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Overclocking GTX 970

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Arthur_Dayne

New Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2016
Hey everyone,

New guy here, don't shoot me if this wasn't the right place for this thread!

I've been playing around with my MSI GTX 970 Black/White OC to try and squeeze some extra performance out of it. I'd like to know what other people are getting, in terms of core clock speed? Has to be stable, of course.

My "normal" profile in MSI Afterburner is:
Power limit - 100% (default)
Temp limit - 79degC (default)
Core clock - ~1420MHz
Mem clock - ~3620MHz
Fan speed - 100% (noise levels aren't an issue for me)

Now I've been messing around, benchmarking with Unigine Heaven with my "heavy OC" profile. The highest I've gotten while maintaining stability is:
Power limit - 110% (max)
Temp limit - 75degC
Core clock - ~1515MHz
Mem clock - ~3705MHz
Fan speed - 100%

So here are the reults (max settings, 1080p, i5 6600k @ 4.4GHz):
Stock settings reference - 53.8FPS, 1356 score, 27.3minFPS
"Normal" profile - 57.9FPS, 1458 score, 28.0minFPS
"Heavy OC" profile - 60.6FPS, 1525 score, 29.5minFPS

So! I'm really interested in knowing what the rest of you guys are achieving.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
All of these cards are topping out around that same point. Your card is normal. :)

Are you certain you are not through? Look in msi ab to make sure you are not hitting the power limit.
 
OP
A

Arthur_Dayne

New Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2016
All of these cards are topping out around that same point. Your card is normal. :)

That's good to know.

Are you certain you are not through? Look in msi ab to make sure you are not hitting the power limit.

The highest I saw the power% go to while running Heaven was 108%, so I'm not, but there was lots of stability issues if I tried going any higher than +200 on the core clock. I'd run the benchmark and after ~40 seconds the screen would go temporarily black, fans would and settings would go back to default and then the screen went back to normal. I could try running again at +210/+220 but I don't want to risk damaging my card.
 

SPL Tech

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
You should be able to get way more OC on the mem. I was getting +600 at first, and I ended up settling with +450 on the memory. Also, crank both the power limit and temp limit all the way to the max or else it will throttle your card once it gets hot. It maxes out at +93c I think, which you'll never hit with 100% fan anyway.
 

Vellinious

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Location
Central US
I wrote this up to help some guys in a facebook group. Temps, and the power limit perf cap are the primary things that will hold back your 970 overclock.

Off the hip guide:

Move the power target slider all the way up, put +100 on the core, and +300 on the memory. Test using FS graphics test 1 and 2. Make small incremental adjustments, and as long as temps are good (below 70c), go ahead and try adding a little voltage. There's nothing at all in the stock bios that will allow you to harm your card in any way, shape or form. The voltage is locked in the bios (most of the 970s, there are exceptions...the STRIX and HOF cards some to mind immediately) to max out at 1.262v. You'll likely see a max of 1.256v. So, as long as your temps are good, you can increase voltage and it may help to keep that next step stable. But again, and I can't emphasize this enough. Watch.your.temps.

Also...download GPUz and open the sensors tab. This is absolutely necessary for overclocking with NVIDIA. Pay particular attention to the Perfcap Reason line. It'll tell you everything you need to know, to overclock your GPU. Green is your enemy....that means you're hitting the power limit. Put your cursor over it, and it'll reveal PWR. Your GPU is throttling, because it's hit the prescribed power limit in the bios. Testing with benchmarking utilities aren't likely to give you "game stable" overclocks, as each game is a little bit different, and each driver version even more different, but they'll give a basic understanding of how to fine tune your clocks for the best performance, so you can do it for the games you want to play. There are ways around the power limit perf cap, but only bother with them if you absolutely have to.

EDIT: Keep your temps under 80c. OBVIOUSLY, the lower the temps, the better. Maxwell LOVES to run cool, so the cooler it is, the more stable it'll be and the higher it'll clock. Start reaching temps above 70c, and there's a very good chance you can kiss 1600 goodbye.