GPU Boost 2.0: Temperature Based Boosting

With the Kepler family NVIDIA introduced their GPU Boost functionality. Present on the desktop GTX 660 and above, boost allows NVIDIA’s GPUs to turbo up to frequencies above their base clock so long as there is sufficient power headroom to operate at those higher clockspeeds and the voltages they require. Boost, like turbo and other implementations, is essentially a form of performance min-maxing, allowing GPUs to offer higher clockspeeds for lighter workloads while still staying within their absolute TDP limits.

With the first iteration of GPU Boost, GPU Boost was based almost entirely around power considerations. With the exception of an automatic 1 bin (13MHz) step down in high temperatures to compensate for increased power consumption, whether GPU Boost could boost and by how much depended on how much power headroom was available. So long as there was headroom, GPU Boost could boost up to its maximum boost bin and voltage.

For Titan, GPU Boost has undergone a small but important change that has significant ramifications to how GPU Boost works, and how much it boosts by. And that change is that with GPU Boost 2, NVIDIA has essentially moved on from a power-based boost system to a temperature-based boost system. Or perhaps more precisely, a system that is predominantly temperature based but is also capable of taking power into account.

When it came to GPU Boost 1, its greatest weakness as explained by NVIDIA is that it essentially made conservative assumptions about temperatures and the interplay between high temperatures and high voltages in order keep from seriously impacting silicon longevity. The end result being that NVIDIA was picking boost bin voltages based on the worst case temperatures, which meant those conservative assumptions about temperatures translated into conservative voltages.

So how does a temperature based system fix this? By better mapping the relationship between voltage, temperature, and reliability, NVIDIA can allow for higher voltages – and hence higher clockspeeds – by being able to finely control which boost bin is hit based on temperature. As temperatures start ramping up, NVIDIA can ramp down the boost bins until an equilibrium is reached.

Of course total power consumption is still a technical concern here, though much less so. Technically NVIDIA is watching both the temperature and the power consumption and clamping down when either is hit. But since GPU Boost 2 does away with the concept of separate power targets – sticking solely with the TDP instead – in the design of Titan there’s quite a bit more room for boosting thanks to the fact that it can keep on boosting right up until the point it hits the 250W TDP limit. Our Titan sample can boost its clockspeed by up to 19% (837MHz to 992MHz), whereas our GTX 680 sample could only boost by 10% (1006MHz to 1110MHz).

Ultimately however whether GPU Boost 2 is power sensitive is actually a control panel setting, meaning that power sensitivity can be disabled. By default GPU Boost will monitor both temperature and power, but 3rd party overclocking utilities such as EVGA Precision X can prioritize temperature over power, at which point GPU Boost 2 can actually ignore TDP to a certain extent to focus on power. So if nothing else there’s quite a bit more flexibility with GPU Boost 2 than there was with GPU Boost 1.

Unfortunately because GPU Boost 2 is only implemented in Titan it’s hard to evaluate just how much “better” this is in any quantities sense. We will be able to present specific Titan numbers on Thursday, but other than saying that our Titan maxed out at 992MHz at its highest boost bin of 1.162v, we can’t directly compare it to how the GTX 680 handled things.

Titan For Compute GPU Boost 2.0: Overclocking & Overclocking Your Monitor


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  • WhoppingWallaby - Thursday, February 21, 2013 - link

    Dude, you have some gall calling another person a fanboy. We could all do without your ranting and raving, so go troll elsewhere or calm down a little. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, February 24, 2013 - link

    Oh shut up yourself you radeon rager.

    You idiots think you have exclusive rights to spew your crap all over the place, and when ANYONE disagrees you have a ***** fit and demand they stop.

    How about all you whining critical diaper pooping fanatics stop instead ?
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    It's all about single card performance. Everything just works eaier with a single card. Start putting SLI into the mix and you need to take into account for drivers, or when doing compute it requires a complete reworking of code. Not to mention the potentially lower power output and OC capabilities of Titan over a dual GPU card.

    At any given price point, getting two cards up to that cost will always be quicker than a single card in any scenario that can take advantage, if you're willing to put up with it. So yes, two GTX 680s, a 690, or a Titan is a valid question, and it's up to the user preference which one to get.

    I need to double check my wallet, see if it hasn't imploded after hearing the price.
  • wreckeysroll - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    lost their minds?
    how about fell and cracked their head after losing it. Smoking too much of that good stuff down there in California.

    How stupid do they take us for. Way to thumb your customers in the eye nvidia. $1000 on a single gpu kit.

    Good laugh for the morning.
  • B3an - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Use some ****ing common sense. You get what you pay for.

    6GB with 386-bit memory bus, and a 551mm2 size GPU. Obviously this wont be cheap and theres no way this could be sold for anywhere near the price of a 680 without losing tons of money.

    Nvidia already had this thing in super computers anyway so why not turn it in to a consumer product? Some people WILL buy this. If you have the money why not. Atleast NV are not sitting on their arses like AMD are with no new high-end GPU's this year. Even though i have AMD cards i'm very disappointed with AMD's crap lately as an enthusiast and someone who's just interested in GPU tech. First they literally give up on competitive performance CPU's and now it's looking like they're doing it with GPU's.
  • siliconfiber - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Common sense is what you are missing.

    GTX 580, 480, 285 were all sold to for much less than this card and were all used in HPC applications, had the same or much bigger dies sizes, and the same or bigger bus. DDR memory is dirt cheap as well

    I have seen it all now. Largest rip-off in the history of video cards right here.
  • Genx87 - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Oh look I have never seen this argument before. Biggest rip off in history of video cards. Pre-ceded only by every high end video card release since the introduction of high end discrete GPUs. And will remain a ripoff until the next high end GPU is released surpassing this card ripoff factor. Reply
  • Blibbax - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    It's not a rip off because you don't have to buy it. The 680 hasn't gotten any slower.

    Just like with cars and anything else, when you add 50% more performance to a high-end product, it's gunna be a lot more than 50% more expensive.
  • johnthacker - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    The largest rip-off in the history of video cards are some of the Quadro cards. This is extremely cheap for a card with so good FP64 performance. Reply
  • TheJian - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    GTX580 (40nm) was not in the same league as this and only had 3b transistors. Titan has 7.1B on 28nm. 512cuda cores compared to 2880? It came with 1.5GB memory too, this has 6. etc etc..The 580 did not run like a $2500 pro card @ a 1500 discount either. Also a chip this complicated doesn't YIELD well. It's very expensive to toss out the bad ones.

    Do you know the difference between system memory and graphics memory (you said ddr). They do not cost the same. You meant GDDR? Well this stuff is 4x as much running 6ghz not 4ghz.

    Ref clock is 876 but these guys got theirs to 1176:

    The card is a monster value vs. $2500 K20. Engineering is not FREE. Ask AMD. They lost 1.18B last year selling crap at prices that would make you happy I guess. That's how you go out of business. Get it? They haven't made money in 10yrs (lost 3-4B over that time as a whole). Think they should've charged more for their cards/chips the last ten years? I DO. If Titan is priced wrong, they will remain on the shelf. Correct? So if you're right they won't sell. These will be gone in a day, because there are probably enough people that would pay $1500 for them they'll sell out quickly. You have to pay $2500 to get this on the pro side.

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