Cheap GPU for running Xorg

JohnnySorocil

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I am in process of buying new PC. Something like NAS + workstation (KiCAD, FreeCAD, xterm, zsh, tmux, vim, nothing than my 8-9 year old ThinkPad can't handle).

Finally I decided to buy cheap Intel Core i3 4C/8T because of iGPU. AMDs APU are older CPU models, with less cache and with questionable availability.
But, but, now I am thinking again for AMD CPU (without iGPU) but with ECC RAM. It seems like nice thing to have especially with ZFS. (Intel's 10th gen i3 doesn't support ECC, older gens does, but uses old socket and no HyperThreading. AMDs can have ECC with selected motherboard).
Cheapest (new) GPUs in my country are around $100. I want to use GPU to produce picture (and video) on my 2 monitors, no gaming, no video editing, no AI
As far I can know, modern discrete GPUs are somewhere lower-middle class - useful for gaming and stuff which I don't need.

Do you have any recommendation for cheap, lame, low power PCIe GPU (new or used) with Xorg drivers with atleast 1x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI (or DP) port?
I don't mind if GPU uses PCIe x1 slot - even better.
 

SirDice

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A cheap NVidia or ATI/AMD card will do just fine for this.
 
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JohnnySorocil

JohnnySorocil

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Aren't ATI/AMDs GPU recommended because of (better?) open source drivers?
 

SirDice

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NVidia drivers are closed, yes, that's true. But they've been remarkably stable over the 15 or so years I've used them. I rarely had problems. But the choice is yours off course. I have no problem with closed drivers as long as they do what needs to be done.
 

shkhln

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To be fair, at the moment middle tier GPUs seem to be ~ 50% more expensive compared to the 2019 prices. I'm impressed. Low end GPU aren't affected as much, so "deal with it" is still an option.
 

olli@

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I’m using a “GeForce GT 1030” for several years without any problems (with Nvidia’s binary drivers). It’s rock stable and low power. It can drive two UHD (4k) displays. The performance is more than sufficient for office use, video and simple 3D stuff.

The card is available from several manufacturers in several variants – with fan, or passive cooling, and various combinations of connectors. I opted for a card made by MSI with fan, but that fan only starts running when the GPU is under load. Most of the time it is completely silent. This card has 1 × HDMI and 1 × DP, so exactly what you need. Prices for new cards start at about 75 €, but you can get used ones much cheaper on eBay.
 

SirDice

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I have a Zotac box with a GeForce GT 520M. For basic desktop usage that would already suffice. You can probably pick one of those up for peanuts. I do need to use the "legacy" driver (x11/nvidia-driver-390), it used to use x11/nvidia-driver but this GT 520 is really old and the current NVidia driver versions stopped supporting it. I think everybody is dumping their GT 960, 970, etc. getting those second hand would be an option too.
 

shkhln

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One problem with GT 1030 is that it was released 4 years ago. Nvidia supports GPUs for roughly 10-12 years, it will be just a fancy brick once support ends. I certainly would not recommend anything older than that unless it's free.
 

olli@

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One problem with GT 1030 is that it was released 4 years ago. Nvidia supports GPUs for roughly 10-12 years, it will be just a fancy brick once support ends. I certainly would not recommend anything older than that unless it's free.
Well, 10–12 years is a long time. I will probably have 8K (or even better) monitors by then, so I’ll need a new graphics card anyway. ;)
 

SirDice

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The nice thing about PCIe video cards is that it's fairly easy to replace them with a newer one. Just get a cheap one and replace it after a couple of years.
 

Argentum

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Do you have any recommendation for cheap, lame, low power PCIe GPU (new or used) with Xorg drivers with atleast 1x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI (or DP) port?
I don't mind if GPU uses PCIe x1 slot - even better.
Personally, I would recommend AMD RX 550 in this case. I keep one in my drawer and use it sometimes for testing a new installations. Also, I have a backup and test system with RX 550. I think it is very stable, easy to get running and fast enough for regular Xorg and GUI use. I have a faster card in another system, but difference is hard to notice in regular GUI usage and web browsing.

P.S. Actually one of these cards is this. Of course, it depends on your needs, how many HDMI ports, do you need DP, etc.
 

shkhln

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Well, 10–12 years is a long time. I will probably have 8K (or even better) monitors by then, so I’ll need a new graphics card anyway. ;)
That's the common sense position, but I've seen enough complaints from people with 15 years old video cards, I'd rather mention this explicitly. Also, that time is closer to 6 years now (4 years already passed for GT 1030).
 

olli@

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That's the common sense position, but I've seen enough complaints from people with 15 years old video cards, I'd rather mention this explicitly. Also, that time is closer to 6 years now (4 years already passed for GT 1030).
And it is still supported by the newest Nvidia driver, you don’ even have to install one of the legacy drivers. So I really don’t worry about the life time of this card.
 

fernandel

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I did also decided to buy old PC and I decided for
Dell T5610 Workstation 2x Xeon E5-2690 2.9ghz 16-Cores
It has Nvidia K2000 and as I read it is supported (I hope).
 

Speedy

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No gaming, but showing video. There is video hardware decoding done in GPU nowadays. I would not get anything which cannot do H.265 decoding in hardware. And H.264 naturally. Without it you put your CPU under serious load and higher resolutions may even not play. For instance, here is my NUC, used as Kodi frontend. It has the weakest CPU Intel has for NUC, Celeron N3050 1.6 GHz. It can play back any H.265 video because it does it in hardware. Same time it chokes when I want to compile something. Single core with two threads. Below is vainfo output, running Gentoo. When idling the whole box draws less than 10 W, you won't notice it on your power bill, running 24x7.
Code:
libva info: VA-API version 1.10.0
libva info: Trying to open /usr/lib64/va/drivers/iHD_drv_video.so
libva info: va_openDriver() returns -1
libva info: Trying to open /usr/lib64/va/drivers/i965_drv_video.so
libva info: Found init function __vaDriverInit_1_8
libva info: va_openDriver() returns 0
vainfo: VA-API version: 1.10 (libva 2.10.0)
vainfo: Driver version: Intel i965 driver for Intel(R) CherryView - 2.4.1
vainfo: Supported profile and entrypoints
      VAProfileMPEG2Simple            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileMPEG2Simple            : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileMPEG2Main              : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileMPEG2Main              : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264ConstrainedBaseline: VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264ConstrainedBaseline: VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264Main               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264Main               : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264High               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264High               : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264MultiviewHigh      : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264MultiviewHigh      : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264StereoHigh         : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264StereoHigh         : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileVC1Simple              : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Main                : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Advanced            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileNone                   : VAEntrypointVideoProc
      VAProfileJPEGBaseline           : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileJPEGBaseline           : VAEntrypointEncPicture
      VAProfileVP8Version0_3          : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVP8Version0_3          : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileHEVCMain               : VAEntrypointVLD
 
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