OverclockingThe overclocks listed in this section were achieved with the default fan and voltage settings as defined in the VGA BIOS. Please note that every single sample overclocks differently, that's why our results here can only serve as a guideline for what you can expect from your card.
Maximum stable clocks of our card are 898 MHz core (8% overclock) and 1210 MHz Memory (17% overclock).
Even though the card is already overclocked out of the box, we see some nice additional overclocking potential. Compared to the NVIDIA reference design, a nice 70 MHz increase, compared to the "normal" MSI GTX 580 Lightning about the same though.
Overclocked PerformanceUsing these clock frequencies we ran a quick test of Call of Duty 4 to evaluate the gains from overclocking.
Actual 3D performance gained from overclocking is 7.4%.
Temperatures are low in all tests, given the increased fan noise under load I think a better choice would have been a few °C more under load and less fan noise.
Voltage TuningIt has been a long known fact that overclocking headroom increases as soon as you increase the operating voltage. Until recently, software voltage control on VGA cards has been the exception and most users were not willing to risk their warranty by performing a soldering voltmod. Nowadays almost all current graphics cards have voltage control in order to achieve low power consumption by lowering voltage when in idle or slightly loaded.
In this section we will increase the GPU operating voltage step by step and record the maximum clock speed possible. Voltage is listed as the value that the voltage regulator reports via software, not actual measured voltage. The card was installed in-case, with fan settings at default, memory will not be overclocked either. If a card has thermal throttling we will reduce the operating frequency to keep performance as high as possible for a given voltage. Please note that the fan profile will have an effect on observed temperatures: if the card gets hotter the fan will ramp up to reduce temperatures or keep them from rising fast.
The following graph shows the overclocking potential we saw on our sample. GPU clock is represented by the blue line, which uses the vertical clock scale on the left. The scale starts at the default clock to give a feel for the overclocking potential over the base clock. Temperature is plotted in red using the °C scale on the right side of the graph. An additional graph shows full system power draw in orange, measured at the wall socket when running at the given voltage, clock & temperature.
Increasing voltage gives a big boost to the maximum clocks of the card. With a little improved cooling, more voltage or a lucky card I see 1 GHz well in reach.
Clock ProfilesModern graphics cards have several clock profiles that are selected to balance power draw and performance requirements.
The following table lists the clock settings for important performance scenarios and the GPU voltage that we measured. We measure on the pins of a coil or capacitor near the GPU voltage regulator.
|GPU Voltage |
|Desktop||51 MHz||68 MHz||0.95 V|
|Multi-Monitor||832 MHz||1050 MHz||1.01 V|
|Blu-ray Playback||405 MHz||162 MHz||0.95 V|
|3D Load||832 MHz||1050 MHz||1.02 V|