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GTX 970 HOF Overcloking via BIOS Tweaking

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hypnostick

Registered
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Hi dude,

I just got my GTX 970 HOF two month ago and now I'm trying to overclock it at its maximum power on air cooling. First of all, I started by trying to find its maximum core clock without any bios tweaking, I was able to reach 1480Mhz after that I started seeing artefacts. So I decided to increase its TDP by bios tweaking it, so I found this bios https://mega.nz/#!Z1JSVaZB!5Oz2_DGOE70qCcq2qGxRHxwSHhoseuxSccknw98nzGw. The guy said that he basically just increased the TDP. So i did the same on my own bios but I also increased the maximum voltage to 1.81V. After that, I'm now able to reach 1501Mhz. But i'm a bit disappointed when I bought this card I thought I will be super efficient in terms of overcloking. So, I need your help, did someone know what i'm missing in the bios or what I should do in order to go higher ?

Thank you in advance :D
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
When you say 1480Mhz, is that ACTUAL boost or what GPUz says?

1.81V, I assume is a typo...? On air, that would kill your GPU pretty quick.

As far as the limit on this architecture/card, about 1475-1525Mhz is sweet spot. Above 1525 MHz, you hit the silicon lottery, below 1475 MHz, you lost it. Be it a HOF, Classified, Lightning, Extreme, or reference models, they all generally top out right around the same clockspeed. The key to these cards is keeping them cool, and this means water or greater... even on water the potential clock increases don't amount to being 'worth it' (to me).

What BIOS did you find? You linked us where to DL it, but, that doesn't give us any information about it...
 

Vellinious

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Location
Central US
Hi dude,

I just got my GTX 970 HOF two month ago and now I'm trying to overclock it at its maximum power on air cooling. First of all, I started by trying to find its maximum core clock without any bios tweaking, I was able to reach 1480Mhz after that I started seeing artefacts. So I decided to increase its TDP by bios tweaking it, so I found this bios https://mega.nz/#!Z1JSVaZB!5Oz2_DGOE70qCcq2qGxRHxwSHhoseuxSccknw98nzGw. The guy said that he basically just increased the TDP. So i did the same on my own bios but I also increased the maximum voltage to 1.81V. After that, I'm now able to reach 1501Mhz. But i'm a bit disappointed when I bought this card I thought I will be super efficient in terms of overcloking. So, I need your help, did someone know what i'm missing in the bios or what I should do in order to go higher ?

Thank you in advance :D

I'm assuming you mean 1.31v? I'm not 100% certain, but the HOF may be voltage locked without the voltage tool. Use GPUz on the sensors tab to view what the GPU is actually running at. If I'm right, it'll read 1.212v. If not, it'll read 1.275v (max GPUz will read on Maxwell).

The TDP in the bios doesn't really do anything...raising it keeps you from going over the prescribed TDP limit, but....the card won't actually throttle because of it, more....limit it.... You will, however, want to raise the POWER LIMIT, which is a different table on the same tab.

This is the table for the TDP. I've found that just about every 970 I've helped to set up, can pull around 300 watts Power Limit. I suggest setting the TDP to 380.

OlJ76Lz.png


This is the table for the Power Limits and the power connectors. For 8 pins, we usually run them at 175 watts for max, and 150 on the 6 pins. For the power limit, I usually just set the TDP as what I use for a power limit. In my case, and any bios I made, it was 380.

BA43ans.png



Anyway....here's a fully fleshed out bios, for a full coverage block on an EVGA card. It's a good example of how to set it up.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6zqzZ0qTCB5Z1ByZllqSUxjb2s


****Last thing to note, and this is VERY imporant: For air cooling, you'll want to keep the voltage as low as possible....see what it'll boost to at 1.212, then 1.256, then 1.262, etc, make small, incremental changes in it. The reason is this: Maxwell will boost HIGHER when COOLER. So, on air cooling, raising the voltage, which will increase temps, could impact your peak boost clock in a negative way.

If you need any help with your bios, let me know.
 
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hypnostick

Registered
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Thank you for your quick answers, of course 1.81V was an error I meant 1.281V. I took some screenshots with red and green rectangles on it, the red ones show things that I changes and the green ones show things that I want to change but I don't know how to find the correct values. Also, I read somewhere that boost 2.0 can be a bad thing but I also read that it is not something we should care about, what is your point of view ?

NB : I had to add my pictures from an external hoster as the one includes here didn't work sorry about that ! :-/

1st page :
http://hpics.li/f845cce

2nd page :
http://hpics.li/73ca118

3rd page :
http://hpics.li/4f87b7d
http://hpics.li/5baf1e6

4th page :
http://hpics.li/a90d989

5th page :
http://hpics.li/e119a51

6th page :
http://hpics.li/9749ca9

EDIT : My 970 HOF has 2 * 8 pins pci-e plug on it
 

Vellinious

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Location
Central US
1st page - Custom fan curve and temp target. That's the temp the card will "throttle" at. Won't matter though, if you're trying to overclock it very high, because the heat it's running will cause it to lose potential anyway, and clock lower. Keep it cool, it'll boost higher.

2nd page - That's the voltage tables. You have the top 3 sliders set right to run the voltage you're wanting, but......as I said before, that voltage is likely to cause more heat. With more heat, it won't boost as high as it might with a lower voltage that will allow it to run cooler....to dial in Maxwell, you should try the lower voltages first and log your results. Many times, higher voltages won't offer any extra clocks / stability, and in fact, in most cases, especially with air cooling, will lower the peak clocks.

For instance: My cards would peak out on air at 1550 and be running around 75c under load. Under water, with the same settings in the bios, they'd run up to about 1610, and have the core running about 35c. Lowering the ambient in the room to 10c, and the GPUs running 25c under load, had the peak clocks at about 1640, depending on the application...stability, etc. Those ambient temps allowed my good single card to hit 1671 on occasion for various benches.

In other words...keep it cool, keep it happy.

3rd page - Top table is TDP. It looks fine. The 3rd one down is the PCIe slot power. You can bump that to 82000 / 82000 (82 watts) if you wish, to give yourself some more headroom...though, with 2 x 8 pins, it's really not required.
The two tables with 15000 (150 watts) and 162000 (162 watts) are your 8 pin connectors. You can run them at those and it should be fine. But if you need more power limit, you can run the 8 pins up to 175000 (175 watts) peak. The one with 300 / 375 is the power limit. That actually looks pretty good as well. You'll have to do some testing to see if you need to raise it any further. I would guess it's probably ok there.

Use Graphics test 1 and 2 with Firestrike Ultra, in conjunction with the sensors tab in GPUz to diagnose the clocks. The "Perf Cap Reason" line will tell you if you need to change it at all. It'll show green, "PWR", if you need some additional space in the power limit table.

4th page - change nothing here

5th page - change nothing here

6th page - change nothing here

If you're pushing your cards, and going to use the bios for the overclocks, instead of software, setting the 3D base clock and the Boost Clock on the first page to your peak stable overclock will do what you're looking for. Though, as I've stated numerous times....heat will lower the peak clock that your card will run stable at, so you'll want a "safe" clock to use there, and then use software for further overclocking. As you can see in the bios I linked above, I had mine set to 1531 for daily clocks, and then would add a little more in software for benchmarking runs.
 
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hypnostick

Registered
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
So Yesterday, I did some tests based on your information. So I used the voltage tools from Galax in order to see the real Voltage and to modify it. I was able to reach 1517Mhz with only 1.20V. I did a new bios but I didn't test it. Can you take a look at it, and tell me if it looks good for you ? Basically what I increased a bit the temp target to 83°, I rescale all voltage to 1.212.5V including the complete table CLK 0 - 74 and the FAN table, I changed a bit the Power Table and I pushed the boost table to 1531Mhz as CLK 74 and finally I put 1531Mhz in P0 and P2 profile in the boost states tab. Here are some screenshots :

1st page :
http://hpics.li/852fcf6

2nd page :
http://hpics.li/f367fef
http://hpics.li/60a08cd

3nd page :
http://hpics.li/8a902b8
http://hpics.li/80520a8

4th page :
http://hpics.li/b343fc7

5th page :
http://hpics.li/d5dba3b

Thanks ! :D
 
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hypnostick

Registered
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
I tried but everytime I got this little red alert circle next to the file name. I think It can be my firm proxy. Sorry about that.
 

Vellinious

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Location
Central US
So Yesterday, I did some tests based on your information. So I used the voltage tools from Galax in order to see the real Voltage and to modify it. I was able to reach 1517Mhz with only 1.20V. I did a new bios but I didn't test it. Can you take a look at it, and tell me if it looks good for you ? Basically what I increased a bit the temp target to 83°, I rescale all voltage to 1.212.5V including the complete table CLK 0 - 74 and the FAN table, I changed a bit the Power Table and I pushed the boost table to 1531Mhz as CLK 74 and finally I put 1531Mhz in P0 and P2 profile in the boost states tab. Here are some screenshots :

1st page :
http://hpics.li/852fcf6

2nd page :
http://hpics.li/f367fef
http://hpics.li/60a08cd

3nd page :
http://hpics.li/8a902b8
http://hpics.li/80520a8

4th page :
http://hpics.li/b343fc7

5th page :
http://hpics.li/d5dba3b

Thanks ! :D

1st Page - I would make the 3D base clock the same as the boost clock. As for the fan profile, I it looks ok to me, but, I never really did anything with those. I water cool, and most of the people I helped with theirs set a custom fan curve in the software.

2nd Page - Things look good here. I usually try to scale the voltage a little more for the clock states, but it takes a LOT of patience and a LOT of time to get them right. This will work though, if you're not seeing any throttling due to power limits.

3rd Page - I'd never gone over 175 on the 8 pins. I'm not sure they'll pull 184 each..... /shrug

4th page - This looks right

5th page - This looks right
 
OP
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hypnostick

Registered
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Thanks ! I set the 8 pins back to 175 just to be sure and I think It should be enought ! Will keep you in touch tomorow, I will test all of this tonight !
 
OP
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hypnostick

Registered
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Hi ! So I'm doing some test right now, and I can't handle 1531Mhz artefacts show up, I don't know why and it's worst if I increase the voltage, do you know why ? So for now, I will stay at 1519Mhz, here comes my second issue, I set the entire voltage table to 1206.3mV max, but when i'm benching voltage goes to nearly 1.24V and it "creates" artefacts but if I set voltage to 1.20V manually with the same clock artefacts are gone. So do you why the voltage is going up despite the fast that its maximum is set to 1206.3mV in the bios ?

Edit : Last question, is it worth it to overclock the memory, I'm able to go to 4001Mhz ?
 
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Vellinious

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Location
Central US
Hi ! So I'm doing some test right now, and I can't handle 1531Mhz artefacts show up, I don't know why and it's worst if I increase the voltage, do you know why ? So for now, I will stay at 1519Mhz, here comes my second issue, I set the entire voltage table to 1206.3mV max, but when i'm benching voltage goes to nearly 1.24V and it "creates" artefacts but if I set voltage to 1.20V manually with the same clock artefacts are gone. So do you why the voltage is going up despite the fast that its maximum is set to 1206.3mV in the bios ?

Edit : Last question, is it worth it to overclock the memory, I'm able to go to 4001Mhz ?

It probably needs a little more voltage to run that clock, but the core is running hot enough that it creates an instability with that clock / voltage setting. Either run the fans at a higher RPM, or reduce clock speed to compensate.

What's reading the voltage at 1.24? GPUz? Your overclocking software?

Can you send me a copy of the bios you're using with the voltage settings at 1.206v? The lowest I'd go, even on air, is 1.212v.
 
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hypnostick

Registered
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Hi,

here is my current bios :
View attachment GTX_970_HOF_04212016.zip

I'm using this voltage tool from Galax in order to read and modify directly voltage, it is the only that works. I spend nearly a complete hour yesterday trying to get it stable at 1531Mhz, but it can't I don't understand why, temperature is pretty good since I changed the thermal paste ( max 63°, with FAN speed at 60% ), the fact is at this clock artefacts show up sometimes an d sometimes not during heaven 4.0 becnhmark so I'm a bit disapointed, I can't understand why it can't fo further.

Edit: Also PerfCap Reason from GPU-z is saying PWR during my test. And a final question, do you think lowering my memory clock will help me get the clock speed higher, I saw someone talking about during my researches ?
 
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Vellinious

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Location
Central US
Hi,

here is my current bios :
View attachment 178326

I'm using this voltage tool from Galax in order to read and modify directly voltage, it is the only that works. I spend nearly a complete hour yesterday trying to get it stable at 1531Mhz, but it can't I don't understand why, temperature is pretty good since I changed the thermal paste ( max 63°, with FAN speed at 60% ), the fact is at this clock artefacts show up sometimes an d sometimes not during heaven 4.0 becnhmark so I'm a bit disapointed, I can't understand why it can't fo further.

Edit: Also PerfCap Reason from GPU-z is saying PWR during my test. And a final question, do you think lowering my memory clock will help me get the clock speed higher, I saw someone talking about during my researches ?

Temps on Maxwell are relative. The warmer they get, the lower they'll boost. 1500 on the core is nothing to sneeze at though, especially on air. That's pretty good. At the voltages you're running, to sustain those clocks, if you were to put it under water, you'd very likely be able to see 1600 on the core, probably higher.

PWR is a big problem on the 970 series cards. It takes a lot of toying with the 8 pins / PCIe slot power and power limit settings to get it to go away. Took me a month of testing to get my 970 FTWs to finally stop.

The Power Limit Perf Cap could be another reason you're not seeing the clocks you're wanting, btw. When it shows up in your GPUz Perf Cap Reason line, the core will throttle down to get the card back under the perf cap. You have some room to bump those up a bit. 175 from each 8 pin and 82 from the PCI slot....You could go as high as 430 watts on the power limit table, to see if that eliminates the power limit throttle. I have seen cards though, that no matter what settings you use, they're throttling. There's a cap on that power limit somewhere....each manufacturer is a little bit different.

Keep tweaking those settings, and see if you can get rid of the PWR perf cap. That should be your top priority, and THEN, worry about trying to increase core clocks.
 

Vellinious

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Location
Central US
Ok thanks for your answer ! Based on your reply I did this kind of hardcore TDP bios lol ! Can you take a look at it ?

View attachment 178330

And for sure I will have to pay you a beer when I will come in the US ! :thup:

During my testing in the bios, I noticed that my GPUs responded better when I kept the %'s on the 8 pins / PCIe slot less than the % on the Power Limit.

For instance, you have:

8 pins
168 at 100%
187 at 111%

Power Limit
375 at 100%
400 at 107%

I would suggest raising the power limit max to 425, to get that bottom power limit % over 111%.

Now....that's just what I noticed in MY testing on MY bios versions, but....it always worked, so....
 
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hypnostick

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Apr 15, 2016
I did everything but I can't be stable at those clocks :( so basically what I set the clock to 1493Mhz and the memory to 3805. Here is my bios :

View attachment GTX_970_HOF_04222016.zip

I still have a voltage issue, I set it to 1.218V directly in the bios but it still goes to 1.24V during my tests do you know why ?
 

Vellinious

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Location
Central US
I did everything but I can't be stable at those clocks :( so basically what I set the clock to 1493Mhz and the memory to 3805. Here is my bios :

View attachment 178408

I still have a voltage issue, I set it to 1.218V directly in the bios but it still goes to 1.24V during my tests do you know why ?

Could just be an effect of the LLC. I'd never seen it myself, but, it may be different on the HOF card because of the way you actually mod the voltage using the voltage tool, instead of the bios.
 
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hypnostick

Registered
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Apr 15, 2016
Could just be an effect of the LLC. I'd never seen it myself, but, it may be different on the HOF card because of the way you actually mod the voltage using the voltage tool, instead of the bios.

The fact is I did modify the bios voltage as you can see in my previos post... So why isn't it blocked at 1.21V... Did I do something wrong in the bios ?
 

Vellinious

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Location
Central US
The fact is I did modify the bios voltage as you can see in my previos post... So why isn't it blocked at 1.21V... Did I do something wrong in the bios ?

No. Some of the cards, like the HOF, the Classy, Matrix, KPE, etc, won't allow any voltage changes in the bios. They only allow voltage changes through the "voltage tools". Changing it in the bios, doesn't do anything on the Classy / KPE either. Never played with either one, so, to be completely honest, I'm not sure what they are.....a modified version of GPU Tweak or something, possibly. The next card i get will be a Classy, so....I'll find out. lol