU can be easily supported by a 300W power supply unit, but this is subjected to wattage of the other PC components.
Some power supply units do not have 6 pin or 8 pin power connectors, in that case low power graphic cards become a constraint.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I reduce my GPU power consumption?
One of the best ways to reduce your GPU power consumption is by underclocking your GPU. You see, most gamers will overclock both their CPU and GPU to boost performances, while consuming higher power.
But if you are not using your PC for intesive tasks like high-end gaming or video editing, then underclocking the GPU is the best option.
How do I know if my GPU is not getting enough power?
GPU is the most power-hungry in your computer system. If a graphics card is underpowered it will drops performance level and display graphics at a lower quality or show an error message while loading a game.
You can also check it via a benchmark tool. To resolve this, you need to upgrade your power supply unit.
Does my Graphics Card consumes power even when idle?
Graphic cards consumes very little power when idle. But they can switch very frequently between idle and active.
If you do not plan to do GPU intensive tasks, and want to give your PSU some rest, you may consider temperorily removing the GPU altogether if your CPU has enough integrated graphics capability.
Does GTX 1050 require external power?
No. Both Geforce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti have a rated TDP of 75 watts and require no external power. GTX 1050 Ti is one of the best cards that you can buy for a 300-watt power supply unit limitation.
Does GTX 1060 need external power?
Yes. GTX 1060 graphics card has a maximum TDP of 120 watts, so it requires a 6 pin PCIe power plugs from the system power supply.
Does GTX 1650 require external power?
No, the GTX 1650 does not need external power. GTX 1650 is rated at 75 watts and does not need a seperate power connection other than the power from the PCIe slot itself.
Does RTX 3050 require external power?
Yes. GTX 3050 graphics card has a maximum TDP of 130 watts, so it requires a 8 pin PCIe power plugs from the system power supply.
Is there an RTX Graphics Card with no external power needed.