High temperatures are a problem in the gaming. Thermal throttling, loud noise due to fan kicking into overdrive, performance instabilities and reduction of lifespan of the hardware are some of the effects of high temperatures.
There are two solutions to this – underclocking and undervolting the GPU.
What risks do these solutions carry? If you plan on underclocking or undervolting your GPU.
Here’s what you need to know about underclocking GPU and undervolting your GPU – and why these methods are the best for performance and high temperatures.
What Does Underclocking and Undervolting GPU Mean?
Underclocking or downclocking is the opposite of overclocking. It is where you intentionally reduce the clock speed of your CPU or GPU.
Clock speed is the number of cycles it can execute in a second. The higher the clock cycle the higher the number of instructions the GPU or CPU can execute in a second. Clock speeds are measured in megahertz (MHz).
Undervolting, on the other hand, is reducing the voltage consumption of your CPU or GPU. Your hardware components consume a certain amount of voltage to function. Underclocking is the opposite of overvolting where voltages are increased.
Intentionally decreasing clock speed is underclocking. Intentionally decreasing voltage is undervolting. As simple as that.
Benefits Of Underclocking and Undervolting GPU
Underclocking and undervolting carry huge benefits. A major reason why manufacturers often underclock and undervolt hardware components in laptops.
For those suffering from overheating and thermal throttling. Underclocking and undervolting your GPU can reduce those high temperatures.
Also, high temperatures slowly destroy your hardware and cause instabilities. If you are using a laptop you will benefit immensely from this aside from applying thermal paste. As mentioned above, manufacturers tend to underclock the GPUs or CPUs of laptops.
Laptops have bad cooling systems all because of their small chassis and fans. So it doesn’t make sense to put fully powered GPUs into them.
Even with all the underclocking and improvised cooling systems the CPUs and GPUs of some laptops still run hot.
Desktops have better cooling systems but even so, your GPU might be working too hard and run at high temperatures. This is where underclocking or undervolting comes in. Stable temperatures and a quieter PC experience – your fans won’t work extra hard.
Stable Performance And Less Power consumption
High temperatures cause instability in performance. Every hardware has a temperature limit it can endure. High temperatures occur during heavy loads and when the cooling system is subpar.
Under heavy loads, the GPU and CPU there is an increase in power consumption and work. This is then followed by an increase in temperature. If the heat is not dissipated quickly, after a certain temperature limit. Thermal throttling occurs and results in a drop in performance.
These drops in performance is a safety mechanism for temperatures to reduce to appreciable levels. The cycle then starts again.
A common example is gaming where temperatures run so high the GPU and CPU thermal throttle resulting in a massive drop in FPS.
This is where underclocking and undervolting comes in. By reducing the clock speed and power consumption. You effectively reduce the heat and power consumption. This translates to a more stable performance.
The CPU and GPU will run at near maximum performance without throttling. Also in laptops, less power consumption means better battery life. A win-win situation.
High temperatures destroy hardware. Everything on this planet has a temperature limit it can endure before it gets destroyed. Same applies to PC components.
Your GPU can’t withstand high temperatures for long periods of time. You will effectively reduce the lifespan. Worst case scenario your desktop or laptop might unexpectedly shut down and never boot up.
Underclocking and undervolting will increase the lifespan of your components. Because it serves as a means to control excess power consumption and high temperatures.
Software That Allows You To Underclock and Undervolt Your GPU
There is software that you can use to underclock or undervolt your GPU. The recommended one to use is MSI Afterburner. There is also Throttlestop but that is for overclocking, overvolting, underclocking and undervolting your CPU. For an underclocking and undervolting guide. WePC’s Guide and Pascal GPU Boost are great guides.
Is Undervolting GPU and Underclocking GPU Safe?
It depends. You can experience instabilities if not done properly. This occurs if you underclock and undervolt your GPU and CPU by a large amount. Every hardware requires a minimum amount of voltage for it to function normally.
If the requirements are not met then your hardware will seize to work or function properly. The best way to do it by decreasing the voltage by small amounts and see if working temperatures are at appreciable levels.
So, if you plan on doing it you should go ahead. But make sure you do the necessary research and follow the best guides out there.
Aside from underclocking and undervolting, there are other ways to reduce high temperatures.
- Applying Thermal Paste
- Getting a Cooling Pad
Does Underclocking GPU and Undervolting GPU Reduce Performance?
Looking at the immense benefits underclocking and overclocking provide. There is no way you shouldn’t consider them especially when your laptop’s or desktop’s GPU is running at high temperatures.
Aside from better laptop battery life, better performance stability and a quieter PC. You also enjoy better battery life.
Is Undervolting and Underclocking GPU worth it?
Yes, that is if your PC or laptop always run at high temperatures under heavy loads. A necessary action to take if you want to thermal throttling.
Is Undervolting GPU safe?
There is a risk of causing instability i.e. crashing when undervolting your GPU. Knowing how much you want to undervolt is a great way to prevent crashes.
Another option is to slowly reduce the voltage to find that sweet spot.
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