Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition Overclocking Preview

We take the new GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition video card and find out what is the highest sustained real world gaming GPU clock speed that can be obtained. We also find the combined highest GPU and memory overclocks. If you want to see how high and how cool this video card can be pushed, we have the answer.

Introduction

On Tuesday, May 17th NVIDIA let the veil off of performance evaluation on its new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition video cards. We had a thorough evaluation of this video card covering many games and finding out where this video cards sits in comparison to a GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X.

In conclusion we found that performance was about 30% on average faster than a GeForce GTX 980 Ti, and Radeon R9 Fury X. One area we did not have time to thoroughly test was overclocking. In today's preview we will quickly show you our results in the last two days trying to squeeze out the highest possible overclock we can out of the GTX 1080.

Not Just a Flash in the Pan

Why did it take a couple of days? Well, wanted to be sure that these were not unstable overclocks in real world situations. The important part being that we maintain a consistent stable overclock that does not throttle and that can sustain itself over a long period of time while gaming. For our gaming tests we have found that 30 minutes of multiplayer gaming in Batlefield 4 is a good tool to pinpoint artifacting, throttling, or failures during overclocking tests.

Trying to figure out the maximum overclock and temperature while overclocking the Founders Edition is an important task. NVIDIA showed a certain level of overclocking in its live stream a few weeks ago. The video showed the video card running at 2.1GHz at 67c. That is quite an impressive showing, so naturally we have to find out if that is attainable, or all just smoke and mirrors. We will have that conclusion for you in this article.


EVGA Precision

To overclock this video card NVIDIA has provided a new tool, EVGA Precision. However this tool is currently in Alpha state, and does exhibit bugs. More refinement is needed, and will come, especially in the area of the new GPU Boost 3.0 feature scanning for voltage profiles.

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The interface is above and operates similarly to past Maxwell GPUs when overclocking. You can adjust fan speed, power target, temperature target, and memory and GPU offsets. What makes GTX 1080 unique is the new features it supports for setting voltage and offset curves. There are three modes, Linear, Basic, and Manual.

Linear mode active voltage points are denoted by green bars at the top of the columns and you can assign a curve by selecting the denoted voltage column and a desired frequency along the y-axis. Basic utilizes the same OC method available in Maxwell by assigning a standard offset to all voltage points assign a curve by selecting a frequency for any voltage and a desired offset curve will be drawn automatically. Manual mode allows the user to select frequencies for each voltage point simply click the desired frequency for each voltage manual mode also has a scan mode which can be run to give a user a good idea of the GPU overclockability.

Currently we experience major crashing issues using the manual OC Scanner option and could not provide results for you today using that feature. Therefore, we stuck strictly to manually overclocking. Again the tool is currently in Alpha, but since GTX 1080 is a paper launch, I guess it does not matter currently.

Highest GPU Overclock Only

This is the highest obtainable GPU-only overclock we could manage. We are only overclocking the GPU while memory is left at default.

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With the fan at 100% and the Power Target at 120% we managed a top GPU offset of +230. We found that at +250 the video card locked up in games. At +230 it did not lock up. What does that result in? In the graph above you can see that the overclocked GPU clock speed starts off at a high 2113MHz, but then quickly declines to around 2080MHz. Finally after some time playing it settles to an average of 2062MHz for the remainder of gaming.

This is why it is important to test long sessions of gaming to see the final resting place for the clock speed. Keep in mind our card is on an open bench with an ambient temperature of 72F, so this is best case scenario temperature-wise.

The red line below shows you the default clock speed for comparison. The lowest clock speed of the overclock spiked down to 1873MHz very briefly, but otherwise the average new clock speed is 2062MHz versus 1770MHz average clock speed at default operation.

That is a 16% increase in clock speed while gaming. Keep in mind this is all with a 100% fan speed and Power Target at 120%. However, this is with NO voltage changes at all. We are letting GPU Boost 3.0 handle voltage, which seems to work out very well.

Temperatures hit a maximum of 62c with this overclock and 100% fan speed.