TechTalk – TechMikeNY

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I don’t want to see or deal with my electric bill either so I use the auto-pay feature and never see a bill — problem solved :) In actuality, the power consumption is generally low. I only turn on all servers at the same time for short duration performance characterizations (e.g.: 30-60 minutes) and usually only a few times a month. I don’t really notice an increase in my electric costs. A good analogy is owning a top fuel dragster; you probably don’t care how much the fuel costs for a short 4-second 1/4 mile run, even as she burns ~1 gallon of nitromethane per second.

— Adrian Michaud

To your comment below, Lee, we were thinking the same thing, hence our question about solar or wind power. I guess you can’t have an off-the-charts homelab without the juice to run it!

— TechMike

I do not want to see the electric bill on #1.

— Lee Wilbur

Goran, thanks for this great info. That’s a really clever workaround with keeping the VGA as the primary output and then accessing the GPU through the VM. P.S., we also have played around with certain 3rd party graphics cards in Dell servers with mixed results. Thanks for sharing your solution!

— TechMike

I definitely recommend iDRAC Enterprise and HTML5, since that gives you easy access to the machine at all times from anywhere, and no messing around with monitor cables, keyboards, and mouse. I connect to my iDRAC via VPN and can start, maintain, upgrade, install OS, etc…

Fun fact is that my 4 PowerEdge servers all have separate graphics cards, and that works like a charm even if some officially doesn’t support it. That does however switch off the iDRAC virtual console, after POST, since the video output is now generated outside of the Dell hardware. A way around this is to keep the server VGA as your primary display, run a hypervisor (I use Proxmox) and then pass the GPU into a virtual machine, and finally remote desktop into that VM which now render and hardware encode the image.

These are the machines and GPU combinations, in case anyone wants to try it out:
R820 with AMD Radeon Pro WX 5100 (less than 75W and is powered by a 16x PCIe slot)
R720 with Nvidia RTX 2070 Super, takes a “special” cable to power from the riser power connector
R730 with Nvidia GT 1030 (less than 75W and is powered by a 16x PCIe slot)
R630 with Nvidia Quadro P2200 (less than 75W and is powered by a 16x PCIe slot)

— Goran Marnfeldt

Thanks for the comment below, Nicholas, and the background on bidirectional flow. We suspect it also has quite a bit to do with VGA’s analog signal converting to HDMI’s digital signal. Really, VGA is the last holdout of the analog video outputs.

— TechMike

I found the issue to be with my VGA/HDMI adapter.

Turns out, these adapters arent always (if ever) bidirectional.

I had bought an adapter that was HDMI to VGA, which doesn’t work when connecting to a VGA output port.

Be sure you’re buying an adapter that has the right flow of data.

— Nicholas Browning