There's nothing better than unlocking an extra bit of 'free' performance from our components, but overclocking can be a daunting task for the uninitiated. Nvidia's auto-overclocking OC Scanner feature looks to simplify the process. Nvidia originally launched this feature with its RTX-20 series of graphics cards, but a new beta version of MSI's Afterburner software (Version 4.6.0 Beta 10) expands the feature to Nvidia's Pascal graphics cards.
Nvidia developed the Scanner API/DLL package so that its partners, such as MSI and EVGA, can bake the auto-overclocking feature into their graphics cards utilities. With the click of a single button, Scanner runs an arithmetic-based routine that evaluates the graphics card at various voltages and frequencies, testing stability along the way. The program runs as its own process, as we noted in our Nvidia GeForce 2080 Ti Founders Edition Review:
Although Nvidia says the metric usually encounters math errors before crashing, the fact that it’s contained means the algorithm can recover gracefully if a crash does occur. This gives the tuning software a chance to increase voltage and try the same frequency again. Once the Scanner hits its maximum voltage setting and encounters one last failure, a new frequency/voltage curve is calculated based on the known-good results.
Our own testing with the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti found that the program works as advertised, though as per usual with any type of automatic overclocking feature, we met with more success through manual tuning.
Opening the feature up to the Pascal cards is a nice addition to MSI's Afterburner, and it's rational to expect other graphics card vendors to add Scanner to their utilities soon. Nvidia hasn't made an official announcement either, but we'll update as necessary.
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Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.