Overclocking with MSI’s Afterburner
Afterburner is a free MSI utility which offers these very useful features:
- Overclocking tools for Nvidia and AMD cards
- Hardware monitoring
- Overvoltaging controls (which are not supported yet for the TITAN X)
- Triple Overvoltage which provides precise control of the Core, Memory and PLL voltages (unsupported for TITAN X)
- Custom Fan profiles
- FPS in-game counter for DX11/OpenGL games
- 64-bit support/Custom Skins/Multi-language support/stability testing/video capture/mobile apps
Make sure to check out our GTX 1060 overclocking evaluation. We used EVGA’s PrecisionX OC which does not currently load for the TITAN X, but the method of manual overclocking is similar for all Pascal-based video cards whether you use EVGA’s tool or MSI’s Afterburner.
We found a completely smooth experience using Afterburner to set the TITAN X clocks. Here is the TITAN X at completely stock settings. We found with a relatively cool GPU we reached a maximum GPU boost of 1822MHz at the beginning of a Heaven 4.0 benchmark run.
Here are the results at stock values after looping the Heaven 4.0 benchmark in a 2560×1440 window with max settings:We see that there is some throttling at the stock settings. The Boost settles down to 1569MHz as the temperatures reach 83C, but it still well ahead of Nvidia’s advertised minimum boost of 1531MHz. At this point, the fan is very quiet.
We can see that the maximum temperature has increased to 86C and the Boost now settles in much higher at 1746MHz with a correspondingly higher score in Heaven over the completely stock settings. The fans speed has increased a bit, but not enough to make any audible difference to us while gaming – it is still very quiet. And when we run game benchmarks, there is now more consistency between runs as the GPU no longer throttles at the stock settings. This is why we benchmark all of our GPUs with the Power/Temp Limits set to their maximum values.
At +100MHz offset to the core, we see a very steady 1847MHz and the temperatures remain at 86C although the fan rpm increases but it is still not intrusive. We also see an increase in Heaven’s score with the clockspeed increase. Next we try a +150MHz offset.With +150MHz offset added to the core, the temperatures rise to 87C, the fan rpm automatically kicks up a bit higher, and the core settles in at 1898MHz and the Heaven score goes up further.
We next try our maximum overclock of an offset of 175MHz but it is unstable. The temperatures rise to 89C, the automatic fan profile kicks up further and we see a Boost that varies between 1936MHz and 1911MHz as the fans unsuccessfully tries to keep our overclocked TITAN X from throttling. So we move the fan speed to 100%.
With the fan at 100%, the temperature drops to 68C and we see our highest steady Boost of between 1961MHz to 1974MHz, but the overclock is marginally unstable. At this point we wish we had a voltage adjustment, but it is not yet supported by Afterburner. So we back down the overclock to a +160MHz offset which turned out to be the highest stable overclock that we could achieve with all of our games.
This time, Boost 3.0 reaches 1949MHz and it stays steady through all of our benching with the fan at 100%. We also see that the 15MHz lower overclock below our maximum tested produces a higher Heaven score at +160MHz offset. The fan is loud at this point, but it is more of a “whoosh” of air which is not an irritating whine. We continue to benchmark at 100% fan because we want to have the most consistent results – something that overclockers putting the TITAN X under watercooling will easily achieve. Even turning the fan down to a quieter 75% resulted in minimal throttling to 1923MHz as the temperatures reached 78C.
Pascal likes low core temperatures to achieve its maximum overclock but we were unable to cool our test room below 76F on our warm Summer day. With our core overclock set, we next tried memory overclocking. Here is a +250MHz offset to the memory:
Since we found memory “holes” in the GTX 1080’s GDDRX5 we suspected it may also be happening with the TITAN X. So we lowered our memory overclock to +200MHz offset and found that the performance increased in Heaven 4.0 and with many games that we tested.
We settled on +200MHz memory clock offset to reach 5200MHz (10400MHz!) and our highest performance in games. Temperatures rose to their maximum 69C but kept the core Boost clock locked in at a very steady 1949MHz with 100% fan speeds. Of course, we tested many other memory overclocks in smaller increments to decide on our final TITAN X overclock of an additional 160MHz to the core and 200MHz to the memory for a steady 1949MHz core and 5200MHz memory.
We think 1949MHz is a very good steady Boost 3.0 core overclock result considering that we went from originally at 1569MHz Boost with completely stock values to 1746MHz with Power/Temps at maximum. That is a 24.2% increase over completely stock settings and a 11.6% increase over our usual benching with Power/Temps at maximum.