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Recommended low power GPU for headless build


Hi all,

Just a quick question that’s probably been asked before but I can’t for the life of me get any good info on this.

Does anyone know what the lowest power consuming low profile pci-e GPU / video card is?

I’m currently using an old 8400gs which is perfect for the headless machine but it seams silly to have a 10-15W part sitting in a machine doing nothing other than warming up.

What are other people using in their headless systems?



When you say headless, you mean like a workstation card used for compute tasks?

The type of recommendation is directly related to what workload you plan on doing.

As such, please post what you are trying to do so anyone else can provide a succinct reply.


Basically the GPU/video card is purely for diagnostic purposes and isn’t used at all other than this.


Ahh okay them. If that’s the case then you could use something like a low-profile GTC 1060. IIRC certain ones get all their power from the PCIe slot and are single-slot.

Id on’t think AMD has any offering besides workstation cards, and those will be too expensive for what you are trying to do.


A GT710 passive should be better. I think it’s the lowest TDP card you can buy for a resonable price to put into an headless server. It has a TDP of 19W, which means that if it’s hidling should consume half or even less.


I only use cpu’s or motherboards with integrated graphics for headless systems.

My NAS and pfsense box both have igpu i3’s and my dual xeon boinc cruncher has on board graphics…oh and my 8 pi’s.
They all only had a monitor hooked up long enough to turn on ssh.

You can always take the gpu out. Just access the machine remotely, if it truely is headless.


Cars like the GeForce 210, GT710, GT730, R5 230 and R5 240 come to mind. Should be able to get them used for 30 bucks.


I remember reading quite some time ago that the 7000 series and above Radeon cards would draw zero watts (probably milliwatts) in low power states. I’m not certain how that would translate to nVidia, or how well it is supported in Linux. I’d imagine the Phoronix forums would have the answer.

Without knowing the software and hardware you are currently using it would be difficult to expand much further. As mentioned above, leaving the card out after setup could be another option.


ZeroCorePower should put the GPU to sleep when displaying a blank screen reducing powerdraw to 15W or less.