|How To Overclock the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Series|
|Articles - Featured Guides|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Sunday, 18 February 2007|
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EDITORS NOTE: This instructional article is available as an archived reference. The updated replacement is titled: Overclocking the NVIDIA GeForce Video Card and is now available. The new article will receive periodic updates and become part of a larger series focused at optimizing, tuning, and overclocking the computer system.
With all this new power there will come increased heat output, which is something the GeForce 8800 series already knows plenty about.
The GeForce 8800 GTS already runs close to 90° C when it is under full load, so I have taken an extra step to make sure my temperatures don't turn this product into a personal space heater. Using the NVIDIA nTune Performance Application available free, I can adjust the fan speed from the default 60% output up to the desired 100% output. Alternatively, I could use NiBiTor to set the blower fan to 100% output full time. However, since the added fan noise might become a problem when I am not playing video games, nTune may be preferred.
Don't be fooled
A closer look at the nTune utility will reveal that it offers the opportunity to overclock the video card through the GPU clock settings interface; but I had to discover the hard way that this was a very unstable and unsafe method which always resulted in system crashes. I have since avoided every feature offered in this utility except the GPU fan settings feature.
If I could find a better program with a smaller footprint which would enable me to manually adjust 8800 series blower fan speeds, I would be using it. But since this is the only one I am aware of, it is a necessary evil.
EDIT: Some readers have pointed out that Riva Tuner has the same fan control ability. While I have confirmed this function in GeForce 6 and 7 series video cards, I have not tested this software with the GeForce 8 series. It was mentioned that the author of RivaTuner is planning on an updated release in the future.
With the NVIDIA nTune utility, I can manually raise (or lower) the fan controller output. The blower fan on the GeForce 8800 series is somewhat silent at the default 60% output, but it gets humming when set up to 100% output which means that noise may become a concern.
For the cost of the product and about an hour of time spent, I was able to take my FOXCONN 8800 GTS and overclock the G80 GPU up to 600MHz (575MHz default) along with a GDDR3 RAM speed increase up to 1030MHz (900MHz default). This amounts to a 25MHz GPU improvement and a 130MHz RAM improvement; and it was all for free!
Sure, these results did not transform my 8800 GTS into a GTX, but as I mentioned before this is just plain impossible because of the architecture. When it was all said and done, I did make enough improvement to the 8800 GTS to keep it more relative to the 8800 GTX. My video card was already a product pushed closely to the limit from the factory, and now I have it operating and performing as best as it can.
Now just imagine what could be done to the GeForce 8800 GTX! The overpriced GeForce 8800 Ultra has just been released, and it seems like NVIDIA has opened the floodgates to overclockers wanting to turn their GTX into and Ultra. It sure seems possible; all it would take is following these directions and a little time.
With this in mind, it could be very possible to find more performance available for the taking out of other NVIDIA video cards. Just remember, what you do with your property is your own business. At least now you know how I did it with mine.