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General questions about GPU overclocking (GTX 960)

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haoleflip719

Registered
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Hello all. I am a little new to overclocking and I have been doing a lot of research before actually diving in and doing it, because I obviously don't want to mess up my new card. I just have a couple of basic questions that I hope some of you can answer for me. I have been seeing a lot of conflicting information and it is confusing me.

1. I have been watching different videos and guides where some people say that they don't mess with the Memory Clock because it is "too dangerous" or something, and to only set the Core Clock. However, I have seen other videos where people do recommend setting the Memory Clock as well as the Core Clock. Which advice should I take? What is the difference between setting the Memory Clock and not setting it? And when overclocking, should I set the core clock and test the stability of the core clock first before touching the memory clock? I can't seem to find a solid guide on how to OC this specific card....

2. I have found a couple of topics online that show other people's OC results with the same card, but when I try to mimic their settings, I can't seem to get anywhere near that high of settings. For example, I followed this guide here and tested the stability using Unigine Valley, but I can only get it to like +40mhz core clock before I start seeing artifacts and sometimes my video card will completely shut off then come back on again during testing with a message that says something about the display driver failing then starting back up again? If I can only get that high with the core clock, I'm afraid to even touch the Memory clock.

3. I am following the basic guide on this website and it says to start off by putting your voltage to the max settings. Other guides tell me that setting your voltage too high will mess up your card. Which is it?

Basically, I just want to be able to overclock this card to a stable setting without messing anything up, but I also want to be able to reach higher settings because if others are doing it with the same card, shouldn't I be able to?

Specs:
GTX 960 SSC 4GB
AMD FX-4100
16GB RAM
500W Cooler Master power supply
Asus M5A97 evo mobo
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
1. That's hooey that it is dangerous. Memory overclocking on GPUs help, just not as much as the core does. Typically you do both, but there isn't a problem if you only overclock the core and leave the memory alone. Memory bandwidth really isn't an issue until the higher resolutions (think 2560x1440+).

2. It is a silicon lottery my friend. Not every card overclocks the same. Did you raise the power target to the limit? Try adding voltage? Cards these days really are protected by that power limit.

3. See #2.

The name of the game with your generation of card is this:

1. Raise power limit to the max.
2. Slowly increase clocks until Valley or Heaven freeze/show artifacts. You can then...
2a. Add voltage... say 25mv... then try to raise the core up more...
3. Keep an eye on the power limit in MSI afterburner graph... when you hit the limit, the clockspeed will throttle back.
4. You cannot touch the memory voltage likely so just raise it until you see artifacts and then back it down 25/50 MHz. Keep an eye on the power limit too as raising these clocks will raise power use as well.
 
OP
haoleflip719

haoleflip719

Registered
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
1. That's hooey that it is dangerous. Memory overclocking on GPUs help, just not as much as the core does. Typically you do both, but there isn't a problem if you only overclock the core and leave the memory alone. Memory bandwidth really isn't an issue until the higher resolutions (think 2560x1440+).

2. It is a silicon lottery my friend. Not every card overclocks the same. Did you raise the power target to the limit? Try adding voltage? Cards these days really are protected by that power limit.

3. See #2.

The name of the game with your generation of card is this:

1. Raise power limit to the max.
2. Slowly increase clocks until Valley or Heaven freeze/show artifacts. You can then...
2a. Add voltage... say 25mv... then try to raise the core up more...
3. Keep an eye on the power limit in MSI afterburner graph... when you hit the limit, the clockspeed will throttle back.
4. You cannot touch the memory voltage likely so just raise it until you see artifacts and then back it down 25/50 MHz. Keep an eye on the power limit too as raising these clocks will raise power use as well.

Thank you for your reply. Another thing I am confused about is that I've been reading guides all over with people getting their GTX 960 SSC 4GB overclocked to 1550mhz-1620mhz, but I can barely get mine to 1500 mhz without crashing. When the Core Clock is set to +70mhz, it makes it through the entire benchmark flawlessly with no issues. Now when I try to up it to +80mhz (only 10mhz more) my card will crash to a black screen within seconds and it does this every time. I am watching temps and power and neither are above average. Temps sitting at 50-55C and Power only hovering around 60% before the card crashes. How come the card won't allow another +10mhz increase on the Core Clock if the power and temp settings aren't reaching max or anywhere close to it?
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
You have to add voltage.

As the card clocks faster, it draws nor current. There are losses that cause the voltage to drop. You offset this bad adding more voltage.

Follow Ed's guide! :thup;


 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Thank you for your reply. Another thing I am confused about is that I've been reading guides all over with people getting their GTX 960 SSC 4GB overclocked to 1550mhz-1620mhz, but I can barely get mine to 1500 mhz without crashing. When the Core Clock is set to +70mhz, it makes it through the entire benchmark flawlessly with no issues. Now when I try to up it to +80mhz (only 10mhz more) my card will crash to a black screen within seconds and it does this every time. I am watching temps and power and neither are above average. Temps sitting at 50-55C and Power only hovering around 60% before the card crashes. How come the card won't allow another +10mhz increase on the Core Clock if the power and temp settings aren't reaching max or anywhere close to it?
Again.. silicon lottery.. every GPU is different regarding its potential overclock speeds. Did you try to raise voltage and push on??

It can't handle 10Mhz more because its at the end of its potential for the voltage its on.
 
OP
haoleflip719

haoleflip719

Registered
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Again.. silicon lottery.. every GPU is different regarding its potential overclock speeds. Did you try to raise voltage and push on??

It can't handle 10Mhz more because its at the end of its potential for the voltage its on.

I get you now. Thank you for taking the time to help me. I am going to try to up the voltage and see what happens, but I guess 1500mhz is the most I'll probably get out of this one. As for the silicon lottery thing, I am reading up on it now, but I don't understand it fully. Seems there are certain factory cards that arejust better than others straight out of the box. This is based off of ASIC or ASCI or something? But anyway, yeah, I'll try the voltage.
 

wingman99

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
I don't like the lottery definition because that is about winning. What you have is all the graphic cards look the same on the outside however on the inside of GPU they are all different that you can't see you only can measure with overclocking. That is why they call it overclocking.
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Actually higher voltage isn't really required. These cards like low temps and higher power limit ( higher than card could ever use ). Low temps mean that above 70*C GTX900 are already overheating - when you set much higher frequency then you have to stabilize it in some way. Lowering temps by ~30*C let you set ~100MHz higher clock without voltage adjustments.
Most of GTX960 have the same max voltage and in most cases it's locked above 1.27V so regardless what you see on the screen, it will probably run at the same max voltage. All you can do in soft is +50-70mV ( depends from card ). Voltage itself may or may not stabilize clock what also depends from card.

The best effects in case of my card made modified BIOS. Every card is different ( ASIC etc ) so downloading BIOS from the web isn't the best idea. Sometimes it will work or will cause instability. Best is to make it yourself but you need some knowledge and some time to perform various tests.

My GTX960 ITX from Gigabyte ( so the lowest GTX960 you can get ) after BIOS change and on water cooling passed 1700MHz in benchmarks and it's not the highest ASIC card. It also has only single 6 pin power connector.
In most cases full stability can be achieved at 1550-1600MHz. If anyone is showing results above 1650MHz then it doesn't mean it's stable. As I said I can make my card pass 1700MHz in benchmarks but it wasn't stable above 1650MHz and I'm not even using it overclocked now.
Difference in games before and after overclocking is quite low just because these cards have already high base frequency.