RX580 Power Consumption -> PSU Fan Speed

Eneco

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 1, 2018
111
14
Hey folks,

I'm running a cMP with a flashed R9 280X installed and whenever the GPU is doing some work the PSU fan goes up high. I'm controlling the fan with "Mac Fan Control" and linked it to the PSU's temperature. Unfortunately the PSU fan is the noisiest and most annoying fan within the cMP and I need a silent machine for audio production.

I was wondering if an upgrade to the RX580 could solve the problem, as it uses less power with its 8 pin connector compared to 14 pins via 2 cables on the R9 280X.

Will the reduced power consumption lower the PSU's temperature and therefore keep the fan speed low?
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,148
6,783
Hong Kong
Hey folks,

I'm running a cMP with a flashed R9 280X installed and whenever the GPU is doing some work the PSU fan goes up high. I'm controlling the fan with "Mac Fan Control" and linked it to the PSU's temperature. Unfortunately the PSU fan is the noisiest and most annoying fan within the cMP and I need a silent machine for audio production.

I was wondering if an upgrade to the RX580 could solve the problem, as it uses less power with its 8 pin connector compared to 14 pins via 2 cables on the R9 280X.

Will the reduced power consumption lower the PSU's temperature and therefore keep the fan speed low?
My I know why you get the 280X (or RX580) for audio production?

If you only use the card to drive few monitors in normal 2D desktop environment. Upgrade to RX580 won’t help much.
 

Eneco

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 1, 2018
111
14
My I know why you get the 280X (or RX580) for audio production?
Cause I'm doing audio production for games and VR projects and need to jump into the game engines to play the games and test my sounds.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,148
6,783
Hong Kong
Cause I'm doing audio production for games and VR projects and need to jump into the game engines to play the games and test my sounds.
I see, then yes, RX580 can help.

And we can make it only draw ~140W under high stress. Which definitely will help to keep the PSU run a bit cooler.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/sapphire-pulse-rx580-8gb-vbios-study.2133607/

Anyway, you may consider attach some 120mm very quiet fans in front of the cMP case to push some air into the case. This may also help the cooling without increase fan noise. (Unless you really care how the cMP looks)
 

Eneco

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 1, 2018
111
14
Will it also help without the modified ROM? Because you stated in your thread, that the GPU comes with an unnecessary high voltage configuration.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,148
6,783
Hong Kong
Will it also help without the modified ROM? Because you stated in your thread, that the GPU comes with an unnecessary high voltage configuration.
Without VBIOS mod, it will draw about 180W when you stress the card in some 3D gaming engines. 40W more stress to the PSU. But may be still 40W less then the 280X (depends on which RX580 and 280X)

So, yes. It should help.
[doublepost=1537441289][/doublepost]In fact, most likely you can simply reduce your 280X voltage to cut 10-20% power draw.
 

Eneco

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 1, 2018
111
14
In fact, most likely you can simply reduce your 280X voltage to cut 10-20% power draw.
How would I do that? I guess with a BIOS change as well? But I didn't flash the R9 280X myself and have absolutely no knowledge about things like that.
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,654
1,930
Personal suggestion for a 5,1 audio machine - EVGA GTX 680 Mac Edition. Difficult to find these days, but native EFI and very quiet without the need for fan hacks. Boot screens included, easily powered internally, fits in slot 1 without issues for slot 2, can drive multiple monitors, and might as well be an Apple issued GPU.

For more modern/readily available GPUs would also suggest the GTX 1080 FE as it is extremely quiet in my 5,1 but it is WAY overkill for audio work if you are mixing to rendered video. However if you are mixing to non pre-rendered video, it could be extremely helpful. Would not get boot screens with this, but easily powered internally. Wait a week to make sure NVIDIA Web Drivers will be available for Mojave.

I have the Sapphire Pulse RX580 8GB on standby for Mojave and it is a louder card than either of these. Not to the point where I would be looking at isolation booths for the tower, but annoying enough where if I was doing detailed noise reduction on recorded audio it would be distracting. Generally speaking for dedicated audio machines, wait 3-6 months after an OS release for update. Audio plugin updates are slower than video releases.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,148
6,783
Hong Kong
Personal suggestion for a 5,1 audio machine - EVGA GTX 680 Mac Edition. Difficult to find these days, but native EFI and very quiet without the need for fan hacks. Boot screens included, easily powered internally, fits in slot 1 without issues for slot 2, can drive multiple monitors, and might as well be an Apple issued GPU.

For more modern/readily available GPUs would also suggest the GTX 1080 FE as it is extremely quiet in my 5,1 but it is WAY overkill for audio work if you are mixing to rendered video. However if you are mixing to non pre-rendered video, it could be extremely helpful. Would not get boot screens with this, but easily powered internally. Wait a week to make sure NVIDIA Web Drivers will be available for Mojave.

I have the Sapphire Pulse RX580 8GB on standby for Mojave and it is a louder card than either of these. Not to the point where I would be looking at isolation booths for the tower, but annoying enough where if I was doing detailed noise reduction on recorded audio it would be distracting. Generally speaking for dedicated audio machines, wait 3-6 months after an OS release for update. Audio plugin updates are slower than video releases.
My understanding is that his problem is the PSU fan noise, not the graphic card fan noise.

GTX680 won’t help much due to its high power draw.
 

skizzo

macrumors 6502
Apr 11, 2018
255
80
get a good set of noise cancellation headphones. if you're an audio guy, you should already have a set that does at least -25dBs. This would be likely the same cost as a new GPU if you're getting something decent. I use them when I need to have something running like a dehumidifier or furnace blower is going. As long as you are not having to track audio and these noises end up in the background, I think my suggestion would let you hear everything you WANT to hear well, and make the PSU/GPU's fan noise a non issue for you
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,148
6,783
Hong Kong
How would I do that? I guess with a BIOS change as well? But I didn't flash the R9 280X myself and have absolutely no knowledge about things like that.
The procedure is quite simply, but to do it properly, will require some tests in Windows to find out the minimum stable voltage. It usually cost 1-2 hours for the entire process (including stability checking).

The 280X should has dual ROM, very safe for flashing.
 

Eneco

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 1, 2018
111
14
Personal suggestion for a 5,1 audio machine - EVGA GTX 680 Mac Edition. Difficult to find these days, but native EFI and very quiet without the need for fan hacks.

For more modern/readily available GPUs would also suggest the GTX 1080 FE as it is extremely quiet in my 5,1 but it is WAY overkill for audio work if you are mixing to rendered video.

I have the Sapphire Pulse RX580 8GB on standby for Mojave and it is a louder card than either of these.
My problem is not the GPU's fan, but the ramping up PSU fan as the GPU drives more power. So I'm looking for a more power efficient GPU. And as I'm doing sounds for games, there is no such thing as overkill ;)

My understanding is that his problem is the PSU fan noise, not the graphic card fan noise.

GTX680 won’t help much due to its high power draw.
Exactly!

get a good set of noise cancellation headphones.
There is a reason why we build sound absorbing studios and work with studio monitors to listen to our work. Headphones distort the sound and lead to wrong decisions in terms of mixing and editing. So far only a balanced room with a good pair of speakers can create a linear listening environment.

The procedure is quite simply, but to do it properly, will require some tests in Windows to find out the minimum stable voltage.
I don't have a Windows machine at hand and I'm not familiar with bootcamp either. Not sure if I'm up to this. Was looking more for a "plug and play" solution.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,148
6,783
Hong Kong
I don't have a Windows machine at hand and I'm not familiar with bootcamp either. Not sure if I'm up to this. Was looking more for a "plug and play" solution.
There is an easier option, but really depends on if you can / willing to use the non OOTB Nvidia GPU.

Since you mentioned about RX580. I assume you are running 10.12.6 or later.

Therefore, you can…

1) install the Nvidia web driver.
2) Swap in a GTX1070

This card will draw quite a bit less than your 280X without any modification. And perform better in most gaming / 3D engines (especially in VR).

However, you will lost the ability to use recovery partiton / safe mode. Of course, you can always swap the 280X back in if required.

And once the setup is done, you better stay at the current MacOS version. Update MacOS (including any security update) with an unflashed GTX1070 is not fun at all.
 

skizzo

macrumors 6502
Apr 11, 2018
255
80
There is a reason why we build sound absorbing studios and work with studio monitors to listen to our work. Headphones distort the sound and lead to wrong decisions in terms of mixing and editing. So far only a balanced room with a good pair of speakers can create a linear listening environment.
to each their own! that is quite an asinine statement about headphones though :rolleyes:

If you are honestly THAT serious about isolating fan noise from your computer then it should be in an isolation cabinet or in a separate room even. Problem solved! If your work can be disrupted by just fan noise then something like that should have been considered from the start
 
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Eneco

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 1, 2018
111
14
However, you will lost the ability to use recovery partiton / safe mode. Of course, you can always swap the 280X back in if required.
What about the RX580? Will I be able to access recovery mode as it is an officially by apple supported GPU?

If your work can be disrupted by just fan noise then something like that should have been considered from the start
It is not disrupted but sometimes annoying and there is always room for improvement.
 

SneakyTLoD

macrumors member
Apr 6, 2018
72
30
As someone who also does mostly audio work I will say that the RX480 is a solid choice as it's not as costly as the RX580 and runs just as well. It also needs less power and runs fine under Mojave. I would keep a flashed card around for emergencies but save maybe the money and just use a GT120 or equivalent which is next to nothing these days. Your 280x can be sold for more than what you can pickup a GT120 but I might not bother reselling if it was just a $100 or so.

A lot of people don't realize that people that do audio work also utilizes the video card in modern setups. Visualization of an eq or an RTA often requires a metal CPU not to mention that the machine just works better these days with a faster card (and faster ssd BTW). We don't need as much as people who are doing intensive video work but often need to work with video or game graphics to do our job in this new media world. I bet no one would ask a video editor why they need a new sound card but every time we ask about a video card someone asks why we would need it as if we never encounter video or graphics work. Strange. I was actually told by a video editor that I would never need anything more than a GT120 which was unbearable now days.

Oh BTW the reference RX480 is nice and quiet which is super important for us.
 
Last edited:

OneyedK

macrumors member
Aug 25, 2018
39
19
Mechelen, Belgium
I was wondering if an upgrade to the RX580 could solve the problem, as it uses less power with its 8 pin connector compared to 14 pins via 2 cables on the R9 280X.

Will the reduced power consumption lower the PSU's temperature and therefore keep the fan speed low?
Nope, sorry, I recently upgraded to an RX580 and I have the same annoying problem with the PSU fan spinning at higher rpm...
I'm planning to give the psu a good cleanup, hoping it will lower it's temps... Doubt it wil work :(
 

Eneco

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 1, 2018
111
14
As someone who also does mostly audio work I will say that the RX480 is a solid choice as it's not as costly as the RX580 and runs just as well.

I bet no one would ask a video editor why they need a new sound card but every time we ask about a video card someone asks why we would need it as if we never encounter video or graphics work. Strange.
That's good to hear. Does the RX480 work out of the box? I thought the only current AMD GPU supported by apple is the RX580 and as we aren't able to install external drivers like with NVIDIA GPUs I thought we were limited to the RX580.

And yes I feel you. As an audio engineer I always kind have to justify my need for a better GPU and I don't understand why. If I go to a supermarket and want to buy 20 bags of chips, no one cares :)

Nope, sorry, I recently upgraded to an RX580 and I have the same annoying problem with the PSU fan spinning at higher rpm...
I'm planning to give the psu a good cleanup, hoping it will lower it's temps... Doubt it wil work :(
That's somewhat unpleasant to hear. Do you control your PSU fan via Macs Fan Control by its temperature? Cause otherwise the ramping PSU fan is kinda normal, as the native fan behaviour is linked to the drawn power and modern GPUs have a higher power demand so the fan goes crazy even though the temperature is ok.
 
Last edited:

SneakyTLoD

macrumors member
Apr 6, 2018
72
30
That's good to hear. Does the RX480 work out of the box? I thought the only current AMD GPU supported by apple is the RX580 and as we aren't able to install external drivers like with NVIDIA GPUs I thought we were limited to the RX580.
Works perfect
RX480 v. RX580 for Mojave
Also works in HS

As to the PSU being loud, Have you downloaded Macs Fan control and looked at the PSU temps? Mine is sitting at 42-45c with an ambient temp of around 30c. I have the fan setup for PSMI 1 43c-50c. What are your temps? I would highly recommend cleaning out the PSU if they are higher than that.
 
Last edited:

Eneco

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 1, 2018
111
14
Works perfect
RX480 v. RX580 for Mojave
Also works in HS

As to the PSU being loud, Have you downloaded Macs Fan control and looked at the PSU temps? Mine is sitting at 42-45c with an ambient temp of around 30c. I have the fan setup for PSMI 1 43c-50c. What are your temps? I would highly recommend cleaning out the PSU if they are higher than that.
That's cool, thanks for the link.

Yes, I'm using Mac Fan Control and I followed the instructions within this thread:
https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...when-using-pc-non-efi-graphics-cards.1946672/
It was recommended to keep the PSU below 40c. My temps are usually between 38 - 40c with an ambient of 25c. But my problem is not the overall fan noise, but peaks. For example when I scrub through a video I can see an energy impact in the Activity Monitor and the PSU fan starts to ramp up. After I stop scrubbing, it comes down back to normal 20 secs later.

I don't know but it feels like whenever the GPU has to lift a little bit more it starts to draw much more energy and therefore the PSU fan ramps up.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,148
6,783
Hong Kong
That's cool, thanks for the link.

Yes, I'm using Mac Fan Control and I followed the instructions within this thread:
https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...when-using-pc-non-efi-graphics-cards.1946672/
It was recommended to keep the PSU below 40c. My temps are usually between 38 - 40c with an ambient of 25c. But my problem is not the overall fan noise, but peaks. For example when I scrub through a video I can see an energy impact in the Activity Monitor and the PSU fan starts to ramp up. After I stop scrubbing, it comes down back to normal 20 secs later.

I don't know but it feels like whenever the GPU has to lift a little bit more it starts to draw much more energy and therefore the PSU fan ramps up.
If fan noise is your issue. And so hard to solve. I suggest forget about that PSU temperature recommendation. Buy yourself an extra PSU as standby parts. And lower the PSU fan as much as possible.

I have two 4,1 PSU. Interestingly, they looks different (inside), and one is significantly warmer (more than 10C) then the other. It seems this is a lucky draw. If you get the “hot” model, it will be extremely hard to keep it cool with low fan noise.
 

OneyedK

macrumors member
Aug 25, 2018
39
19
Mechelen, Belgium
That's somewhat unpleasant to hear. Do you control your PSU fan via Macs Fan Control by its temperature? Cause otherwise the ramping PSU fan is kinda normal, as the native fan behaviour is linked to the drawn power and modern GPUs have a higher power demand so the fan goes crazy even though the temperature is ok.
Havn't tried mac fan control yet, never needed to. My other GPU is a HD5870.
Funny thing is that even when de psu fan revs, the fans of the gpu are still not moving.
When playing a game, it's a different story.
Will give that mac fan control a closer look.
(my machine is a 4.1>5.1 with dual X5675 cpu's)
 
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