GPU Boost 2.0: Overclocking & Overclocking Your Monitor

The first half of the GPU Boost 2 story is of course the fact that with 2.0 NVIDIA is switching from power based controls to temperature based controls. However there is also a second story here, and that is the impact to overclocking.

With the GTX 680, overclocking capabilities were limited, particularly in comparison to the GeForce 500 series. The GTX 680 could have its power target raised (guaranteed “overclocking”), and further overclocking could be achieved by using clock offsets. But perhaps most importantly, voltage control was forbidden, with NVIDIA going so far as to nix EVGA and MSI’s voltage adjustable products after a short time on the market.

There are a number of reasons for this, and hopefully one day soon we’ll be able to get into NVIDIA’s Project Greenlight video card approval process in significant detail so that we can better explain this, but the primary concern was that without strict voltage limits some of the more excessive users may blow out their cards with voltages set too high. And while the responsibility for this ultimately falls to the user, and in some cases the manufacturer of their card (depending on the warranty), it makes NVIDIA look bad regardless. The end result being that voltage control on the GTX 680 (and lower cards) was disabled for everyone, regardless of what a card was capable of.

With Titan this has finally changed, at least to some degree. In short, NVIDIA is bringing back overvoltage control, albeit in a more limited fashion.

For Titan cards, partners will have the final say in whether they wish to allow overvolting or not. If they choose to allow it, they get to set a maximum voltage (Vmax) figure in their VBIOS. The user in turn is allowed to increase their voltage beyond NVIDIA’s default reliability voltage limit (Vrel) up to Vmax. As part of the process however users have to acknowledge that increasing their voltage beyond Vrel puts their card at risk and may reduce the lifetime of the card. Only once that’s acknowledged will users be able to increase their voltages beyond Vrel.

With that in mind, beyond overvolting overclocking has also changed in some subtler ways. Memory and core offsets are still in place, but with the switch from power based monitoring to temperature based monitoring, the power target slider has been augmented with a separate temperature target slider.

The power target slider is still responsible for controlling the TDP as before, but with the ability to prioritize temperatures over power consumption it appears to be somewhat redundant (or at least unnecessary) for more significant overclocking. That leaves us with the temperature slider, which is really a control for two functions.

First and foremost of course is that the temperature slider controls what the target temperature is for Titan. By default for Titan this is 80C, and it may be turned all the way up to 95C. The higher the temperature setting the more frequently Titan can reach its highest boost bins, in essence making this a weaker form of overclocking just like the power target adjustment was on GTX 680.

The second function controlled by the temperature slider is the fan curve, which for all practical purposes follows the temperature slider. With modern video cards ramping up their fan speeds rather quickly once cards get into the 80C range, merely increasing the power target alone wouldn’t be particularly desirable in most cases due to the extra noise it generates, so NVIDIA tied in the fan curve to the temperature slider. By doing so it ensures that fan speeds stay relatively low until they start exceeding the temperature target. This seems a bit counterintuitive at first, but when put in perspective of the goal – higher temperatures without an increase in fan speed – this starts to make sense.

Finally, in what can only be described as a love letter to the boys over at 120hz.net, NVIDIA is also introducing a simplified monitor overclocking option, which can be used to increase the refresh rate sent to a monitor in order to coerce it into operating at that higher refresh rate. Notably, this isn’t anything that couldn’t be done before with some careful manipulation of the GeForce control panel’s custom resolution option, but with the monitor overclocking option exposed in PrecisionX and other utilities, monitor overclocking has been reduced to a simple slider rather than a complex mix of timings and pixel counts.

Though this feature can technically work with any monitor, it’s primarily geared towards monitors such as the various Korean LG-based 2560x1440 monitors that have hit the market in the past year, a number of which have come with electronics capable of operating far in excess of the 60Hz that is standard for those monitors. On the models that have been able to handle it, modders have been able to get some of these 2560x1440 monitors up to and above 120Hz, essentially doubling their native 60Hz refresh rate to 120Hz, greatly improving smoothness to levels similar to a native 120Hz TN panel, but without the resolution and quality drawbacks inherent to those TN products.

Of course it goes without saying that just like any other form of overclocking, monitor overclocking can be dangerous and risks breaking the monitor. On that note, out of our monitor collection we were able to get our Samsung 305T up to 75Hz, but whether that’s due to the panel or the driving electronics it didn’t seem to have any impact on performance, smoothness, or responsiveness. This is truly a “your mileage may vary” situation.

GPU Boost 2.0: Temperature Based Boosting Origin’s Genesis: Titan on Water & More to Come
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  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, February 21, 2013 - link

    Congratulations to all you whining amd fanboy freaks who lost the POINT of the rebuttal....

    Some amd fruitcake OWS idiot squealed profits are going through the roof (jhonny dough boy)...

    It was pointed out AMD is a failing, debt ridden, dying, sack of in the red losses loser company just about blwon to bankruptcy smithereens...

    But then when do amd fanboys pay attention to their helping hand demise of their big fave AMD ?
    Answer: NEVER
    Reason: They constantly beg and bag for lower pricing and squeal amd does just that every time. Then they wait for nVidia to DESTROY amd pricing with awesome nVidia hardware... at that point they take their pauper pennies and JUMP on that AMD card-- raping the bottom line into more BILLIONS of losses for amd, while they attack nVidia and scream corporate profit...

    LOL
    Moral of the history and current idiocy of the flapping lipped fools who get it 100% incorrect while they bloviate for their verdetrol master amd.

    The amd fanboys have just about destroyed amd as a going venture...

    I congratulate the clueless FOOLS for slaying the idiot crash monkey lousy video card junk producer amd.
    Reply
  • Scott586 - Thursday, February 21, 2013 - link

    Wow TheJian, shut up already. We stopped reading 1/2-way thru the 2nd sentence. Reply
  • Spunjji - Thursday, February 21, 2013 - link

    Thanks for taking what was a relevant comment correcting the previous poster and turning it into an inaccurate, ill-informed vitriolic rant about politics. That was... unprecedented. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, February 24, 2013 - link

    I enjoyed it, a lot. It was not however unprecedented, mr liar.

    As I so clearly recall, very recently on another little review here, the left wing raging amd fan OWS protester went on a wild diatribe cursing out those who dared not use their powerful system to organize political action and other such ventures like curing cancer, thus "disusing" their personal systems...

    So no, the wacko collectivist beat him to it.
    Reply
  • BurtGravy - Thursday, February 21, 2013 - link

    That escalated quickly. Reply
  • iEATu - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    I stopped reading when you started talking about Reagan and cutting taxes creates businesses. Based off of history with Reagan, revenue did NOT come in because big businesses took advantage of the tax cuts and nothing changed except to make big business more powerful and the richest people richer. Reply
  • 3DPA - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    Wow....this certainly got off topic. The only hope for America is for the US to became a tax haven for the rest of the world...similar to what Singapore did (and they are hugely prosperous). When you factor in under funded pensions, social security and medicare, the real US debt comes to around $86 trillion. You need to drop the US corporate tax rate from the highest in the world (I think around 30% to 35%) to the lowest. When you look at electronics manufacturing, the cost of building off-shore in China really only saves you 7% in labor because 90% of electronic assembly is automated. So you save 7%, but then you lose 4% shipping it back to the US thanks to the price of oil. So you really end up saving 3%. Given all the hassles of dealing with manufacturing half-way around the world, 3% savings is really not that attractive. So why do companies move electronics manufacturing over-seas? Because they save on tax...to the tune of 10% to 15%. You want to bring electronics manufacturing jobs back to the US? Just lower the corporate tax rate to something more globally competitive like 15% to 20%. This will create HUGE influx of job growth in the US. And what happens when more people are working? You broaden the tax base so tax revenue increases. Also, remember that close to $1 Trillion of corporate profits is sitting in foreign banks ($100 Billion of that belongs to Apple) because they don't want to pay the huge US corporate tax rates. Lower that tax rate and all that money flows back into the US where it can be used for investment in the US...which creates more opportunity...etc....etc...etc...

    So don't believe it when the Obama administration can't solve the US debt issue. It can be solved. But it just kills a socialist/communist president to cut corporate America a break even though not to do so causes us even more harm.

    You know.....I have yet to meet anyone that actually thinks Obama is doing a good job or is good for the country. I hear more negative talk, more jokes, seen more negative books published about him and heard more dooms-day scenarios with his name at the middle of it than any other president in memory.

    So how did he get re-elected?

    Well...there is one good thing I can say about Obama: He made me appreciate Bill Clinton.
    Reply
  • azixtgo - Sunday, November 10, 2013 - link

    higher prices mean fewer sales. Lower prices mean lower margins. They have to find some balance and I doubt anyone here knows enough to know where that balance is. My thinking is that both companies make too many chips (desktop market). They price desirable chips too high for the average person. Maybe they should make fewer chips and make upgrades more desirable.

    Both consoles have sold millions already. I doubt it will be that game changing for them. Another thing is that AMD is letting their desktop CPU market suffer. They have not put out better chipsets for their FX processors in a good while so even people who would buy the fx processors may not do so when they see what they get with the motherboard (they do not even have mATX motherboards for these processors AFAIK.) I doubt the APUs will make up for the FX shortfalls. Intel on the other hand offers a less complicated setup. Companies do not just lose profits on lower prices and I am inclined to think the prices can stand to be lower based on what both nvidia and amd have done recently

    eg. 280X is a 7970 being sold for $300. GTX 780 now sells for 499. Are they at the balance point? I don't know. i just don't think they are optimizing their market presence at all
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    No, the GK110 isn't cheaper to produce, not by a long shot, and Intel's profit margin for their CPUs are quite a bit higher than Nvidia's or AMD's for the graphics solutions. It's pretty amazing considering the GPUs are far bigger.

    I was hoping for a price around $800, but expecting it to be $900-1200. Sure, I wish it was less, but Nvidia isn't out of line here.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, February 24, 2013 - link

    I agree. It's quiet, it sips power, it's the fastest, it has the features amd lacks, which are many and considerable. It has stable drivers, it is well built, it has 6G of ram, thus making it the most future proof to date, just recently of utmost importance to all the amd fanboys 3G quacking Skyrim mods baggers, now they can eat dirt, then mud from the delicious tears.

    Yeah pretty sick of the constant CEO price "absolutears" here on every dang release, squealing out price perf bang for buck whines and lies and pauper protestations in betwixt bragging about their knowledge and prowess and spewing fanboy fave.

    If you're a fanboy get off your butt and toss a few papers so you can buy a ding dang video card without wailing like a homeless vagrant.
    Reply

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