Boost feature causes GTX 970/980 instability in low utilisation situations
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Yup, I've noticed the same. I've been collecting some data on my overclocks and when crashes occur, and 99% of the time they are related to power states - or rather power state lag, let me explain. So, I overclock to 1500mhz boost, have gpu-z open and at desktop voltage is 0.85v and clocks are 150mhz. Launch 3dmark and I see the clocks go up to 1126mhz and volts to 1.05v. When the bench starts, the clocks go up to 1500mhz and the volts briefly go to 1.075v then to the full 1.21v. Bench completes no problem. If I clock above this, when the bench starts, the clocks go up to 1510mhz for example but the volts still step to 1.075v then to the full 1.21v. More often than not though the bench freezes at 1510mhz and 1.075v, causing a driver hang and reset. If the bench gets past the first couple of seconds the volts get all the way to 1.21v and the bench completes ok, I've benched up to 1600mhz successfully as long as it gets past the first couple of seconds. A game I play alot is Planetside 2 and the only crashes I see when overclocked are of the same variety. I'll be playing quite happily but as it doesn't require alot of gpu power it'll often be running at 1126mhz and running 1.05v. Occasionally though there will be a big explosion on screen and the card will upclock to 1500mhz boost due to the load but the power state and volts will lag behind occasionally causing a driver reset or hard lock up at 1.075v again. This is very repeatable. So, it seems my card is quite capable of running at a high mhz, but when the voltage lags behind due to the powerstates, it's causing me instability. as obviously 1.075v isn't enough to push 1500mhz or above. I'm hoping the above gets fixed with a driver update and/or modded bios. I thought EVGA precision had a function called kboost which fixed clocks/voltages so I could test this but the option cannot be clicked when I try it. If I run a small 3d app in the background that gets the voltages up before a 3dMark bench run, it completes no problem, thereby confirming it's the transition in powerstates that causes the hang/crash.
Yup, I've noticed the same.

I've been collecting some data on my overclocks and when crashes occur, and 99% of the time they are related to power states - or rather power state lag, let me explain.

So, I overclock to 1500mhz boost, have gpu-z open and at desktop voltage is 0.85v and clocks are 150mhz. Launch 3dmark and I see the clocks go up to 1126mhz and volts to 1.05v. When the bench starts, the clocks go up to 1500mhz and the volts briefly go to 1.075v then to the full 1.21v. Bench completes no problem. If I clock above this, when the bench starts, the clocks go up to 1510mhz for example but the volts still step to 1.075v then to the full 1.21v. More often than not though the bench freezes at 1510mhz and 1.075v, causing a driver hang and reset. If the bench gets past the first couple of seconds the volts get all the way to 1.21v and the bench completes ok, I've benched up to 1600mhz successfully as long as it gets past the first couple of seconds.

A game I play alot is Planetside 2 and the only crashes I see when overclocked are of the same variety. I'll be playing quite happily but as it doesn't require alot of gpu power it'll often be running at 1126mhz and running 1.05v. Occasionally though there will be a big explosion on screen and the card will upclock to 1500mhz boost due to the load but the power state and volts will lag behind occasionally causing a driver reset or hard lock up at 1.075v again. This is very repeatable.

So, it seems my card is quite capable of running at a high mhz, but when the voltage lags behind due to the powerstates, it's causing me instability. as obviously 1.075v isn't enough to push 1500mhz or above.

I'm hoping the above gets fixed with a driver update and/or modded bios. I thought EVGA precision had a function called kboost which fixed clocks/voltages so I could test this but the option cannot be clicked when I try it. If I run a small 3d app in the background that gets the voltages up before a 3dMark bench run, it completes no problem, thereby confirming it's the transition in powerstates that causes the hang/crash.

#1
Posted 10/24/2014 10:23 AM   
This is driving me nuts in CPU bound/light games and v-sync obviously makes things worse. It would be so nice if they would give us option to disable this or if the driver would just rather lower the core speed instead of voltage.
This is driving me nuts in CPU bound/light games and v-sync obviously makes things worse. It would be so nice if they would give us option to disable this or if the driver would just rather lower the core speed instead of voltage.

Intel Core i7 3770K 4,4GHz & Thermalright True Spirit | ASUS P8Z77-V | Corsair AX760 | Define R4 | 4x4GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X 1600MHz | EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 ACX 3.0 | Samsung S24E390HL 75Hz | Creative Sound Blaster Zx | Sennheiser HD 595 | Samsung 830 128GB & 2x Samsung F3 1TB & Toshiba 3TB | Windows 10 Pro x64

#2
Posted 10/24/2014 11:01 AM   
i have the same problem, happens all the time on d3. yes, turning off v-sync fixes it, but it wastes power and makes d3 more stuttery for me.
i have the same problem, happens all the time on d3. yes, turning off v-sync fixes it, but it wastes power and makes d3 more stuttery for me.

#3
Posted 10/24/2014 11:24 AM   
I have not experienced this problem with my MSI GTX970. Do you all have Gigabyte G1's?
I have not experienced this problem with my MSI GTX970. Do you all have Gigabyte G1's?

P6T Deluxe, i7 920 DO @ 4.2Ghz, MSI GTX970 Gaming @ 1550/8000, 12Gb Corsair Mem @ 1600Mhz, Antec HCP 1200W, Haf-X, SyncMaster T240 1920 x 1200, X530 5.1 surround, Win 7 64bit

#4
Posted 10/24/2014 11:33 AM   
I originally had MSI Gaming but it had coil whine so it got replaced to this Gigabyte. It had the exact same issue though.
I originally had MSI Gaming but it had coil whine so it got replaced to this Gigabyte. It had the exact same issue though.

Intel Core i7 3770K 4,4GHz & Thermalright True Spirit | ASUS P8Z77-V | Corsair AX760 | Define R4 | 4x4GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X 1600MHz | EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 ACX 3.0 | Samsung S24E390HL 75Hz | Creative Sound Blaster Zx | Sennheiser HD 595 | Samsung 830 128GB & 2x Samsung F3 1TB & Toshiba 3TB | Windows 10 Pro x64

#5
Posted 10/24/2014 11:48 AM   
I have zero coil whine except slightly in 3DMark "Ice Storm" when rendering at thousands of FPS.
I have zero coil whine except slightly in 3DMark "Ice Storm" when rendering at thousands of FPS.

P6T Deluxe, i7 920 DO @ 4.2Ghz, MSI GTX970 Gaming @ 1550/8000, 12Gb Corsair Mem @ 1600Mhz, Antec HCP 1200W, Haf-X, SyncMaster T240 1920 x 1200, X530 5.1 surround, Win 7 64bit

#6
Posted 10/24/2014 11:55 AM   
Gigabyte G1 Gaming 970 here and this is a major issue. Whether I am overclocked or at stock I get these TDRs and CTDs. You can go to any tech forum and find many similar complaints users of the 900 series having "strange instability issues with low utilization" etc. I am seriously considering returning this product and going back to the 700 series until issues get fixed -- especially this issue as the TDRs and CTDs because of the under-voltage of BOOST is making it impossible to play less demanding games. And lets not even talk about the clusterF#&# that is SLI on the 900 series right now. Nivida get your shit together ** The temporary fix is to use EVGA precision and [b]always[/b][i][/i] run KBOOST, or use PALIT THUNDERMASTER and max out the "voltage minimum offset" in the overclocking settings.
Gigabyte G1 Gaming 970 here and this is a major issue. Whether I am overclocked or at stock I get these TDRs and CTDs. You can go to any tech forum and find many similar complaints users of the 900 series having "strange instability issues with low utilization" etc. I am seriously considering returning this product and going back to the 700 series until issues get fixed -- especially this issue as the TDRs and CTDs because of the under-voltage of BOOST is making it impossible to play less demanding games.

And lets not even talk about the clusterF#&# that is SLI on the 900 series right now.

Nivida get your shit together

** The temporary fix is to use EVGA precision and always[i][/i] run KBOOST, or use PALIT THUNDERMASTER and max out the "voltage minimum offset" in the overclocking settings.

#7
Posted 10/24/2014 12:02 PM   
[quote="WolfGollnitz"]I have zero coil whine except slightly in 3DMark "Ice Storm" when rendering at thousands of FPS.[/quote]Cool but that's irrelevant. The point was that my MSI GTX 970 Gaming had this same low utilisation -> too low voltage issue when overclocked. The MSI had over 100 MHz lower max boost clock speed by default. My Gigabyte boosts so high that it's on the edge of stability in low utilisation situations so I can't really overclock at all even though the core would be stable under 100% load. Some are reporting instability even at stock clocks. The issue is real for cards that boost high by default.
WolfGollnitz said:I have zero coil whine except slightly in 3DMark "Ice Storm" when rendering at thousands of FPS.
Cool but that's irrelevant. The point was that my MSI GTX 970 Gaming had this same low utilisation -> too low voltage issue when overclocked.

The MSI had over 100 MHz lower max boost clock speed by default. My Gigabyte boosts so high that it's on the edge of stability in low utilisation situations so I can't really overclock at all even though the core would be stable under 100% load. Some are reporting instability even at stock clocks. The issue is real for cards that boost high by default.

Intel Core i7 3770K 4,4GHz & Thermalright True Spirit | ASUS P8Z77-V | Corsair AX760 | Define R4 | 4x4GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X 1600MHz | EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 ACX 3.0 | Samsung S24E390HL 75Hz | Creative Sound Blaster Zx | Sennheiser HD 595 | Samsung 830 128GB & 2x Samsung F3 1TB & Toshiba 3TB | Windows 10 Pro x64

#8
Posted 10/24/2014 12:23 PM   
I just tried some older "low utilization" games like Quake and FEAR and do not have this problem.
I just tried some older "low utilization" games like Quake and FEAR and do not have this problem.

P6T Deluxe, i7 920 DO @ 4.2Ghz, MSI GTX970 Gaming @ 1550/8000, 12Gb Corsair Mem @ 1600Mhz, Antec HCP 1200W, Haf-X, SyncMaster T240 1920 x 1200, X530 5.1 surround, Win 7 64bit

#9
Posted 10/24/2014 12:26 PM   
Hi Anarion, My default clock is 1114 Mhz and stock boost is 1366 Mhz. However I run it at + 185 for boost clock of 1552 permanently at default voltage. What is your stock boost clock?
Hi Anarion,
My default clock is 1114 Mhz and stock boost is 1366 Mhz. However I run it at + 185 for boost clock of 1552 permanently at default voltage.
What is your stock boost clock?

P6T Deluxe, i7 920 DO @ 4.2Ghz, MSI GTX970 Gaming @ 1550/8000, 12Gb Corsair Mem @ 1600Mhz, Antec HCP 1200W, Haf-X, SyncMaster T240 1920 x 1200, X530 5.1 surround, Win 7 64bit

#10
Posted 10/24/2014 12:40 PM   
not sure if you've checked this but older games won't necessarily result in low utilization (ie it might try to render them at 1000fps). the gpu usage % needs to be low (eg for me in d3, with vsync on, it's about 24%). you can monitor it with gpu-z or afterburner etc.
not sure if you've checked this but older games won't necessarily result in low utilization (ie it might try to render them at 1000fps). the gpu usage % needs to be low (eg for me in d3, with vsync on, it's about 24%). you can monitor it with gpu-z or afterburner etc.

#11
Posted 10/24/2014 01:28 PM   
It's also worth pointing out it only really happens at limit of an overclock. if you drop down by say 20mhz you'll be fine. However, I know some extreme factory clocked cards this also affects. What we're saying is that the power state lag is limiting overclocks - if it upped the voltage first and set the speed second the much higher overclocks are possible. I.e. if I set a background 3d task to get the volts up, I can bench in 3DMark and other apps at 1600mhz. Without doing that I'm limited to 1500mhz and the driver always hangs as the power state tries to transition. As it really only affects overclocking, I wouldn't hold your hopes up that card Nvidia will attempt to address the issue.
It's also worth pointing out it only really happens at limit of an overclock. if you drop down by say 20mhz you'll be fine. However, I know some extreme factory clocked cards this also affects.

What we're saying is that the power state lag is limiting overclocks - if it upped the voltage first and set the speed second the much higher overclocks are possible. I.e. if I set a background 3d task to get the volts up, I can bench in 3DMark and other apps at 1600mhz. Without doing that I'm limited to 1500mhz and the driver always hangs as the power state tries to transition.

As it really only affects overclocking, I wouldn't hold your hopes up that card Nvidia will attempt to address the issue.

#12
Posted 10/24/2014 01:49 PM   
i don't really think it's a the limit for me (or for you actually). you and i both have to drop 100mhz it seems, the card will run at +150 except that the power state lag limits me to +50 or else it crashes during transitions.
i don't really think it's a the limit for me (or for you actually). you and i both have to drop 100mhz it seems, the card will run at +150 except that the power state lag limits me to +50 or else it crashes during transitions.

#13
Posted 10/24/2014 02:36 PM   
@dnd1 I normally run my games with V-sync on 60 fps as that is my monitor's limit. Therefore I am not running older games at 1000fps. Also I use AB 4 for monitoring. Tested some more and when gpu usage is 20 to 40% the core clock does not boost at all and even voltage stays low. Anyway I can not duplicate your problem.
@dnd1

I normally run my games with V-sync on 60 fps as that is my monitor's limit. Therefore I am not running older games at 1000fps. Also I use AB 4 for monitoring.

Tested some more and when gpu usage is 20 to 40% the core clock does not boost at all and even voltage stays low. Anyway I can not duplicate your problem.

P6T Deluxe, i7 920 DO @ 4.2Ghz, MSI GTX970 Gaming @ 1550/8000, 12Gb Corsair Mem @ 1600Mhz, Antec HCP 1200W, Haf-X, SyncMaster T240 1920 x 1200, X530 5.1 surround, Win 7 64bit

#14
Posted 10/24/2014 08:22 PM   
@amigafan2k3 What you are describing is completely normal - instability due to too high an overclock.
@amigafan2k3

What you are describing is completely normal - instability due to too high an overclock.

P6T Deluxe, i7 920 DO @ 4.2Ghz, MSI GTX970 Gaming @ 1550/8000, 12Gb Corsair Mem @ 1600Mhz, Antec HCP 1200W, Haf-X, SyncMaster T240 1920 x 1200, X530 5.1 surround, Win 7 64bit

#15
Posted 10/24/2014 08:30 PM   
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