Undervolting = cooler graphics card, same performance!

July 31, 2019 posted by


What is up Youtube, this is Alex aka foreign. Today I want to talk about something very
near and dear to my heart and that’s the temperatures of our graphics cards. There are many ways to do lower your temps
and I talked about the easiest and one in the video shown in the upper right corner,
but today I’ll talk about a slightly more sophisticated, but still easy and far less
talked about way – undervolting. First of all let’s get some facts straight
– this will not work the same for you as it did for me, only to an extent, and it will
not necessarily net you extra performance. Also, this will work much better on newer
generation cards and may be less effective on AMD 200 and 300 series, but it definitely
still works on every generation of GPUs. Basically, all graphics cards come out of
the factory with the same voltage and are considered equal in all regards by the manufacturer. For instance, all reference GTX 1080s should
be priced the same, at 499 US dollars, and are therefore considered the same by Nvidia. In reality though, they will overclock very
differently, with some cards reaching high 1900s and some going as far as 2100 MHz. It all depends on the silicon lottery. Let me explain this in another way – GPUs
within the same version of any video card are considered and priced the same amongst
manufacturers, for instance all RX 580 Gaming X cards will be priced the same, no matter
if you can manually overclock it to 1550 MHz or 1450, MSI only guarantees a max boost clock
of 1393 MHz in gaming mode. Manufacturers can’t test every single card
to see what quality chip is inside, but they need to have a max clock that all cards can
achieve under the cooling conditions they provide. So what they do is most usually they will
put the card’s base voltage very high, much higher than it actually needs to be to achieve
the advertised clock speeds. They do this simply because every GPU is different,
even within the same model. So now there are two ways we can approach
this – without even touching the voltage, we can increase the core and memory speeds
of our GPU, using for instance MSI Afterburner. That won’t make the card run necessarily
hotter, but it will be able to utilize that extra voltage coming into the GPU. The other option is far more interesting in
my opinion – undervolting. Since the GPU runs at a fixed speed and doesn’t
necessarily need all that extra voltage running through, we can lower the core voltage in
MSI Afterburner. For my 290X I stopped at around -20 millivolts,
but I didn’t even test it much – I just ran the Witcher 3 at 4K to see if I get any
artifacts, and I didn’t. Since there is less current running through
our GPU, it doesn’t get as hot, meaning we don’t have to cool it as much and it
won’t consume as much power. You can tweak this to eternity, finding the
perfect balance between low temperatures and high performance. In fact, this is exactly how Nvidia is making
the Max-Q design laptops. This technique can be applied to any GPU,
and to a lesser extent even CPU. So in the long run, if you think your graphics
card is running a bit hotter than you would like, then try undervolting. You can achieve so much by just playing around
with how much voltage your GPU receives, and as far as I know, it helps most with the RX
400- and 500-series cards. If you’ve ever tried undervolting your card,
let me know in the comments below – would be interesting to read some cool stories from
the viewers. Also, if you’re planning to buy any hardware
or video games – check my affiliate links in the comment section down below. If you have any other questions or just want
to chat – I’m also on Twitter. In the meantime, I thank you for your attention,
and hope to see you later!

37 Comments

37 Replies to “Undervolting = cooler graphics card, same performance!”

  1. Good Day Mate says:

    Great video! If you can, please help me with this question: I am about to purchase an Alienware 17 R4 with GTX 1060 graphics card, or go with a step below that has a GTX 1050Ti graphics card. I do a lot of graphic design work which is why I need the power. I was considering the step below graphics card (GTX 1050Ti) because is has less power drain and I want the laptop battery to last. Do you think it would be good to just go with this laptop and undervolt, or do you think I can go with the GTX 1060 and undervolt, still get the same performance, but use less power. The TDP (power consumption) of the GTX 1060 is 125W and the GTX 1050TI is 75W. Thanks!

  2. Omar Al-Nassery says:

    Nice video , but for laptops its a different thing as undervolting gpu is locked , maybe Nvidia inspector would do much ? , What you think ?

  3. German Lehmann says:

    Damn man didn't expect to find THUG2 footage in a tech video, despite being old, last time I played it a few years ago the community was still alive and great.

    Great video mate!

  4. Alex Rusu says:

    I tried undervolting by around 30-40 mlv but it had no effect over my temps
    (XfX Rx 470)

  5. TheDonnerGman says:

    Yes I am currently playing around undervolting my msi 1080 gaming x since it was running @ 80c sometimes as high as 84c now after setting the Volt to 940 @ 1911 mhz the max temperature is 75c

  6. Blaž Bohinc says:

    I undervolted my gtx 1070 Strix down to 0.900v while overclocking it to 1975mhz
    It runs at max 65-67C with fans on 30%
    I'm happy with that 🙂

  7. Hojari Verde says:

    I´ve undervolted my gtx 1080 down to 0,875 mv with 1835 Mhz https://imgur.com/UWyjCKO because I am looking for minimum heat and minimum noise, but I am noob in this and I´m not sure if can do it better, please, any advice?

  8. Avendesora says:

    Do these GPU undervolt settings have to be re-loaded every time you start the computer?

  9. HyGate says:

    I really hope you see this but I have an issue with my laptop rn. I have the intel app that enables undervolting/overclock aswell as the Msi afterburner. My laptop is an acer swift 3, intel i5 8250U with nvidia MX150 and these are my issues. I used gta 5 as my way to test everything. So gta 5 runs over 60 fps on everything low and 1080p however after a few minutes my laptop goes to 75 and 80 degrees. In the intel app it appears my cpu is thermal throttling AND power limit throttling and so while gaming every few minutes I get half my fps dropped bc of it. So I tweaked some thing's and then I found something that helps my fps be steady and it was where my laptop has 15 watts and up to 44 watts boost. I changed both till I hit 11 as like the sweet spot so technically I lowered the boost watts and it gives me a stable 72 degrees now, I also overclock the gpu to 1000mhz memory and leave the rest. I was wondering what is the true right thing to do because I dont know if it's my cpu that's making my laptop so throttle or my gpu. This is complicated but maybe you know some about this.

  10. HyGate says:

    I'm writting another paragraph because I found out something really interesting. You are right my cpu is most likely throttling my laptop. I tried to tweak the gpu but it doesn't change anything. I realized my problem but I don't know how to fix it. My cpu is an intel i5 8250u with 1.6hz clock speed turbo up to 3.4hz. Right now it seems like two issues. When I play a game my laptop will go for 3.4 but quickly will get itself clocked down to 1.6 in a matter of minutes and it causes huge stutter when it happens. Right now the only thing I can do is cancel turbo boost but it runs at much lower fps in games but then looses those huge fps drops. When I leave my device as is it goes at really high fps marks but after it gets warm or it's intensive it drops more then half the performance. I found out if my cpu can run at a constant 2.6/2.8hz it's the perfect balance however I have NO IDEA how to do that.

  11. Josh Fetters says:

    Is it safe to undervolt gpu my gtx 1070 founder edition is at 0900v and core clock 1810 and plays find with an temp of 64c max?

  12. Richie B says:

    great video, i start using/experiment with Afterburner to eliminate the coilwhine/buzz. I only cannot get a nice flat line in the graph…last 3 dots still raise above my target. I use an Asus 1080ti strix OC. setting i did is 900mv/1800mhz. the noise and temps are way better but i want the graph line to be flat! any tips?

  13. Alex Park says:

    Im a little late but hopefully i can get an answer. My pc is perfectly capable of running many games on ultra settings but when i do obviously the temps go up to 81c which isnt too fun for me. Shud i get case fans or undervolt. I doubt this matters but in case it does im getting about 200fps

  14. smartwizardst1 says:

    That was a lovely idea. My MSI 7870 OC 2G card came with 1.219V on the core. I left the clocks on stock settings (1050MHz GPU, 1200MHz VRAM) and lowered the voltage to 1.080V while also dragging the power limit slider to -20%. Ingame performance playing World of Tanks and Skyrim Special Edition with maxed settings remained the same while temperatures dropped 11°C under load (from 78 to 67) and as much as 26°C (from 68 to 42) when I'm only browsing and watching youtube.

  15. CandleKern says:

    your skater looks like Adventure time xD

  16. Malagouen Ahmed Ali says:

    if i undervolt to 60 mv how much clock should i encrease i have r9 290 oc

  17. George Markakis says:

    I have the gtx 1050. On games like fortnite, my fps is around 140 on custom settings. The problem is that i get occasional frame drops/stutters. What do you think i should do? Should i undervolt? Thanks a lot! Btw great vid!

  18. Yassine Lahmady says:

    I have gtx560 .is this gpu need to undervolting?

  19. TotallyJerd says:

    Did this on my fury x. Got it down from 1050mhz at 1237mv to 1050 at 1130mv. I have it now set to 1000mhz at 1090mv

  20. Pravèèn says:

    i have a 1080p monitor and a gtx 980 …can i undervolt it to get performance like 970 ?? so that lower temps n tdp

  21. Titanium Waffle says:

    I have been considering building a pc in my car so my power draw can't be higher than 238w undervolting could give me the room for a better GPU like a 1070 or 1080

  22. Samy_06 says:

    Is it safe to undervolt a GPU and let it run at a fixed clock speed all the time but at a much lower voltage ?

  23. Taraquin83 says:

    I have tested this on my Sapphire RX 580 nitro+ 4gb and the results were impressive! At stock speed of 1411MHz I was able to undervolt with -80mv in Afterburner. In superposition I got same fps-score but fan ran several 100rmps lower and average consumption dropped from 158W to 136W. I then tried 1300MHz with -170mv and consumption dropped to 100W and results dropped with 6%. I tried lowering clocks to 1260 and dropping voltage slightly more, but the result was 9% performance hit and power consumption only dropped by 1W.In games the performance hit was smaller:Rise of the tomb raider high preset benchmark: 90fps 1411-stock          average 140W86fps at 1300-160mv   average  97WSo -4% performance for 31% lower power consumption from stock. Card ran much cooler and fan went from noticable to very silent. I have temp-target of 60C.

  24. SIMO says:

    Does it void my warranty on nitro+?

  25. ZOMBORID3R says:

    Undervolted my rx 570 from 1150mV to 1050 and overclocked from 1256mhz to 1350. It looked fine but then my system crashed and now my gpu does not even want to display anything.

  26. Ninda JS says:

    I have 1050Ti, the problem is on fluctuative voltage that make framerate unstable and sometimes drop. How to make it stable while playing game? I want it stay 1-1.05v

  27. Helio says:

    miners undervolt

  28. SheetFiber4488 says:

    my gtx 1060 6gb single fan core clock 1898 mhz, memory clock 4608 mhz, at 0.931 v. temp idle 38-40c gaming & benchmark 76-80c max. it can run stable at 2100mhz with 1.050 v but it will soon start throttling as it reach 83c. need better cooler
    benchmark superposition score
    stock got 8783 temp 83c
    after tuned run several attempts got around 9200-9300 temp 76-80c

  29. saom r says:

    Hi, i buy a nitro + special edition 8gb and crash a lot, black screen with a sound, it is normal? I read about undervolting but i dont know if my video card has a problem or any nitro + has the same problem on my computer

  30. Erik says:

    Hey i have geforce gtx 970 and i5 4460 i have 80c in one game should i undervolt it? Is it too hot

  31. 3d printing tech says:

    Not all cards allow voltage control with afterburner tho

  32. Jeremy says:

    Im planning on undervolting my GTX 750 Ti, since im fairly new to undervolting, do you have any suggestions on what i should undervolt it to?

  33. Sam Jackson says:

    Outstanding video! One thing that I would note however, is that running a game doesn't necessarily fully max out your GPU. Most people recommend online using a burn-in/stress testing utility such as FurMark (https://geeks3d.com/furmark) in order to get the best stress test that will fully utilize your card.

    Otherwise you did a great job explaining things, and I was overall very satisfied with the results that this yielded on my RX 570.

  34. TRIGGER says:

    Thanks for telling us about ctrl+F and ctrl and oh forgot that one.
    Worked a treat on my gtx1080 founders edition -4.c with 80%fan and didn't have to go crazy low volts.
    I only change the Higher clock speeds voltages any thing over 1700mhz and capping the clocks at 1920mhz. Don't think I lowered more than around 35mv and 4.c lower crazy. Thanks

  35. TRIGGER says:

    And 49 dislike from dumb arses that have no clue what a bunch of idiots that's why I removed my videos on how to get old games running on Windows 10 f them retards.

  36. asakura yoh says:

    my rx 570 gaming x used to hit 80-83c in furmark after 1min and after i undervolt it from 1150 to 980 i got a 69-72c and more core clock stable .. dont ask me how but am serios XD

  37. Crimthan says:

    undervolted my rx 570. went from 76 degrees at full load down to 66 degrees. .

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