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How to raise idle clock on NVIDIA

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May 31, 2014 9:41:15 AM

I'm coming here to Tom's Hardware to solve a problem that I'm stuggling with for over half a year, since I've built this computer. I went for Gigabyte GTX760 rev 2.0, it's running all the games that I need quite smoothly but problem is that it keeps crashing on my Windows desktop. I mean that I quite frequently get the several second freeze and then a "Display driver has stopped responding and recovered successfully" message. Sometimes I spend 3 days without a single of these things, sometimes I come home and need to keep restarting my computer for like half a hour because it just keeps happening. It sometimes freezes my computer completely, that my audio player's music suddenly slows down and I need to hard-restart. It also causes green pixels to flicker on several dark gray surfaces and purple pixels to blink on a lighter gray surface, such as the shadow on the right of this page's body, there's a nice stripey horizontal line of those appearing. They usually start appearing after the graphics crashes, not right from the booting.

So that's the problem that I get and cannot find any solution to. I've tried completely reinstalling my NVIDIA drivers through safe boot, even the older ones or the newest beta ones, and since the last fall or so, no driver wiped the problem for me, so it's probably not the source of it. From the recent observations through MSI Afterburner I've spotted that the pixels start flickering once the Core clock goes to 135 MHz. That explains why it never appears it games, because it goes up to like 1200 MHz usually. I haven't checked if it's clock is still 135 MHz even before it crashes for the first time and causes the pixels to appear and stay like that all day.

So what I found that could be a useful solution was to wipe the dust out of my graphics. No, that's certainly not the problem, as it's not overheating at all and it was happening right as I bought it. Another solution was to fiddle with the DVI cable, no help since I've already switched my monitor to ASUS VE247H and even have a dual screen now, both connected to the GPU, as I was told it raises the idle clock- nope it doesn't for me, or at least not enough. And what I think could finally solve my problem is to raise the default 2D / idle clock frequency, as I can clearly observe that the clock, right after overclocking, won't cause the pixels to flicker until it gets to the 135 MHz.

So my question is, how can I raise idle clock on a NVIDIA graphics card? The MSI Afterburner's 2D profile selector doesn't work for me. It might does, but it certainly doesn't affect the minimum clock. And all the other answers that I found were pointing to some profile changer on CCC which I also don't have since I'm not on ATi. So is there any other, reliable solution to that? I even planned to change my detault OS into Linux because of this, but that would make me unable to play many Windows-only games.

Intel i5 4670K @ 3.80GHz
Gigabyte GTX760 rev 2.0 (2GB DDR5)
Gigabyte Z87x-D3H
Kingston HyperX Black 8GB DDR3
Windows 8 Pro 64bit
Newest stable NVIDIA drivers (337.88 WHQL 64bit Intl)
a b K Overclocking
a b Î Nvidia
a c 93 U Graphics card
May 31, 2014 9:47:11 AM

Run a memtest on your ram sticks.
I doubt it is the drivers issue if you reinstalled it a couple of times.
Also check cpu and gpu temps when on idle and in games if possible.
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a b U Graphics card
May 31, 2014 10:16:05 AM

Your clocks are being controlled by Nvidias "GPU Boost 2.0" software,AMD's is called PowerPlay and they both do the same things wrong.

No idea why they thought such low clocks are ok for desktop/2D applications,but they arent judging by the sheer numbers of threads ive seen over this issue.


Hopefully you can find a way to bypass it through the Nv Control panel or MSI AB has a setting for Nvidia like they do for AMD. With a similar option enabled,MSI AB should dictate your clocks instead of the proprietary software.
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May 31, 2014 10:34:26 AM

Like I said, Suz, it's probably not caused by the drivers. At least not by the part that doesn't control the clock.
My temps are 30°C idle and boost up to 65°C max during Arma 2 Operation Arrowhead menu (1920x1080, all max, VSync on, visibility 3000). But I don't think games are the problem, since it always runs nicely during any games that I play. It sometimes even crashed during Arma 2 OA but it was only during I had my map on for some time, which probably decreased the clocks (not checked), as it's a full 2D overlay of the game and it says "Receiving..." for quite some time after the map is closed.
I'll try a Memtest 86 if I manage to get it on my thumb drive and boot from it. I don't know what it's for and haven't done it before, give me some time for that and I'll report back.

I can't see that last cathegory at my MSI Afterburner settings, probably an older version- 2.3.1. Does it mean that I would need to rely on this program, all the time? Else my clocks would just stay constant, forever? I don't feel comfortable for letting a 3rd party program completely take control over my GPU, but I wouldn't mind if it doesn't break the warranty and if the clock isn't ultra high / ultra low until the program launches. That was probably the reason why I saw zero difference in all games, even if I overclocked through that- the thing just couldn't get past the Nvidia's "GPU Boost 2.0", as you say.
By the way, the version checker says it's up to date. Isn't it possible to do that through the RivaTuner, or isn't it an important part of the Afterburner? I've uninstalled that thing as fast as I could, it was quite annoying and I wasn't sure what it does
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a b U Graphics card
May 31, 2014 11:12:18 AM

MSI AB is,essentially, a simple interface for Rivatuner.
Using it as ive advised will do the same thing GPU Boost 2.0 does; Lower your clock rates at desktop(to around half of the standard 3d clocks instead of 130/300)
and raises them up to the 3D rates when you game automatically. 2D/3D clock rates on my 260x

Many GPU brands these days do not care if you've overclocked your card.If you dont damage it and can return it to stock clocks,your warranty should be ok.
That changes depending on your vendor though,and im not familiar with EVGAs RMA policy.

Doing some reading around the web,it appears that GPU Boost isnt as easy to turn off as PowerPlay,it involves either BIOS flashing or Creating custom Pstates with Nvidia Inspector

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May 31, 2014 11:27:53 AM

Well I was planning to RMA the card tomorrow but it looks like the problem is, as usual, only with the SW itself, so I'll just trust you. I was planning to take some Radeon instead to get a 3GB VRAM for the same price, and to finally be able to play many games that I still can't because the Nvidia CP colors get ignored at fullscreen games, which looks really undercontrasted and overgammaed, no matter how much I fiddle with the monitor's color settings. This problem is completely ignored by Nvidia, while ATi maintains the colors well, and still noone can't find a solution for that, after like 2 years.

Anyways, is it possible to only safely raise the idle state clock, without touching my card's maximal values, thus overclocking it? By the way, the flashing pixels are suddenly gone, while I'm still on the 135 MHz and haven't even rebooted since the last driver crash. It sometimes happens that the driver just settles down and won't cause any trouble after some time...

I don't have any experience with flashing a BIOS, but I'll look on the Nvidia Inspector guide and hopefully it helps
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June 1, 2014 5:05:58 AM

I've changed the Memory clock to the inspector's maximum (389 MHz), but it still keeps crashing like hell. And I cannot even apply the changes to be the defaultly set, so that it's clocks return after reboot. However I still cannot find an option to change the core clock, mem clock seems to have no effect on the crashing

So you're saying that I should reinstall the Riva Tuner?

Whoah, this is how my Steam client looks like now http://i.imgur.com/AY5g2iq.jpg
It never was that infested with those dots, the Inspector thing wasn't much helpy... Core clock still reverts to 135MHz. Tried changing minimum value for GPU clock in the inspector (still at the P8), no luck
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June 2, 2014 7:20:36 AM

Please somebody help me already, my computer has already crashed since I came home today. I cannot listen to music because of the fear of it suddenly freezing up in the middle. And I need to finish a project for tomorrow, well I can't because it crashes damn too often during my programming software is on!

I don't think the memtest is important, there weren't any problems with my memory since I got this computer
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a b U Graphics card
June 2, 2014 8:05:27 AM

ElHyperion said:
Please somebody help me already, my computer has already crashed since I came home today. I cannot listen to music because of the fear of it suddenly freezing up in the middle. And I need to finish a project for tomorrow, well I can't because it crashes damn too often during my programming software is on!

I don't think the memtest is important, there weren't any problems with my memory since I got this computer


Well, are you using the stock CPU cooler? Can you try a different CPU cooler? (This suggestion is not related to CPU temps and I know this is a weird suggestion but this is a case i have seen before)
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June 2, 2014 8:09:31 AM

You can use a program like EVGA precision to always have your card ins boost clock mode. I wouldn't really recommend it number one and number two, as I'm sure a ton of people have said, your card's clock is most likely not the reason for your crashes.
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a b U Graphics card
June 2, 2014 8:18:05 AM

No first hand experience with it,last time i owned an Nvidia card they didnt even have GPU boost 1.0.
In the link i provided,step 3 should change your core clock but it doesnt?

bryjoered said:
You can use a program like EVGA precision to always have your card ins boost clock mode. I wouldn't really recommend it number one and number two, as I'm sure a ton of people have said, your card's clock is most likely not the reason for your crashes.


Actually,i highly suspect the too-low 2D core clock is the reason he's crashing. It's caused by GPU Boost 2.0 and getting around it is the problem we've ran into.

MSI ABs clock rates wont take precedence over Nvidias proprietary software.
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June 2, 2014 8:39:44 AM

weird, I wasn't even sure what GPU boost 2.0 did personally. My card came overclocked out of the factory. You would think, considering how easy running windows, is for a dedicated card that it wouldn't be a problem. I guess if the clock was so low that the card became essentially nonexistent that it could be a problem.
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a b K Overclocking
a b Î Nvidia
a c 93 U Graphics card
June 2, 2014 10:29:13 AM

if you just run one monitor, is the problem still there?
Your drivers are messed up. You need to clean them again.
http://www.guru3d.com/files_details/display_driver_unin...
I personally use this to clean drivers but you can use other methods if you want.
Test if this occurs in single monitor. If it doesn't still fixes the problems and you need the pc now, take out the gpu and run it on integrated graphics for now to finish your work.
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June 8, 2014 8:21:31 AM

So it's not related to the clocks? Well some people have been telling me that their graphics runs fine even on way lower clocks.
It happens even on one monitor
I've wiped my drivers several times by following all the steps given by Nvidia, it isn't caused by them

It crashes quite rarely on these old drivers, although the pixels still appear. Today I've tried reseating the card into another PCIe slot, it acts exactly the same. I think I'm going to get a replacement after all. If Nvidia Boost was causing the problem, then why I'm the only one having it? And as you say, it's way too hard to get around it. I might also try the Riva Tuner
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a b U Graphics card
June 8, 2014 8:40:13 AM

What happens on integrated graphics? Does it run fine?
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June 13, 2014 10:25:06 AM

Yes, integrated is fine
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a b U Graphics card
June 13, 2014 11:42:19 AM

Wait you didn't mention your PSU model?
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June 13, 2014 3:53:01 PM

Whoops, marked as solution by accident. Can I somehow undo it?

My PSU is Corsair HX750
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a b K Overclocking
a b Î Nvidia
a c 93 U Graphics card
June 13, 2014 4:02:32 PM

Unselected Best Solution as requested by OP.

If you try and install Linux and test the card in that environment, see if it has the same problem. If it does, then it is the card that has issues, RMA it.
If not then try a full windows installation and test it or test in another pc.
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June 13, 2014 4:07:07 PM

Suztera said:
Unselected Best Solution as requested by OP.

If you try and install Linux and test the card in that environment, see if it has the same problem. If it does, then it is the card that has issues, RMA it.
If not then try a full windows installation and test it or test in another pc.


Thank you.

I've tried running it on Linux Ubuntu Trusty Tahr 64bit, but only through VMware, on a virtual machine. The pixels appeared even in there and it was also quite crashy, requiring me to reboot the system because it got completely frozen except the cursor which was still responding to the last frame before the crash. I know this isn't any Linux test as it's only emulated through Windows, but I cannot install Linux on this computer soon. And anyways, if it was working under it, how would we fix the Windows problem then?

I think I'll finally go for a replacement soon and report back if it got fixed or not. It might take a week or so. If not, I'll try it on Linux
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a b U Graphics card
June 14, 2014 1:14:06 AM

Yup, looks like a faulty card
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