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Written by Hank Tolman   
Thursday, 28 October 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS GeForce GT 430 Overclocking Performance
GeForce GT 430 Overclocking
Fermi GF108 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
ASUS ENGT430 GeForce GT 430 Conclusion

GeForce GT 430 Overclocking

NVIDIA's recent GF104 and GF106 graphics processors proved themselves capable of serious overclocking, so it's obvious that we'd expect great things out of the GF108 as well. Of course, the GT430 series cards come with a distinct disadvantage in the area of cooling, so I didn't expect quite as much head room as we have seen from the other GPUs. Even so, the ENGT430 proved to be quite impressive when overclocked. The ASUS ENGT430 comes stock with a clock speed of 700/1400MHz. Not bad at all considering the GTX 460 is at 675/1350. The GT430 does run a little slower than the GTS 450 at 783/1566, however. The other difference is in the memory. The GT430 doesn't have the Samsung DDR5 memory that the other Fermi GPUs sport. The DDR3 chips on the ENGT430 do come clocked at 800MHz, though. This is somewhat slower than the memory speeds of the other Fermi GPUs. NVIDIA says that the memory for the GT 430 can be 900MHz DDR3, so some other manufacturers might include faster memory.

My goal with overclocking the ASUS ENGT430 was to push both the core clock and the memory clock to the fastest speeds possible without raising the voltage at all. Since the ENGT430 doesn't have an input from the PSU, raising the voltage wasn't much of a possibility anyway. Besides, the fan and heatsink combo on the ENGT430 aren't conducive to pushing more voltage.

Software Overclocking Tools

Our Executive Editor here at Benchmark Reviews released an article a few years back with detailed information on hwo to overclock your video card. Since then, a lot has changed. Software overclocking tools have become readily available with many video card manufacturers offering their own solutions. EVGA Precision, MSI Afterburner, and ASUS SmartDoctor are a few, and NVIDIA even offers their own solution through their System Tools suite. All of these programs are very similar and are extremely easy to use, just be careful not to overdo it.


NVIDIA System Tools

I started off the overclocking of the ASUS ENGT430 by using NVIDIA System Tools. While very easy to use, the suite didn't allow me to adjust the core clock speed of the video card at all. I was able to increase the memory speed up to 960 MHz. While that is nice, it's not what I am looking for. So I moved on to ASUS's tool, SmartDoctor. The ASUS SmartDoctor interface is very easy to use as well. When it comes up, it does a quick scan of your GPU, though I'm not entirely sure what it's checking for. Overclocking your video card with SmartDoctor is as easy as dragging the bars. The GPU core and shader clocks are locked and move together. With the ASUS ENGT430, the SmartDoctor utility only allowed me increase the GPU core clock speed at 100 MHz intervals. A 200 MHz increase is a bit of a stretch, and I didn't want to jump that far so soon. I overclocked the ENGT430 to 800/1600 MHz and it was solid as a rock. But the SmartDoctor utility left me wondering if there was more left in the ENGT430.


ASUS SmartDoctor Utility

So I decided to try the EVGA Precision software out on the ASUS ENGT430. Turns out, while I was limited to a max overclock of 950 MHz, I was able to actually type in the clock speed that I wanted. Since there is no way the ENGT430 was going to get to 950 MHz, it doesn't really matter that that was the limit. Since I knew the ENGT430 was solid at 800 MHz, I increased the clock speed incrementally from there by 10 MHz at a time. At each interval, I would run FurMark for 12 hours at max load to make sure the ENGT430 could handle it. At 870 MHz, the ENGT430 failed after an hour or so. I then clocked the ENGT430 back to 860 MHz, stressed it again, then started running the benchmarks. After getting through all of the DX10 benchmarks, I loaded up Unigine Heaven DX11 and started the benchmark. About halfway through the DX11 benchmark, my system froze for a few minutes. Then the Heaven benchmark quit out to the desktop and gave me an error about not having DX11 compatible hardware. I wiped the drivers and reinstalled, restarted the system and tried again. I got the same error. I went back to the EVGA Precision software and clocked the GPU down to 850 MHz and gave it another go. This time the benchmark completed all the way through, all five times.


EVGA Precision Overclocking Utility (v2.0.0)

So I settled at 850 MHz. That's 150 MHz faster than the 700 MHz that it came at stock, an increase of over 21%. I kept the memory at 900 MHz. I ran through most of the benchmarks to find out how much that 150 MHz helped out. Here are the results:

Overclocking Results

Video Game Standard Overclocked Improvement
3D Mark New Calico DX10 9.62 11.63 21%
3D Mark Jane Nash DX10 9.16 11.27 23%
Alien vs Predator DX11 11.8 14.2 20%
Heaven DX11 13.7 15.4 12%
Lost Planet 2 DX11 15.6 18.7 20%
Far Cry 2 DX10 32.1 38.8 21%

Excluding the Unigine Heaven DX11, the average performance increase was 21%, right in line with the 21% increase in clock speed. The Unigine benchmark posted a 12% increase in performance. If you recall from the previous article, the settings I used in the benchmarks weren't the highest settings available, but they were still very high for the ENGT430, as you can see from the original FPS results. Overclocked, the ENGT430 performs much better, but the settings would still need to be lowered to make these games playable.

A 21% increase in clock speed, matched by a 21% increase in performance is an amazing achievement for the ENGT430. On top of that, there wasn't any increase in temperature output at all. I'll admit that I was under-impressed by the 64 degree high temperature of the ENGT430, but maintaining just 64 degrees after a 21% increase in clock speed is a lot better.



# Not worth itBernardP 2010-10-28 04:38
The GT 430 seems to be an unbalanced design, with too few ROPs. It's not worth the effort to overclock it. My year-old GT240 performs better in games (except for DX11) and has the same multimedia performance.

NVidia needs to come up with something better in that price segment. An OEM version of the GT240 is already available and looks more promising:

I'm betting the GT430 will be short-lived.
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# .killerbee 2010-10-28 04:46
BernardP: your gt 240 has not the same multimedia performance. GT240 doesn't have hdmi 1.4a interface, 3D content playback capability, dts true hd etc. etc...
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# Why ?!LEGndARY 2010-10-28 19:51

Guys I think this card was meant to be a good choice for HTPCs .. and for that
why didn't you test it with some DVD's and Blue-Rays to see how it performs
in termas of image quality and hardware acceleration ??!!
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# RE: Why ?!Olin Coles 2010-10-28 20:28
You do realize this isn't the full review, right? The original review was linked at the beginning, middle, and end of this article. Please leave a comment on that article. Thanks.
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# RE: RE: Why ?!LEGndARY 2010-10-28 23:51
Yep .. now I get it :p

I was directed to this review
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# works goodDane_795 2012-06-27 16:09
It was a good write up so I decided that I'd give this a try. I installed EVGA Precision X and changed it to 842MHz/840MHz/85% fan speed. Results: only slightly louder, much better performance, about the same temps. It's worth it unless you never play games.
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