Nvidia Forcefully Disables Overclocking On Geforce 900 Mobility GPUs

Usman Pirzada

Nvidia has confirmed the (apparently permanent) disabling of overclocking features of its 900 series mobility lineup. Maxwell is an ace overclocker, so it is no surprise that this news was met with serious outrage with Green taking on a very unusual defense. Brushing aside any claims of 'removing' features it stated that overclocking was simply a bug that has been removed (their words, not mine). Thank you, Cloudfire for the tip!

Nvidia-Maxwell-Notebook-Presentation-2A slide from the official slide deck, seemed a bit ironic now. @Nvidia Public Domain

GTX900M no longer overclocks - Nvidia PR faces severe backlash

It's my job to be unbiased in these matters but I am not exactly sure what Nvidia was thinking when they made the decision to ban over clocking on high end mobility segment. Their motto has been to give desktop class performance in notebooks but it appears they have forgotten that overclocking remains one of the most important "desktop class" features out there. However, it is prudent to mention that the actual overclocking block has been in place for the last 3 driver updates - its just now that Nvidia has actually confirmed that the removal of OC is not a bug. Here is Nvidia's official response (via a PR Rep) on the matter:

"Unfortunately GeForce notebooks were not designed to support overclocking. Overclocking is by no means a trivial feature, and depends on thoughtful design of thermal, electrical, and other considerations. By overclocking a notebook, a user risks serious damage to the system that could result in non-functional systems, reduced notebook life, or many other effects. There was a bug introduced into our drivers which enabled some systems to overclock. This was fixed in a recent update. Our intent was not to remove features from GeForce notebooks, but rather to safeguard systems from operating outside design limits." - Geforce Forums

So far, the awareness of this problem was limited to the few hundred users on that particular thread, but I am pretty sure that is going to change after this post. Nvidia states that overclocking is not a trivial feature and that the entire overclocking capability of Maxwell GPUs (on mobility) was actually just a bug. Once again, I am at a slight loss on how to respond to this kind of defense. The arguments put forward are pretty shallow and anyone with a basic idea of high end luggables and Maxwell architecture knows that the 900 serises is probably one of the few series with actual overclocking potential on the mobility front, thermal headroom, tdp and all. Perhaps, this is why Nvidia has decided to ban upping the clocks - to make sure that some sweet chips dont cannibalize slaes from proceeding iterations. I have a feeling, given enough traction, we will find 'this bug' mysteriously appearing again in future driver updates though.


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