I know it sounds silly but here is my question and where I am going. I currently have an ATI X850XT PE and am planning on upgrading to the 2900.
My issue is that my PC runs 24/7, but the display is only on a few hours a week - the rest of the time the screen is blank and the machine is basically a file server.
I just upgraded my CPU from an old (Pre speed step) Pentium D950 to an E6600 - at least partially so that my machine wouldn't draw as much power when it was not doing much, and also so I didn't have to put an air conditioner in the computer room.
I have no problem with the ATI card drawing a couple hundred watts while I am gaming, but I wish there was a way to drasticall underclock it, or even disable it completely when I am not using it. 99% of the time a standard VGA card would suffice.
Is there anyway to dynamically underclock the card, or turn it off when I am not using it? Power management on my PC will turn off my LCD monitor which draws almost no power, but leaves the 100 watt video card running.
When I am not gaming, the only thing the video card needs to do is basic VGA functionality like windows desktop and maybe internet explorer.
It actually is doing stuff, just nothing you can see.
It has a 2tb RAID 5 array that stores everything in the house. I have more than 20 years worth of my CD's, records and tapes on there as well as backups of other stuff. It is also the firewall between my cable modem and the rest of the house. The other pc's in the house connect to it and move stuff around. It is not very efficient, and the synchronization is never quite right but it also acts as a shoutcast server so I can play the same music in any room in the house at almost the same time. The majority of the work I do with it I remote in from one of the other machines. The main reason is that it's only monitor is also the Family room big screen TV. My wife won't let me commandeer the TV full time - so most of the time the video card is doing nothing while she is watching law and order 10 times a day.
I have considered getting a low power PC to handle most of it's tasks and then making this one the media center PC, but it works out the best if this one is the media center PC (not running media center) and everything is internal. I just wish I could turn down or off the video card for the days on end that it is not displaying anything. I can turn off the inactive hard drives, I can slow down the processor, I can turn off all the fans except 2 - but I can't get rid of the constant stream of hot air coming out of the video card or the power being wasted to heat the air.
At least I have a quiet Arctic Solutions cooler on it so I don't have to hear the heat.
This bothers me a bit now, but planning to upgrade to the HD 2900 has me concerned about adding an extra 50+ watts idle power consumption over what I have now with no way to disable it. That is the only thing that has kept me from submitting my order on newegg.