As I mentioned before overclocking the GTX 680 is a whole new ball game. Nvidia’s new GPU boost itself means when you’re overclocking your trying to hit a moving target. That is because even before overclocking it really depends how you are putting a load on the card as to how high your clock speed will be. Then on top of that you have a couple different ways to work on your overclock now in EVGA’s precision that are nothing like what we have seen in the past. Let’s quickly go over them so you can understand what we are working with.
You have seven different variables you can adjust, precision X has laid them all out in an easy to use way. The first three and the most important are right in the middle (Power Target, GPU Clock Offset, and Mem Clock Offset). Then to the right you have fan speed and also fan curve. On the left side there is a button for adjust voltage that brings up EV Tune. Last you have Frame Rate Target.
Thre first three are what you will use the most. Setting Power Target will adjust the amount of power the card will push to use when using GPU boost. The stock TDP is 195 Watts, adjusting up or down is similar to playing with the turbo on an Intel CPU but without the ability to set a specific MHz. GPU Clock Offest and Mem Clock Offset are very similar so we will group them together. This is where you can turn up your base clock speeds. This may be a little confusing to some because this isn’t actually setting your total overclock. You have to combine both your power target and your GPU/Mem offsets to get your overclock. This is because no matter how far you turn up your overclock the card won’t let you use more than the power target, in this case 195 watts.
The fan adjustments are fairly simple. You can crank the fan speed up to whatever you would like or turn on auto. With auto set you have the ability to jump in and adjust your fan curve meaning you can make the card quiet until it needs the cooling.
Adjust Voltage is exactly as the name describes. You can adjust the VGPU voltage up or down in a short range. It’s nice to see this packaged in with precision making overclocking even that much easier.
The last option is Frame Rate Target, this one may be a little confusing to some. Basically you are setting you’re in game FPS goal and the card will overclock (slightly) to reach this goal. When your performance is more than enough it will actually turn the card down to keep heat, noise, and power usage down. This may seem like crazy talk to some who would want the performance ALL of the time. But this is a very efficient way to do things. The overclock is adjusted every 100ms depending on what you need and what the card can handle at that moment.
So now that you know what we are working with how did the GTX 680 do? Once you get past all of the new ways to overclock it was actually very easy. I was able to see a clock speed of 1346 Mhz when running 3dmark 11 performance but when going back and looking at the logs the card was pulling back on the clocks, even with the fan turned up to its max setting of 80%. Adjusting our settings down slighting to 1316 yielded a consistent speed without the card having to intervene. This is of course all with the stock reference heatsink. I’m really excited to see what everyone will be able to with more exotic cooling solutions!