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Low Profile GPU Recommendations


MRobi
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TL:DR - Looking for the best bang for my buck low profile GPU without spending a ton of money.

Not being a gamer, and running Emby in FreeNAS where GPU transcoding hasn't really been supported, it's been years since I've looked at GPU's. Now I'm in the process of migrating to Proxmox and will be running Emby on docker in an LXC container, so it's time to start looking for a GPU to handle some transcoding.

Here are the details of my server:

Case: CSE-847E16-R1400LPB
Motherboard: X9DRi-LN4F+
Backplanes:
BPN-SAS2-846EL1 24-port 4U SAS2 6Gbps single-expander backplane
BPN-SAS2-826EL1 12-port 2U SAS2 6Gbps single-expander backplane
NIC: Integrated Quad Intel 1000BASE-T Ports (NOT BEING USED)
NIC2: Intel x520-da1 10GbE
Processor: 2x Intel Xeon E5-2690 8 Core 2.9GHz
Memory: 24x 4GB - DDR3 - ECC (96Gb)
HBA: 1x LSI 9210-8i HBA JBOD FREENAS UNRAID (with SAS2 Expander will support all 36 bays)
Power Supply: 2x 1400Watt Power Supply Gold
Storage Drives: 24x 4Tb WD Red
OS Drives: 2x 120gb SSD, 1x 1tb NVME

Because of the case, I'm limited to low profile cards. I've got 3 x16 PCI-E 3.0 slots available, so not an issue if it's dual slot. I'd prefer a card that can be fully powered by the PCI-E slot, not so much because I'm worried about the added draw on the PSU, but more because I'd have to run a 4-pin molex to 6 or 8 pin PCIE adapter wire through the fan wall which is just a pain in the ass and always results in some blood lol. But if it comes down to it, I'll do it.

Stream-wise, there are never more than 4 connections to the server at one time. I primarily only transcode when we're at our camp since it's serving video at 3mbps, or if I'm in a hotel. I'm just starting to add some 4k content now, but the large majority of my library is 1080p. 

On top of Emby, I plan to give access to Unmanic or Tdarr and want to maximize the number of workers running at one time. For those not familiar, Unmanic/Tdarr will systematically work through your media library and convert the whole thing to h265. I've been running 6 workers without a gpu and it's been pushing cpu usage to around 50%. I'm assuming this process will take 8-12 months to work through the entire library if I give it access to a GPU, but with a 60-70% reduction in size it should save me from having to expand my storage pool for at least a few years.

In my search I've seen a lot of recommendations for the quadro p400. It seems to cap out at 7 streams which would be fine for my every day Emby usage but throwing Unmanic/Tdarr into the mix may not be enough. The 1050ti low profile seems to be a good fit at 14 streams, pci-e powered, low profile form factor and only $215 brand new. 

Are there any other cards I should be looking at? Are there any other low profile cards that may be more powerful than the 1050ti without a massive increase in price?

 

 

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its not low profile (depends how high you can get away with

but the 1050Ti i have is powered by the pcie slot but is a normal height card

so maybe the lower level 10xx versions can be had in a low profile - as this will limit the fan size they are likely to come with a huge heat sinks but sounds like you have the space for them

how is the performance with the dual xeons when transcoding now as if you only do it for a few days a year can you live without the speed of the gpu?

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18 hours ago, PenkethBoy said:

its not low profile (depends how high you can get away with

but the 1050Ti i have is powered by the pcie slot but is a normal height card

so maybe the lower level 10xx versions can be had in a low profile - as this will limit the fan size they are likely to come with a huge heat sinks but sounds like you have the space for them

how is the performance with the dual xeons when transcoding now as if you only do it for a few days a year can you live without the speed of the gpu?

MSI has a 1050ti low profile and there is no way to physically fit a full height card in that case.

 

The cpu's have been fine with transcoding, but I have yet to push them with any 4k content and I'd like the GPU to head up the conversion x265 through unmanic/tdarr. Don't want to run the cpu's at full tilt for the next year.

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GeForce 1650 (newer) also available in low-profile version.

Edit: Even some Quadro P series cards in the $200-ish (USD) range.

Edited by Q-Droid
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23 hours ago, Q-Droid said:

GeForce 1650 (newer) also available in low-profile version.

Edit: Even some Quadro P series cards in the $200-ish (USD) range.

The P400 caps out at around 7 1080p streams. The P2000, P4000 etc... are $$$ and not low profile.

I hadn't come accross the 1650 low profile yet. There seems to be a Zotac version cheaper than the 1050ti, but it's sold out everywhere. Possibly cleared out and discontinued? MSI Has one that's only $50 more than the 1050ti.

Looking on the plex boards, the consensus seems to be to skip the 1650 in favor of the 1660 because they say the Volta encoder is only a marginal increase over the Pascal and the 1660 has the Turing encoder. Although in my eyes, even a marginal improvement for a negligeable amount of money is worth while. Unless there's a 1660 low profile out in the wild somewhere (Although that seems to be a $150 price jump from the 1650, so probably not worth it for my use)

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After doing a whole lot more digging, I ended up ordering a 1650 low profile.

While the consensus is that the speed increase is not much over a 1050ti, the fact remains that it is still a speed increase. And the price difference was marginal.There was one review site that comparing various low profile cards that really summed it up.  "Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 is currently the most powerful low-profile graphics card available in the market."

Now I just need to wait for all those shipping delays with the holidays, then figure out how to pass it through to an LXC container on proxmox and then make it accessible to docker. Should be fun :)

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  • 1 year later...
bandit8623
On 12/23/2020 at 12:32 PM, MRobi said:

After doing a whole lot more digging, I ended up ordering a 1650 low profile.

While the consensus is that the speed increase is not much over a 1050ti, the fact remains that it is still a speed increase. And the price difference was marginal.There was one review site that comparing various low profile cards that really summed it up.  "Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 is currently the most powerful low-profile graphics card available in the market."

Now I just need to wait for all those shipping delays with the holidays, then figure out how to pass it through to an LXC container on proxmox and then make it accessible to docker. Should be fun :)

how did yours end up working for you?  i had the low profile 128 mem bus version and i would have freezing using plex.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 23/09/2022 at 02:09, bandit8623 said:

how did yours end up working for you?  i had the low profile 128 mem bus version and i would have freezing using plex.  

It's been running great for a while now. Used it to transcode my entire media collection into h265 mkv so it's more than paid for itself at this point. I saved something like 30Tb of storage, and the cost of 30Tb of usable space was significantly more than the media card. And it easily handles anything Emby throws at it.

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