A while ago I started a thread about weird temperatures on idle. I thought that this is caused by driver issues and after I've installed a new driver, the temps were down again. However, after I did a Windows re-install (inb4 haters: no, not a virus or any BS like that. Mirror's Edge PhysX gets broken by Mass Effect 1 and none of the described fixes worked for me. Blame EA for not being able to figure out their $h!t so that one of their games messes up another!), the temps were weird again.
But now, I believe I've found a real solution and I want to share my experience with the community, as I've seen some people having the same problem on nVidia forums as well as on some other websites.
Basically, my idle temps are around 33-35C, but before I've seen them around 40-45C with 0% GPU usage. There's a setting in nVidia control panel:
Selecting "Adaptive" will make sure your card stays cooler on idle (30-35C). However, there's a couple of downsides to it that "Performance" mode (idle temps 40-45C) doesn't have.
1) You might experience rare crashes in Chrome or Firefox if using hardware acceleration. (Can't say anything about Opera, IE or Safari, I don't know if they have hardware acceleration).
2) Same rare crashes might occur on the desktop.
3) The crashes never occur while gaming, however, because the card works at full frequency and the crashes occur because of some half-assed frequency nVidia cards are using on idle with Adaptive performance mode.
The reason for the crash is Win7's TDR feature (Vista has it, too). It detects the GPU not responding and "restores" the driver, during which your screen goes black for ~5 seconds and then you get the notorious "Driver stopped responding and was successfully restored" message. By default, the GPU response timeout is set to ~2 seconds in the registry. I've read about people recommending to increase it to 8 seconds but there's a mixed response - for some it fixes the problem, for some it doesn't. I believe that the effectiveness of this fix and frequency of the occurrence of the issue also depend on your card's frequencies - i.e. OC'd/non-OC'd, how high compared to stock, etc.
The problem occurs on both reference and OC'd cards, that's for sure, but it looks to me like the TDR fix works better for the reference card owners.
In any case, you've got two things here. Want lower idle temps and occasional crashes - select Adaptive mode. Want stable experience and don't mind 10C higher temps - got for Performance.
Hopefully this will help some nVidia card owners I've read about a similar issue with AMD cards - the driver restoration, possibly also caused by TDR - but I'm not aware of any power mode settings for AMD cards that might fix that, since I never had an AMD card. If someone knows if there's such a thing, feel free to post it below!
Well, I've been searching for both issues for hours and never got any real answer, so I don't think it hurts if there's another thread on this issue
It might not be worth the "hassle" (not sure why it is one, all it takes is to change an option), but I don't mind things staying 10C cooler - it might help some people who're into cool & quiet PCs, you know (And yes, some of them DO use gaming graphics)
Adaptive might be self-explanatory about the extra heat, but not about the crashes.
Anyway, I was sure that some people have this thing all figured out, but that is not intended for them As I said, I spent hours on this and never found anything. Some people just keep talking that you shouldn't OC the card OR buy factory-OC'd cards, some say that you should RMA the card (quite funny how people do so and the issue persists, lol), some advise to re-install the drivers (doesn't help, since the default setting is Adaptive!), etc.
Which models are effected by this problem?
I'm currently looking to upgrade to 560GTX Ti and started seeing posts about users complaining of "Driver stopped responding and was successfully restored" message.
I had 8800GTS for over 3 years and haven't seen this message.
Is it better to wait for next generation of chipsets?
I recently fixed my issue where I was getting idle temps of 70+ on my Zotac GTX 560 - Asrock H61M- VS i52500k - Winpower+ 850w PSU - Win 7 64bit
I was also getting crashes within minutes of playing DX11 games, whilst lower DX games were fine.
I tested my card and PSU in another PC and experienced no issues. I replaced the card and PSU back into my case and found myself back to the high temps and crashes.
It turns out that my case is not wide enough to house the card and 6 pin connections without bending the cables against the side panel, which may have been skewing the card chassis, stopping the fan from spinning. I removed the panel and heard the fan spin-up and saw an immediate decrease in my idle temp.
24 hours on - with everything on ultra settings I've experienced no issues so far and now have idle temps of around 32.