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eVGA GTX 680 SLI has arrived... my overclocking & review!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
goldentigergtx680sli.jpg

I got my GTX 680 SLI in today (eVGA) and in BF3 @ 1215mhz core/6760mhz memory, I am seeing typical allocation on full Ultra (including 4x MSAA of course) of around 1900mb, with peak of around 1970 on Back to Karkand maps. This is on a 2560x1600 resolution (Dell 3007WFP-HC) S-IPS 30" monitor. Framerates never dipped below 65 except for extreme amounts of explosions right on top of me which occasionally got me to 45 for a second or two literally. Most of the time it was running at 80-85+ FPS.

It is looking like my peak OC for my SLI pair is going to be around this (1215mhz on the core and 6760mhz on the memory (possibly more on the memory, I haven't tried higher yet but have stability tested these speeds with heaven + bf3 64-player multiplayer through a couple of map changes, as well as a previous 30-minute session on a high-ticket server)). I tried higher offsets but they are causing crashes on the core if I try 20mhz higher, after several minutes despite the cards staying cool.

I'm not disappointed at all... these things are incredibly fast, and this was one of the simplest overclocks I've ever done. I can't really complain with a ~10% bump in SLI. Cores stay almost full-time at 1215, sometimes stepping to 1202 (1/4 of the time) and 1189 (rarely and briefly), temperatures are low, and the fan speeds I've lowered some to make the cards essentially silent. The delta in temperatures between the top/bottom cards is 2-3c at most, now that I added in a side-panel fan on my Fractal Design R3 Define case (it has noise-reducing foam stock), and only requires around 60% speed give or take 5, to keep the GPU boost pegged and temperatures in check at 71-72c peak, 65-68c typical.

I do think non-reference cards with user-raisable voltage caps are going to clock a noticeable amount better, but I can't picture more than another 10% over what most will get with reference (1200-1250mhz core, occasionally 1280-1300 I've seen). I don't see it being worth the extra cash (they're always more than reference) and a couple of months' wait.

To touch on the VRAM thing again, since that's going to be a popular topic for non-reference cards... the major thing people never remember is Afterburner and other programs CANNOT TRACK USAGE, just allocation. Games do NOT always free up memory that they are done with but rather just allocate more to whatever's in the scene then. Unless a game sees that it's almost out of VRAM it typically is not going to manage its memory well, since there's no need to. Thus it is pretty tough to really nail down what is actually needed until it starts hitting 1-3fps and thrashing, with a small buffer before where it just hurts performance and causes some hitching.
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post #2 of 18
Nice info man, mine should be here by the weekend. Excited to enjoy gaming again. I really liked the amount of RAM on my 7970's but they are just too much of a hassle to run.
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post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
OK, I ran 3dmark11 on Extreme preset (X) as I had on my not-game-stable-but-able-to-pass-benches, loud-as-heck Radeon 7970 that I had owned previously... the result surprised me since I kept reading on the forums about how oc-to-oc they were the same...

Radeon 7970 @ 1240mhz core, 6620mhz memory: (single-card, x16 PCI-E 2.0):
radeon7970goldentiger.jpg

VERSUS

GTX 680 @ +100 offset for 1215mhz core, 6760mhz memory (low/quiet fan curve, fully game-stable, x8 PCI-E 2.0 as test was run with SLI disabled but 2nd card in rig)
gtx6801215core3dm11x355.png

So, that puts to rest the "which one is faster oc'd" thing in my rig pretty soundly. The GTX 680 is fully game-stable including hour+ of BF3 straight and bench-stable, while the 7970 was only bench-stable and would artifact in some games (SWTOR), crash in others (BF3 after playing 30+ mins).

I'll run an SLI enabled go in a moment.
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post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Here's SLI enabled:

gtx6801215core3dm11x667.png
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post #5 of 18
What were your fanspeeds and temps during the runs?
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post #6 of 18
I am hoping my local shop in japan has one on the back shelf I can buy. Sold one of my old PC's today for $600 USD so I hope I can locate one around here..haha
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Fan curve was set up to never go above 72% on the GTX 680. The overlay does not work during 3dmark runs, but I'd assume temperatures similar to my BF3 gameplay (Temps during BF3 have not been topping 72c after playing for an hour straight.). Fan speed seemed to go to (guesstimate) 64% since it became audible instead of blending into silence like it does below that, however it did not ramp up to high enough to become notable (70%).

The 7970 at the time was set to a louder noise level than the GTX 680, running at ~55-59% speed (I didn't note down the speed at the time, I do remember it was a little below 60).


I got asked on another forum how you OC with Precision X on the GTX 680's, so I wrote back this... figure it'll be handy for people here too:

----

Stock turbo goes to around 1100mhz, so my +100 offset is maxing at 1215 as shown smile.gif.

Quick & dirty OC'ing guide for GTX 680's for the lazy

1) Set up fan speeds to your liking, with curves (below the fan speed area) or a set percentage, or even auto fan if you prefer.

2) Set power target to 132% in Precision X.

3) Enable the Overlay function (on-screen display) in Precision X. Make sure it is set to show core speed and temperature, as well as fan speed.

4) Set an OC that is reasonable such as +100. Go play a game for awhile and see if it stays stable (something taxing like BF3 et al.). Note the speed in the overlay while playing by keeping an eye on it.

5) If the speed stays constant the bulk of the time or steps one or two down (13mhz increments) and temperatures are around 75c/below, you're getting the most out of your given setting. If it's stable, now try upping the offset some. Repeat this step until it crashes, or gets hot enough that it starts "stepping down" your clock speeds during gameplay further than your previous stable overclock. I would suggest ~25-30 minutes of gameplay to get a good idea of stability, before later playing at your "last known stable oc" for hour(s) to really nail down that it's stable. If you see artifacts or other visual glitches, lower your speeds. Another option is if it is getting too warm (77c+) try raising the fan speed.

6) Now, set an OC for your memory (I recommend +300 for a first go) and test the same way as you did in step 5. Raise the memory offset if it's working properly (I'd say try at least 15 minutes of straight gameplay before raising it). If you see artifacts or other visual glitches, lower your speeds. Another option is if it is getting too warm (77c+) try raising the fan speed.

7) Enjoy.


EDIT: Guru3d made a small guide: http://guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-680-overclock-guide/2 they achieved 1300mhz core and +560 on memory stable with auto fan.... eek.gif . Going to go see if I'm missing something with mine! Clearly I could lower my fan speed in all likelihood without issue since they were running at 80c+ in their guide.
Edited by GoldenTiger - 3/26/12 at 6:06pm
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post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post

OK, I ran 3dmark11 on Extreme preset (X) as I had on my not-game-stable-but-able-to-pass-benches, loud-as-heck Radeon 7970 that I had owned previously... the result surprised me since I kept reading on the forums about how oc-to-oc they were the same...
Radeon 7970 @ 1240mhz core, 6620mhz memory: (single-card, x16 PCI-E 2.0):
radeon7970goldentiger.jpg
VERSUS
GTX 680 @ +100 offset for 1215mhz core, 6760mhz memory (low/quiet fan curve, fully game-stable, x8 PCI-E 2.0 as test was run with SLI disabled but 2nd card in rig)
gtx6801215core3dm11x355.png
So, that puts to rest the "which one is faster oc'd" thing in my rig pretty soundly. The GTX 680 is fully game-stable including hour+ of BF3 straight and bench-stable, while the 7970 was only bench-stable and would artifact in some games (SWTOR), crash in others (BF3 after playing 30+ mins).
I'll run an SLI enabled go in a moment.

Very Nice OC! We all know the gtx 680 is slightly superior to the 7970!

All the grief that Nvidia owners were giving the AMD owners pre and after launch of the 680 was entirely uncalled for though! Everything one says or posts can come back to haunt you!
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post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just played some BF3, it's maxing auto fan at 58% for me and keeping temps in the mid-70's that way, not bad...!
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post #10 of 18
I need to get me one of these..haha It will be way above my SLI 470's haha!
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