Is it possible to have nVIDIA Optimus in a desktop?

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  1. rambomhtri's Avatar
    Posts : 181
    Windows 10 Home
       #1

    Is it possible to have nVIDIA Optimus in a desktop?


    Hi, I have an msi Z390 motherboard and an i5-9600K, with the integrated iGPU Intel UHD 630. I am going to buy a RTX 2060, but it consumes way more power than the Intel iGPU, even for idling/browsing.

    I've had notebooks in the past and there was this thing called "nVIDIA Optimus" which basically let you chose which GPU you wanted to use for a specific program/game/app. It was fantastic because you could set the Intel iGPU the standard, and for some specific apps and games you could set the nVIDIA to take control.

    Why would you want to choose the iGPU over the nVIDIA?
    Because the nVIDIA consumes WAAAAAY more power than the Intel, so you pay higher bills for no reason, extra heat for no reason, etc... So, I could save "a lot" of power if I can only turn the nVIDIA GPU when I want to: games, After Effects, Premiere Pro, etc...

    Any way to do it?
    Last edited by rambomhtri; 22 Dec 2020 at 17:26.
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  2. Posts : 1,978
    Windows 10
       #2

    No real point as any Nvidia Graphics Card can power down to a much lower power level when running mundane stuff.
    In the same way as the CPU does.

    Power management section of your driver.

    There is no video output multiplexer as in an Optimus laptop.
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  3. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 10,783
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #3

    I did a Search and only found a Geforce RTX 2060, looked like several brands are offering it.
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  4. bobkn's Avatar
    Posts : 3,657
    Win 10 X64 Pro 21H1 19043.964
       #4

    A quick check online suggests that an RTX 2060 consumes about 10W at idle.

    I'm not sure, but I think Optimus requires BIOS level support. I doubt that's common in desktop mainboards.

    I speak only for myself, but I can't see it as worthwhile, even if it's practical. I'd avoid even if real power savings were available, just because it seems to be something of a PITA as regards driver support.
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  5. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 9,872
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19043.985 (x64) [21H1]
       #5

    @rambomhtri

    In Advanced Power Settings, there is a power saving setting for PCI Express. You might want to play around with that.
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  6. rambomhtri's Avatar
    Posts : 181
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter
       #6

    Sorry, yeah, I meant RTX 2060.

    Forget about the requirements for a moment, it's a shame it's not a standard feature. Intel's iGPUs, specially new ones, are really powerful, you can browse @4K (60fps videos) and do absolutely everything but heavy duty stuff like gaming or rendering. The amount of power they use is so very little compared to a big chunky GPU like anything from 2060 or higher.

    In these times were we look for efficiency and power saving, and notice, power saving is not always about money, it's many times about thinking of ways to reduce useless power consumption, even if that means $3 per month, it's a shame that it's not a standard practice.

    I though that Windows 10 should do it, but yeah, doesn't make any sense because then every desktop should be Optimus capable. So... what's important here is the motherboard, right?
    You have to have a compatible motherboard that lets you do this swap between cards.

    About drivers... I've always used generic nVIDIA and Intel drivers in my laptops with Optimus and never ever had any problem related to this. You would set a standard GPU, Intel of course, and then, in the nVIDIA Control panel, you would browse and select the apps and programs you wanted to launch with the nVIDIA GPU.

    The only thing that's problematic with drivers is the SLI config, some games require special drivers to work well.

    I can't find any data about the idle and max power consumption of the Intel UHD 630, but I expect it to be like 10 times lower than nVIDIA's or AMD's.
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  7. Posts : 1,978
    Windows 10
       #7

    Desktop CPUs(and the iGPU) and GPUs have changed over the years and they now do have power saving features, it is a standard feature.

    Just not taken to the extreme requirements of a Laptop.

    Designers can select to design specific hardware for certain features like 4K video you mention, and that will be power efficient.
    Bearing in mind the whole PC, the power savings with Optimus would be insignificant.

    Why not just use more efficient PSUs like 80 plus Platinum/Titanium.
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  8. rambomhtri's Avatar
    Posts : 181
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter
       #8

    I do have a certificated PLUS GOLD psu from Corsair.

    Bearing in mind the whole PC, yeah, it can really make a difference, as in 20-30% less power I believe depending on the task. That's my guess.
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  9. Posts : 1,154
    Windows 10
       #9

    rambomhtri said:
    I do have a certificated PLUS GOLD psu from Corsair.

    Bearing in mind the whole PC, yeah, it can really make a difference, as in 20-30% less power I believe depending on the task. That's my guess.
    You are correct about saving power that way , however it is not supported natively in the Desktop drivers mind you for Laptop version of driver to enable Optimus in case it finds the Nvidia chip non mobile version .

    But still think about it , if you had such a setup on a Desktop , you would have to unplug the monitor you use which would be plugged into the Nvidia GPU and plug it to the Intel once you do the Optimus switch which is a highly non practical solution either because most people place the case in out of reach places such as wall corners , near walls and below desks or that such a trend if caught up , DP / HDMI cables also sockets on Desktop would wear out faster than people may think .
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  10. bobkn's Avatar
    Posts : 3,657
    Win 10 X64 Pro 21H1 19043.964
       #10

    nIGHTmAYOR said:
    You are correct about saving power that way , however it is not supported natively in the Desktop drivers mind you for Laptop version of driver to enable Optimus in case it finds the Nvidia chip non mobile version .

    But still think about it , if you had such a setup on a Desktop , you would have to unplug the monitor you use which would be plugged into the Nvidia GPU and plug it to the Intel once you do the Optimus switch which is a highly non practical solution either because most people place the case in out of reach places such as wall corners , near walls and below desks or that such a trend if caught up , DP / HDMI cables also sockets on Desktop would wear out faster than people may think .
    That's a point I hadn't considered. I don't know how the two GPUs are wired in a laptop, but that wouldn't apply to a discrete graphics card plus onboard graphics in a desktop.

    I suppose that it might be possible to connect a monitor to a discrete garphics card and the onboard graphics, using two inputs on the monitor. Some motherboards force you to choose either onboard or discrete graphics, but there may be some that permit both to be active simultaneously. I wonder if it's possible to completely disable the discrete graphics card without going into the BIOS?

    It may make more sense from an energy conservation point of view to turn your thermostat down a degree or two, and wear a heavier sweater.
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