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If you search in Google for Nvidia black screens in games, and here in particular crashes in The Witcher 3, you get TONS of hits since a lot of people seem to have them, especially after the Win10 AU update and with later NV drivers.

I own a GTX 970 which I assumed stable for the longest, and I had it go through all the usual tests and benchmarks like Heaven, 3DMark, whatever.

There is this particular scene in The Witcher 3 at the balcony where cards crash, especially factory OCed cards. Affecting GTX 970s but as it looks also many other Nvidia cards. TONS of people. And the Wicther crash doesn't just seem to affect EVGA cards either.

So the recent days I spent time testing using this scene, modding my bios and here are my odd findings:

I had my card assumed stable at 1481@V1.200.

No matter what I do, no matter what voltages or what cooling I set, there is NO FRICKIN' way to stay crash-free above 1392 IN THIS SCENE in TW3.

So, I downclocked my card to 1392 (I can live with that), which is still two notches above factory max boost which is 1367.

The interesting part is this:

I can increase clocks just two boost bins to 1418, but even at 1.200V or 1.212V (the max my card can give) I won't be stable and will at some point crap out at the balcony scene in The Witcher 3.

At 1392, which obviously is only slightly below 1418, I am stable in ALL tests I did so far at only 1.150V and haven't seen the The Witcher 3 black screen. (I haven't tested lower voltage, but I wouldn't be surprised if it would be stable at even lower voltages) (Mind you that 1392 is still above max factory OC!)

The fact that I can for the life of me not get stable/crash free at 1418 (in this scene) but can run at surprisingly VERY low voltage at 1392 I think is extremely odd.

(I am doing this testing in The Witcher 3 simply because it makes sense to use the scene to tests that it most likely to trigger an "unexplained" crash, and once I see I don't crash in TW 3 I have it run through Heaven and other benchies as well to confirm)

* Some people on the net are speculating that the black screens appear after the Win10 AU. Seems they introduced a new WDDM, overall making cards "more sensible" to overclocks. If a card was stable before, and also under Win7 etc...it is well possible you will have to set it down a notch (say, -100) after the Win10 AU. There is something, a combination of OS, game, drivers etc. which simply does NOT like any clock above 1392, at least in my case. These are my findings so far.

** EDIT 1 **
Maybe today I may waste some time to further decrease voltage to see how low I can go while staying stable. It's just fricking odd since in the past, one problem with my overclocks was how the card was
limiting V to 1.212V, now I see I can use FAR lower voltages, as long as I don't go over 1392. (And obviously I want to stay at a max. 1392 anyway otherwise I get black screens in TW 3.)

** EDIT 2 **

I can definitely go down as low as 1.125V at 1392. Unbelievable.
/X-FILES MUSIC PLAYING
Could this suggest there is something like a "hard overclocking limit" in each card? Because the low voltage needed to be stable at 1392 suggests MUCH more overclocking headroom as there really is, even with cards that are limited to 1.212V
/X-FILES MUSIC OFF
Edited by flexy123 - 10/10/16 at 9:29pm