Usually, a home PC capable of gaming would be quite power hungry when turned on, such that you wouldn't also want to leave it on when you were not around.

And that graphics card would also be wasting power (and making fan noise) when using the PC for web browsing / video streaming etc. Such activities are better handled by the integrated graphics.

So my question is, is it possible to set up a home PC, single monitor, such that the graphics card is normally powered off (integrated graphics in use normally), until you launch the game? (No rebooting, no fiddling with monitor source)

BTW, are some laptops capable of this?

  • 1
    "And that graphics card would also be wasting power (and making fan noise) when using the PC for web browsing / video streaming etc." This is not true. Newer graphics cards adjust the clock based on load. When you're browsing the web the core clock is usually about one tenth of the default value, and the power consumption can be as low as 5% of TDP. The same applies to fan speed. – spherical_dog Jan 22 '16 at 2:03
  • @spherical_dog Thank you, the wastage and fan noise is not as bad nowadays. I suppose this has been the easier way out. It will remain suboptimal until one day, there is a graphics card that demonstrably consumes less than integrated graphics (at 2D, video and light 3D tasks), and the integrated graphics needs to stop consuming energy when not in use too. i.e. A desktop that consumes less when the graphics card is plugged in, when doing 2D tasks. – gus Jan 22 '16 at 9:16

Laptops are. Desktops, could be under specific circumstances - Some Older processors - Ivy and Sandy Bridge intel chipsets come to mind supported something called Virtu (or MVP), by a company called lucid logix. Anandtech has a nice writeup about it.

Seems dead now, and its licenced by oems - so you'd need to find a system that supports it (and windows 10 isn't supported so you're stuck with an older OS)

Laptops have either Nvidia optimus or AMD Hybrid Crossfire, which allows for video card switching but I've never seen that on a desktop.

That said, modern video cards are really good about throttling, and power saving. They often shut off fans when not under load (which deals with the noise) and some midrange cards have fairly low idle power use - the 960 for example uses ~10W in idle, and up to 110w under load according to Tom's hardware.

Personally I just have a low power system sitting in a corner for persistant tasks and low demand usage, and fire up the big beastily gaming PC to game or to work on big things.

  • Why use a single GPU DX12 can use your iGPU and dGPU why limit your system nobody wants that – Ramhound Jan 22 '16 at 3:01
  • Thank you, I'll take this as a NO to the main question of assembling a DIY PC that can seamlessly switch between integrated graphics and gaming graphics card. Because I meant to only ask about readily available products and established technology standards. – gus Jan 22 '16 at 9:09

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