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What exactly causes instability in GPUs?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I understand that after a certain point of OCing, GPUs become unstable. But why exactly is this? The reason I'm asking is because my GPU personally never goes above 76C (which is OK for temps), but my card becomes unstable after a minor OC is added. Now, I'm not complaining or anything, I just want to know exactly what it is that causes instability.

I hear about people getting more performance from water cooling (and ln2, DICE, etc), and that leads me to believe that it's temperatures that cause instability, but I know it's not that simple.

I am considering putting the PC under water, but I am mainly concerned about my GPU peformance. I'm wondering if a GPU water block will actually help stability, and why or why not?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 9
You need to increase your voltage. Under water people usually flash the bios to some insane voltage which would overheat the card under normal cooling.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wulfgar View Post
You need to increase your voltage. Under water people usually flash the bios to some insane voltage which would overheat the card under normal cooling.
Thing is, I've done this. my card is running at 1.037 vcore and 980/1960, but even at 1.12, I can't gain stability at 990/1980. Doesn't make much sense to me.
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post #4 of 9
Because, simply put, there are inherent design limits of integrated circuits, and when you overclock or overvolt, you hit those limits.

artifacts and other visual problems are the end result of the transistors unable to process the instruction set.
    
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSIalex View Post
Because, simply put, there are inherent design limits of integrated circuits, and when you overclock or overvolt, you hit those limits.

artifacts and other visual problems are the end result of the transistors unable to process the instruction set.
With that said, would putting the GPU under water improve performance at all? Or are you saying that the card simply can't process everything quickly enough no matter what I do?
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post #6 of 9
The only thing water or LN2 or any non-air cooling does is remove more heat, so you can maintain a certain thermal stability at higher voltages. So you can overclock more.

But if you're hitting a wall at 980 then that's about as high as you can go if your temps aren't maxed out.
    
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSIalex View Post
The only thing water or LN2 or any non-air cooling does is remove more heat, so you can maintain a certain thermal stability at higher voltages. So you can overclock more.

But if you're hitting a wall at 980 then that's about as high as you can go if your temps aren't maxed out.
That's exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSIalex View Post
The only thing water or LN2 or any non-air cooling does is remove more heat, so you can maintain a certain thermal stability at higher voltages. So you can overclock more.

But if you're hitting a wall at 980 then that's about as high as you can go if your temps aren't maxed out.
Ditto, I went from 900 to 1020!
 
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post #9 of 9
It's the result of the chip's own design limits, and the luck of the draw. You may get a chip that was manufactured that does extremely well overclocking, and then the next guy with another chip, exactly the same specifications, will be terrible at overclocking. It depends on where the chips are cut from on the wafer, and imperfections etc. It's really based on the design of the chips' circuitry, and it's own limits with some other minor factors.
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