It’s a little an embarassment that present generation Nvidia as well as AMD cards placed a reduced top priority on power effectiveness as well as efficiency per watt. Huge benchmark numbers market cards a lot more so than loved one power intake numbers. Yet, there are lots of individuals that do not run sturdy power products or utilize OEM systems that can’t accommodate enormous graphics cards. There’s a market for low power cards.
Sadly though, there aren’t any current generation GeForce or Radeon cards that have a low enough TDP to omit PCIe power connectors. Even the weak RX 6500 XT can not manage it, but there is an Ampere card that can. It’s the workstation oriented RTX A2000. It features a 70W TDP which is reduced enough to draw power exclusively from the PCIe slot. Can it game though? That very question was asked and answered by youtuber RandomGamingHD, who ran the little A2000 though a suite of benchmarks.
The A2000, despite its intended workstation optimization, is perfectly capable of gaming and it supports ray tracing and DLSS. It’s a low profile dual slot card that features a blower style cooler and it won’t have any issue integrating into virtually any system.
The RTX A2000 is built with the GA106 GPU, the same as that which powers the desktop RTX 3050 and RTX 3060. Its shader count is 3328, which is much higher than the 2560 of the 3050. To achieve its low power rating, the A200 is clocked much lower, with a 562/1200MHz base/boost clock compared to the 1552/1777 Mhz clocks of the 3050. However, the desktop 3050 has a base 130W TDP, a full 60w more than the A200.
The results show that the A2000 competes surprisingly well with the desktop RTX 3050 despite its significant clock disadvantage. RandomGamingHD shows the A2000 is able to comfortably play games at 1080p and even 1440p if you dial back the settings. Sure, its not a 3090 or 6900 XT slayer, but at 70w, it offers excellent power efficiency, and that’s the major takeaway from this experiment.
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Regretfully, as the A2000 is a workstation card, it’s very expensive. At $1070 USD it’s far too expensive to compete with the 3050 and 3060, but it serves as a good example of what’s possible when power efficiency is the design goal, and not brute force.
I use a 75w passive GTX 1050 in a secondary PC, and I love it specifically because it’s a silent and low power option. I’m sure I’m not the only one who values these characteristics. A present generation below 75W GeForce or Radeon card would certainly gain a great deal of followers. I’m ready with my purse open.
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