back to article Nvidia U-turns on GTX 900M overclocking after gamer outrage

Nvidia has given in to furious gamers who were outraged by the firm's seemingly perplexing decision to prevent GeForce GTX 900M devices from overclocking. A driver update killed the function, as The Register reported earlier this week. Nvidia has finally waded into gripes that had been stacking up on the GeForce forums. The …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Laptops

    To be honest, I don't really blame them for disabling the over-clock for laptops. Unless you've also modded your case/fan, and leave it on a cooled platform, it's not a very clever idea. If you care enough about performance that you want to push your hardware beyond what the manufacturer has tested, then buy a proper computer!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Re: Laptops

      Or just allow gamers to melt down their laptops if they like. As long as Nvidia makes it clear that overclocking voids the warranty, who cares? Testing to destruction is a fine old tradition!

      1. Hyper72

        Re: Laptops

        You're quick to judge; not all laptops are equal. Mine has amble cooling and for years I've overclocked the 670m while monitoring and staying well within safe temperatures.

        It allowed me to keep it a year longer before replacing it with a 965m MxM card that is plenty fast and doesn't need overclocking, for the game I play.

        I'm not really fussed whether they allow oc or not, but it allowed me to save money...

        1. edge_e
          Coat

          Re: Laptops

          Mine has amble cooling

          Is that where the fan runs slow to keep the noise down?

          1. Captain DaFt

            Re: Laptops

            "Mine has amble cooling"

            "Is that where the fan runs slow to keep the noise down?"

            And here I thought it meant if the laptop overheated, it wandered off looking for someplace cooler.

            "Damnedest thing, every time I leave my lappy alone, it somehow ends up in the freezer!"

          2. Hyper72

            Re: Laptops

            Sorry edge_e, English is not my first language. It seems "amble" was the wrong word. What I meant was that it has good cooling of the GPU with some headroom. I hope you understood.

            The point I was trying to make was that while some laptops runs hot, others do not. Let people do what they want, whether they destroy their hardware or postpone upgrades.

            1. x 7

              Re: Laptops

              "ample".........easy mistake to make

            2. edge_e
              Happy

              @Hyper72

              No need to apologise, your English is good enough for me to not notice that it's not your native tongue.

              There was no offence intended, I just found it amusing.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Laptops

        >who cares?

        UL/TuV/CSA and all the other people that have been paid to assure you, your home insurance company, the airline carrying you, your fellow office dwellers etc that the laptop is safe.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Laptops

          "UL/TuV/CSA and all the other people that have been paid to assure you, your home insurance company, the airline carrying you, your fellow office dwellers etc that the laptop is safe."

          Fine and useful people, all of them (just like the ratings agencies, working hard to keep the investment market safe....).

          Would they be the same people that rubber stamped lithium ion batteries as a mainstream-ready technology? Just asking, 'cos I've melted a couple of systems with overclocking in my time, and the failure mode of most overclock disasters I've caused or heard of is that the critical components don't catch fire, they just go "phut" and stop working. Whereas the fun to be had with faulty li-ion is well known.

          Maybe people need to have less faith in chits of paper to prove things are safe. Or perhaps overclockers could apply for government certification, involving a promise to only overclock machines in fire-proofed rooms.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Laptops

        And also why on earth would you want to over clock a laptop/notepad anyway? It's not like the they are the best tools to use for gaming etc.

        Ideas please.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Laptops

          @"Ideas please"

          If you don't have room.

          If you're always traveling.

          If it's all you can have.

          For game machines I'm down to the mini itx form. If I could go smaller reasonably (to my preferences), I would.

          If you can't overclock a GPU, then you don't really care what manufacturer you choose. Nvidia should of already understood this, especially considering why AMD boomed in the late 90's. A lot of shit changes, but to a gamer speed never should change for the worse.

        2. Joe 48

          Re: Laptops

          @linicks

          I agree overclocking is pointless in a notebook. The performance gains are minimal, at best. However gaming on modern notebooks is surprisingly good. I get just shy of 10,000 in 3d Mark 2011 pushing 9,756 on mine. So although its not the absolute best for gaming, it's incredible what this thing can do!

          I travel but I like to get my gaming fix whilst on the road, or more to the point bored in the hotel room. The laptop ticks all the boxes for this. Ample performance, slim form factor and not bad looks. Its certainly no brick either. Check out the MSI GS range.

          1. fruitoftheloon
            Pint

            @Joe 48: Re: Laptops

            Joe,

            One will be checking out potential laptops for dev/graphics duties shortly, I had a nice Lenovo on my potential shopping list, will check out the MSI range as a potential substitute.

            Thanks for the suggestion.

            Cheers,

            J.

            1. Joe 48

              Re: @Joe 48: Laptops

              Great bit of kit. The GS range is slimmer and better looking than the high end GT. The GT is the top end rig, but for me the difference was negligible.

              Two warnings. Despite the fact its quoted as a 15" notebook its rather large (width and length) but nice and thin and light too.

              Last but not least don't get a 4K screen. Its the only thing I'm not keen on. Windows doesn't play nice with the scaling and nothing can really use it yet so seems a touch pointless but it was on offer when I got it. Normal HD screen will do just fine imo.

              1. fruitoftheloon
                Thumb Up

                @Joe: Re: @Joe 48: Laptops

                Joe,

                Thanks for the pointers.

                Cheers,

                J.

  2. x 7

    People have such short memories.........its not many years since Nvidia (and to a lesser extent ATi) had all those problems with graphics chips becoming unstuck due to low-lead / low-temperature solders. Some laptop models had close to 100% return rates. They're obviously worried about a repeat of that expensive problem.

    When you get down to it, laptops are hardly designed for gaming. Why should Nvidia provide a facility that can only significantly increase failure rates and - undeserved - warranty returns?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Thermal monitoring?

      Don't these chips have thermal monitoring?

      If so (which I assume they all do), why not scale back the clocking if they start to overheat?

      1. scote

        Re: Thermal monitoring?

        Yes they do and the driver scales back the clock if thermal limits are reached

      2. Gordan

        Re: Thermal monitoring?

        There is indeed thermal throttling on Nvidia chips that stops the GPU core from exceeding 95C. It will progressively slow down the clocks to whatever it takes to keep it under 95C.

        This is not new. CPUs and GPUs from their respective duopolies have had such features for the past 10-15 years.

      3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Thermal monitoring?

        Yes and no.

        All Nvidia from 6xxx onwards have a temperature sensor onboard. Some more than one. So yes they do have thermal monitoring.

        However, they do not have hardware thermal throttle - all temperature control and frequency control is by the driver only. It is one of the first things I do with nvidia on a linux platform - install the proprietary driver and cut-n-paste 4 lines of magic incantations into xorg.conf to enable dynamic frequencies and more sane thermal mode.

        So coming back to the thermal monitoring - you can (and will) successfully fry an nvidia by overclocking it and increaing the critical temperature (both available as parameters).

    2. Down not across Silver badge

      People have such short memories.........its not many years since Nvidia (and to a lesser extent ATi) had all those problems with graphics chips becoming unstuck due to low-lead / low-temperature solders. Some laptop models had close to 100% return rates. They're obviously worried about a repeat of that expensive problem.

      Yes. And HP in particular admitted to it in some models, but not in others although the issue was the same. So depending on which model you had either HP sorted it out or it flicked you the finger. Yes I got the finger. Some time later they issued firmware patch to underclock the CPU...

  3. Annihilator

    I'm surprised they're bothered. Allow overclocks, lower the MTBF, sell another one.

    As long as people accept the risks of running it above spec, shouldn't be a problem.

    1. x 7

      "As long as people accept the risks of running it above spec...."

      thats the problem - people want to overclock without accepting the risks

      1. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

        thats the problem - people want to overclock without accepting the risks

        And also that people don't recognise the problems that they themselves have caused. People try an over clock and initially it appears to work. They e.g. try a couple of games on it, oh it still works, forget about the overclock and move on.

        Six months later a new game executes a perfectly valid sequence of instructions under conditions that make the timing of that said instruction sequence close to the wire on even stock hardware. With the overclock in place the results are still being computed come the relevant clock edge, errors result and e.g. the computer crashes.

        Cue lots of ranting online about how the game, or Windows, or the GPU is a buggy POS because it keeps crashing. Never any mention of the fact that they broke their own computer - they don't even recognise that fact for themselves.

        The endless coverage in the gaming rags has caused overclocking to become viewed as a risk-free method of extracting the very best from a machine, and a "cool" thing to do to show how clever you are with computers. To the extent that in some quarters you get labelled a mug who wastes his money if you haven't clocked your system to the very edge of stability under even moderate load. After all, it's how fast your machine is that counts, who cares if it can be guaranteed to work properly?

      2. Annihilator

        Graphics BIOS screen replaced with a blood red background with bold green text that displays every time at bootup - "YOU'RE RUNNING AN OVERCLOCKED GFX CHIP - NO GUARANTEES ANYMORE"

        Sorted :)

  4. naive

    Not all laptops are like office machines

    Funny to read these reactions "why would you want to overclock a laptop, buy a desktop instead.. ".

    NVIDIA should have known gamers do not like to be locked up in walled gardens, they paid dearly for their freedom, specially for owning a laptop with a NVIDIA 970M/980M.

    Modern gaming laptops like MSI GT72 series have double cooling fans, do 10000 on the 3D-mark with a NVIDIA 980M. They even announced a new GT80 with 2*980M in SLI mode that goes towards 20000 3D mark. The MXM packaged graphics card can be upgraded.

    The economy of a gaming laptop is better then most think. When starting from zero gaming gear, they are perhaps 20% more expensive then initial purchase a desktop, counting in that on gaming rig everything has to be right, including a sub 5ms refresh monitor, good gaming mouse and keyboard. The better residual value of laptops after some years may even balance this 20% out.

  5. adam payne

    Any damage to a laptop caused by overclocking is the responsibility of the owner not the manufacturer.

  6. logistix

    If you are a bitcoin baller on a budget, you could also get one of these things too: http://www.banggood.com/EXP-GDC-Laptop-External-PCI-E-Graphics-Card-p-934367.html

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