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Benchmarks: Nvidia And D.O.T.

Graphics Overclocking: Getting The Most From Your GPU
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Overclocking using the D.O.T feature only works with MSI’s modified driver based on the older 182.06 release. In this test, we were interested in seeing what kind of benefits driver-level overclocking offer. To this end, we used the card’s factory-overclocked default setting (655/1,404 MHz) as well as the Sergeant and Commander levels of the D.O.T. software. To see what kind of an impact CPU overclocking would have, we also ran all tests with our Core i7-920 once at 2.67 GHz and once at 3.8 GHz.

MSI N260GTX LightningMSI N260GTX Lightning

O/C Mode
Clock Speeds (GPU/Shaders/Memory)
Watts (3D)
Temperature (3D)
dB(A) 3D
Standard (default)
655/1,404/999277
67.0
43.0
MSI D.O.T Sergeant
681/1,460/1,038282
62.0
44.3
MSI D.O.T Captain
694/1,488/1,058285
59.0
47.3


One thing to bear in mind when looking at the minimum and maximum frame rates is that they represent the absolute peaks and troughs, and may last only as long as a single frame. The extra performance provided by the overclocked CPU actually gives our Nvidia card a greater boost, namely up to 5.2 fps (or 9 percent) without AA. This time around, we can’t actually compensate for a slower CPU by overclocking the graphics card in Far Cry 2. Our Nvidia card topped out at the “Captain” level of the D.O.T. overclocking scale, which isn’t too shabby considering it comes factory-overclocked already.

Average and minimum frame rates improve by between 1 and 2.5 fps. Overclocking raises the minimum frame rate at 1920x1200 with 8xAA and 16xAF to 29.5 fps, which should minimize the effect of performance dips. It’s interesting to note the comparatively small difference between the minimum and average frame rates.

Far Cry 2, GeForce GTX 260 (GPU/Shader/Memory)
1920x1200 0xAA 0xAF
1920x1200 4xAA 8xAF
1920x1200 8xAA 16xAF
O/C Mode/Clock Speeds/CPU/DriverMin
Average
Max
Min
Average
Max
Min
Average
Max
Standard, 655/1,404/999, i7@2.67, 182.0642.9
55.5
88.5
34.9
44.3
61.1
27.3
34.0
48.6
Standard, 655/1,404/999, i7@3.8, 182.0648.5
60.1
80.1
37.5
46.7
64.1
27.7
35.2
52.1
D.O.T. Sergeant, 681/1,460/1,038, i7@2.67, 182.0643.9
56.8
77.8
35.6
45.9
62.7
28.2
35.3
50.5
D.O.T. Sergeant, 681/1,460/1,038, i7@3.8, 182.0649.6
62.7
81.7
38.8
48.4
66.5
28.8
36.7
54.0
D.O.T. Captain, 694/1,488/1,058, i7@2.67, 182.0644.5
57.7
87.7
36.7
46.3
70.8
27.5
35.5
56.7
D.O.T. Captain, 694/1,488/1,058, i7@3.8, 182.0650.4
62.3
83.3
38.5
48.7
66.8
29.5
36.9
53.8


The highest gains in Left 4 Dead came in at 5.2 fps. The card remained completely stable at these settings and allowed the benchmark to complete without incident.

Left 4 Dead, GeForce GTX 260 (GPU/Shader/Memory)
1920x1200 0xAA 0xAF
1920x1200 4xAA 8xAF
1920X1200 8xAA 16xAF
O/C Mode/Clock Speeds/CPU/DriverAverage
Average
Average
Standard, 655/1,404/999, i7@2.67, 182.06108.7
83.0
68.3
Standard, 655/1,404/999, i7@3.8, 182.06110.2
84.2
68.9
D.O.T. Sergeant, 681/1,460/1,038, i7@2.67, 182.06112.1
86.9
71.7
D.O.T. Sergeant, 681/1,460/1,038, i7@3.8, 182.06115.0
88.2
71.6
D.O.T. Captain, 694/1,488/1,058, i7@2.67, 182.06113.1
88.3
71.7
D.O.T. Captain, 694/1,488/1,058, i7@3.8, 182.06115.4
89.5
72.7


MSI’s fan speed profile reacts to overclocking and audibly spins up the cooler when higher, more demanding D.O.T. settings are selected. Nevertheless, the performance gains are rather small. To corroborate this, we ran another quick benchmark at 1280 x 1024 and witnessed similarly small performance gains there as well. The low overall results may stem from the high quality settings we used for this benchmark. Reducing the image quality to attain higher frame rates doesn’t make much sense, though, since these results already represent playable frame rates.

Far Cry 2, GeForce GTX 260 (GPU/Shader/Memory)
1280x1024 0xAA 0xAF
1280x1024 8xAA 16xAF
O/C Mode/Clock Speeds/CPU/DriverMin
Average
Max
Min
Average
Max
Standard, 655/1,404/999, i7@3.8, 182.0659.8
74.4
100.7
39.0
51.0
70.9
D.O.T. Sergeant, 681/1,460/1,038, i7@3.8,182.0660.6
76.6
118.1
41.4
52.7
72.9
D.O.T. Captain, 694/1,488/1,058, i7@3.8, 182.0661.2
77.0
123.3
41.4
53.0
73.5
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