PC Components

What Does Undervolting a GPU Do?

Gpu

If you are into gaming, machine learning, or video editing, the graphics processing unit will be a specification in your computer system. For those unfamiliar with it, the graphics processing unit (GPU) is the processor responsible for rendering accelerated graphics to the system screen. Also commonly referred to as video or graphics card, the GPU is a vital computing technology. With this said, what does undervolting a GPU do? 

Quick Answer

To understand the effect of undervolting on the graphics card, one would need to understand what undervolting is. Undervolting is a power management technique that scales by reducing dynamic voltage for optimization. It can substantially improve the system’s heating up at a very high level of performance. Simply put, less power will be used, meaning less heat will be generated by the computer system.  

You don’t have to worry about your hardware, as undervolting is perfectly safe and increases your GPU’s lifespan. This article will explain what undervolting a GPU does and how to do it. 

How Is Undervolting a GPU Possible?

One crucial question is if our GPU was designed to function optimally at a particular voltage or range of voltages for some complex system, wouldn’t undervolting it cause more harm than good? Why does this work?

The answer to this question can be answered by how the graphic processing unit is produced. The basis of GPU undervolting is to use higher frequencies at a lower voltage set. Processors are made from silicon wafers through a process called photolithography.

Photolithography is one of the most precise manufacturing processes used today. Still, it adds to the flexibility noticed in the processor that allows it to function perfectly at low and high voltage. GPU will allow a comfortable run at lower voltages than the official specification.

How To Undervolt an Nvidia GPU

One option when undervolting your GPUs is to use a software utility such as Afterburner MSI. It is relatively easy to set, but it needs to be charged every time the computer starts up. But for this article, we would look at just the Nvidia and throttle-stop GPUs.            

Here’s how to undervolt an Nvidia GPU.

  1. Download MSI Afterburner. It is essential to know the maximum frequency of your GPU before starting this process. This information can be made available using the HWiNFO64 software and running its mode on sensors only after playing a graphic-intensive game.
  2. Launch your MSI Afterburner and press and hold Ctrl + F.
  3. With your pointer, look for the node of your maximum frequency point on the graph after using the intensive graphic game and look at the corresponding voltage. Lower the voltage by 100Mv and drag nodes after 1000mV manually to a frequency of 1750MHz
  4. Test the configuration again to see if it is stable by playing games. 
  5. Repeat this process by continuously reducing the node unit until the graphic crashes or stutters, then increase the voltage in the curve until your performance is stable again.
  6. Apply the changes in MSI Afterburner and save. You have arrived at your stable point.

You only need to open undervolt settings on MSI afterburner when next you want to use your system-optimized undervolted GPU. 

How To Undervolt a GPU With the ThrottleStop

ThrottleStop is the software many people use for several things, particularly to undervolt a GPU. This practice will involve using the throttle-stop GPU.

  1. Click the “EPP – Speed Shift” option, and confirm your temperature base value when using a high graphic game or design tool.
  2. Click “FIVR” to open a menu for undervolt on GPU. Save the value of the voltage.
  3. Click “Unlock Adjustable Voltage” and initially undervolt Intel GPU by 100mV. Then, gradually reduce it until the system graphics crash. 
  4. The benchmark test can be run using “TS Bench”. You should also notice that the value of the temperature before undervolt timing will be significantly higher than the temperature values before. Also, if you have any inaccuracy, raise the undervolt matter by 10mV and rerun the benchmark. 
Important

Note that Nvidia cards lower than the ten series cannot undervolt. It will not just open in voltage curve editors. Also, the undervolt limit is not the same for any two GPUs, even if it is the same model, as the quality of silicon chips and manufacturing might be different.

Conclusion

There is zero danger to the GPU in undervolting your computer. While putting too many volts through it can damage it quickly, putting less is relatively harmless. So if you are lucky enough to have a laptop GPU that runs well on lower voltage, you will save power, reduce the heat generated by your GPU, and enjoy a very silent system operation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a GPU? 

GPU, also known as the graphic processing unit, is a dedicated processor primarily designed to accelerate graphics rendering in the computer system. It was designed for parallel processing and can be used for many applications. Its importance is felt more with high graphics games and, more recently, AI development.

What is the difference between overvolting and undervolting a GPU?

As the name implies, overvolting means running the GPU component at a higher voltage than recommended by the manufacturer. It is bad for the computer system as it increases its temperature and causes it to spoil quickly. Undervolting, on the other hand, means running the GPU at a lower voltage than it is rated. If appropriately done, it will ensure your GPU runs optimally without getting hot.

Is there any side effect to undervolting?

It is crucial to invest in backing up your data continually. The only noticeable problem experienced from undervolting is the occasional loss of data. Also, if the voltage to the GPU is way lower than necessary or is not applied correctly, it will cause instability, and your graphics card will operate at a lower frame rate.

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