Which fanless GPU is best?

  • I currently have a Nvidia gt 1030 fanless. I think Linux support for Nvidia is not the best because playing 4k content my CPU hits 85°c where as with windows it just plays smooth.


    I have another gt560 or something that does the job with 1080p on my older tv

    Now I'm wondering if there is a fanless Radeon graphics card that would be worth purchasing?


    It's strange 10 years ago Radeon was so buggy with Linux and openelec, tearing everywhere. Now it seems to have great drivers or am I wrong?

    • Official Post

    Practically all 4K content is HEVC (or VP9) encoded and nVidia never added support for either to their Linux drivers, hence the CPU is working overtime to play back 4K content. AMD and Intel have both invested time/effort in their drivers (and both use Kodi as a reference media app) so support is generally good and the main Linux challenge is new chips needing bleeding edge kernels that take a while to stabilise. nVidia continues to be a Linux pariah and future use in LE once we drop X11 support (sooner than later) is not guaranteed. Stats show the number of nVidia users continues to decline and most of them have older cards. These days most people have moved from homebrew boxes to NUC-like devices with a server/NAS for media in the network. Most of those devices are fanless (or quiet enough) and the client/server setup makes it easier and cheaper to upgrade the client device as media tastes evolve over time. Perhaps convert the current box to a server and partner it with an RPi4?

  • I have so many nice Silverstone chassis and if I could find a fanless atI card i would get it.

    Otherwise would a 4th gen i5 play 4k from the Intel graphics?

    • Official Post

    I currently have a Nvidia gt 1030 fanless. I think Linux support for Nvidia is not the best because playing 4k content my CPU hits 85°c where as with windows it just plays smooth.

    I have PC mini-tower with a GT1030. Your CPU is probably overheating because the GT1030 will not do hardware-acceleration on 10bit videos and therefore the CPU has too step in, simply because the Nvidia video driver is not capable of that under Linux. Certain players in Ubuntu can do 10bit Nvidia stuff, like MPV using NVDEC/NVENC, but that's another story.


    I have a simple fanless Asrock J5005 board with an Intel HD605 and a pico psu, which is a dead silent setup, and it practically plays everything I throw at it. There are successors by now for that onboard CPU, although the J4205 should also be a good enough option upto 4K30.


    A 4th gen i5 ...which is almost 9 years old, may not handle 1080p hevc very well, let alone 4K 10bit hevc.

  • I have PC mini-tower with a GT1030. Your CPU is probably overheating because the GT1030 will not do hardware-acceleration on 10bit videos and therefore the CPU has too step in, simply because the Nvidia video driver is not capable of that under Linux. Certain players in Ubuntu can do 10bit Nvidia stuff, like MPV using NVDEC/NVENC, but that's another story.


    I have a simple fanless Asrock J5005 board with an Intel HD605 and a pico psu, which is a dead silent setup, and it practically plays everything I throw at it. There are successors by now for that onboard CPU, although the J4205 should also be a good enough option upto 4K30.


    A 4th gen i5 ...which is almost 9 years old, may not handle 1080p hevc very well, let alone 4K 10bit hevc.

    it handles 1080 very smooth. With dts hd audio... I have been using it as a music streamer so its been years since I've had Kodi installed.


    Even the 2nd and 3rd gen i3s-i7s have no problem playing 1080p video and dts hd audio in libreelec.


    I'm going to put my Nvidia 1030 into a windows PC.

    So there is no ati fanless cards at all?


    I suppose I could get a rpi4 and put it in the big chassis and no one would be the wiser. Or even an Nvidia shield.


    I guess maybe time to ditch the PCs and turn one into a storage device.


    Tell me more about the Pico psu, as that would be great with my music streamer. I replaced the CPU fan with a giant heatsink from arctic, still sitting around 40°c when playing dsd 5.6mhz audio files so I'm happy with that however there is definite noise coming from the PSU and it leaks static into my usb dac, I will eventually switch the dac to a i2s connection instead of usb, however that's a bit in the future as I need to sell some of my current equipment.. and the government here in Sydney has pretty much locked everyone in their houses and destroyed all of our careers and jobs again... For the second year.

    • Official Post

    it handles 1080 very smooth.

    1080p is typically h264 format. That format is hw-accel supported by just about any GPU from 2005 and onwards. The RPi3B+ can do that too.

    Handling the hevc format and/or 10bit video is another matter.


    ATI didn't also get into fanless discrete cards that much. The only recent fanless card would be the XFX Radeon RX 460 4GB Passive.

  • I would go the road Klojum proposes. Get rid of the motherboard and graphics card and buy a motherboard with integrated CPU, for example with a intel J4125.


    I have a asrock J3455, I bought it for 90€. You can't even buy a GT1030 for this price. I use it as a NAS, and a desktop pc running Manjaro. It's powered by a 40W power adapter. So it's cheaper and it uses a lot less power.


    I wouldn't recommend it when you are a gamer, it's good to run emulation (even GC and Wii) and older games but not the newer titles.


    If you buy a RPI on top of that, you aren't even on the price of a new graphics card.

  • what about a J4215 system or similar (ASRock J4125M) ? likely cheaper and more future proof then some gpu

    They look nice but no optical just incase?

    How do these motherboards work with psu?

  • The Asrock J4205 and also J5005 boards and possibly others have an optical port.

    The mobos have a normal 20pin PSU connector, so a normal or a pico PSU can be connected.

    I would love to be able to find a motherboard that I could use a linear power supply that is not an atx as they cost farrrr too much.

    The power input for a laptop I guess would be the closest I can think of

  • google "pico psu" , I have this running at a old J1900 for years 24/7 without any problems

    ARe they linear power supplies connected? A linear supply connected to the Pico converter could be exactly what I need

  • There are "ultralow" motherboards with a built-in laptop power slot.

    Such as this one : Products | Kontron Embedded Computers


    You have a similar solution as a PicoPSU, but these mobos tend to be more expensive as well.

    Yeh that would be ok if it had hdmi.

    My plan was to buy a pink faun i2s card for audio if I do stick with a PC. I'm an audiophile so audio means more than video to me.



    I2S Bridge


    And then I saw the price!


    So after all of this, would I just be better getting a raspberry pi4 with a pihat such as the pi2aes? PI2AES - PRO AUDIO SHIELD


    I could get a cheaper LPS.

    I need to look into this more, the only things I worry about is, can libreelec do dsd audio? I have tried searching in the past, I thought I found it audio decoders/encoders but that ended up being a Dreamcast gaming audio codec. I am unaware if rpi can use windows or anything that I could potentially get mpd and dsd working.

    The other thing I wonder is if video output via the HDMI of a rpi4 and audio could be output via the pi2aes i2s output.


    Mpd audio wrapper is another thing I can't find any information online regarding libreelec. I know there is a mpd server/remote that doesn't work but is there a way to have music files use mpd as their wrapper?


    I wish I could code. I would add all of these things so that all the audiophiles would switch to libreelec.